Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith and media: New movies are back (maybe). With rereleases of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Black Panther (2018), Inside Out (2015), Jurassic Park (1993) and The Goonies (1985) making up the top five films at the (largely drive-in) box office last week, traditional theater goers accustomed to […]
Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith and media:
Five questions for Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt
Growing up in South Carolina, Ainsley Earhardt originally wanted to be an orthodontist but eventually realized that it wasn’t the career for her. After some reflection, she enrolled in USC’s journalism school. She graduated and went on to work in the local television markets of Columbia, South Carolina and San Antonio, Texas. She made the leap to the Fox News Channel in 2007 where she first worked the overnight shift and weekends. After six years of that, she was named the permanent co-host of FOX & Friends FIRST in 2013 before, eventually, becoming co-host of FOX & Friends, the nation’s number-one cable news morning program.
A typical day for Ainsley starts at 3:00 AM when she wakes up and begins prepping for FOX & Friends which, if you don’t know, airs weekdays from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM (ET). Her official workday ends around 11:00 AM giving the single mom time to play in the park with her four-year-old daughter (or take her to music class) and, perhaps, call up her parents who still live in South Carolina.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Ainsley about what it’s like to cover the news in the momentous year that 2020 is turning out to be, as well as what she hopes people will get out of her new memoir The Light Within Me (HarperCollins).
JWK: This has certainly been a tumultuous year. Between impeachment, a pandemic-caused healthcare and economic crisis, the astonishingly brutal killing of George Floyd, the violent assault on inner-city neighborhoods by rioters exploiting the situation and a particularly bitter presidential campaign season, do you feel a responsibility to present a morning program that both serves up the hard facts while also offering some honest hope – and how do you do that?
AINSLEY EARHARDT: My faith is my core. It is most important to me and has carried me through the ups and downs this life has presented. I know God has not forsaken us and He never will. In the midst of the coronavirus, the horrible death of George Floyd and now protests throughout the country, I still feel God’s presence. In Habakkuk (a book in the Bible), he asks the Lord how long must he call for help. He cried out to God during wrongdoing, destruction, violence and strife. He felt the wicked were prevailing over the righteous. God answers him and says, “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5.
I believe people need faith now more than ever and I feel a great responsibility to present a message of unity and hope while many of our fellow Americans are suffering. I believe in this great country and know we can all unite, learn from these painful situations and see each other as equals.
JWK: My honest view is that Fox News has managed to maintain something of a wall between its straight news reporting and commentary while that wall seems to have crumbled at your primary cable competitors, where it’s now virtually all opinion all day long and one-sided opinion, at that. How important is that firewall and how difficult is it to maintain?
AE: Each morning I wake up focused on reporting accurate, factual information to our FOX and Friends audience. I see my role as presenting the information to our viewers and letting them make up their own minds.
JWK: “Alternative facts” has become a maligned term – but isn’t there such a thing? Can’t two sets of data lead you to, perhaps, opposite conclusions while both being true? How do you discern that which needs to be debunked because it is objectively false or even hateful and that which comes in good faith from a legitimately arguable perspective?
AE: I believe in truth. People can have opinions or interpretations of different stories. I will let others speak for their own work. I try to focus on the facts and the truth to our audience daily. My paperback edition of my book, The Light Within Me, which is out (now), speaks to my faith, my search for a closer relationship with Christ and being the best person I can be for my daughter, my career and God. I try my best to emulate that message each and every day on FOX & Friends.
JWK: You have certainly been open about your Christian faith. How has it sustained you personally and what role does it play in how you cover these difficult days in our country?
AE: Even in my darkest days, God is working behind the scenes to give me more joy than I had before the struggle. In the new paperback edition of The Light Within Me, I have added a new chapter, which goes through my recent divorce and other low points in my life. I give God the glory for helping me through these difficult times and making me a better person. I don’t know how one walks through this hard life without faith, and it’s my hope that someone reads the book and finds Christ. He is and has been my savior. I hope readers will open their hearts to Him too.
5. (The book) reflects how your faith lit the way toward realizing your personal and professional goals. What is it about your story that you hope will help others – and is there a lesson there for the country?
AE: In The Light Within Me I open up and share the realities of my life. I have been so blessed with a wonderful family and a circle of loyal friends. Life does come with its share of heartaches and pain, but it’s nothing that Jesus didn’t experience first. My book is a guide to hopefully helping others navigate this world, teaching the value of hard work, and reminding the reader to love others and forgive easily.