DePauw days helped make him fair and balanced, Fox News anchor Bret Baier says

Monday, October 14, 2013

By ERIC BERNSEE

Editor

A return to campus as the featured Old Gold Day speaker and Ubben lecturer Saturday at DePauw University was quite a trip down memory lane for Fox News anchor Bret Baier.

The 43-year-old journalist cut his fair-and-balance teeth at DePauw as a member of the Center for Contemporary Media's first anchor team for the newscast "Evening Edition" more than 20 years ago. Saturday he returned to share his journey and political observations with both current students and loyal alumni.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier (front), a 1992 DePauw University graduate, receives the 2013 DePauw Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for Media from Brent St. John (center), president of the DePauw Alumni Association, as Jeff McCall, communications professor who introduced Baier and moderated the Old Gold Day program, looks on.

Baier, whose national newscast ("Special Report with Bret Baier") is seen nightly by more than two million cable viewers, was jolted back to simpler days by an old black-and-white Banner Graphic photo that adorned the cover of the newspaper TV section in 1992.

"Wow, that's a long time ago," Baier said, examining a photograph also featuring former WRTV6, Indianapolis, TV reporter Vicki Duncan, and others, before sharing it with assembled college media representatives.

At the podium in Kresge Auditorium, he held up that same slightly yellowed photo, telling his Ubben Lecture audience, "It was very funny to get this today because I recently found a tape (of an "Evening Edition" newscast) in a drawer at home, and put it in (to play). It was horrific. Painful, very painful.

"But it was a start."

His experience at DePauw -- praised the 1992 graduate who was an English (composition) and political science double-major at DePauw -- has helped make him "who I am and what I do," Baier told both a morning press conference and his public audience.

He pinpointed a Presidential Politics class, taught by former faculty member (and longtime TV newsman) Ken Bode, that sparked Baier's interest in reporting on the political beat.

"I really fell in love with covering politics," he said, acknowledging it took him a while to get back to following the political arena as he bounced around small-market TV.

That stopped when he forwarded an audition tape to the fledgling Fox News organization in 1998, and a return to political coverage came along for the ride.

"I largely credit that (interest in politics) to my passion for that DePauw class and Ken Bode," he said.

"The place looks a lot different," Baier said, alluding to all the changes on campus, including the new Anderson Street entrance and ongoing renovations.

And now Starbucks on the courthouse square?

"That's pretty big," he said, cocking his head to smile while holding up a venti-size Starbucks coffee for all in the press corps to see.

"I spent a lot of time at Moore's Tavern," Baier offered up, continuing to reminisce. "Is it still there?"

Of course, Moore's Bar is still there, a Greencastle institution itself.

"The town feels a little bit smaller," suggested Baier, who, of course, spends most of his time in Washington, D.C., these days.

"When I was here, it seemed bigger," he said of the community. "But it was such a great start for me. It really did help to form who I am and what I do."

Prior to giving his Ubben Lecture, Baier was presented with the 2013 DePauw Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for Media by Brent St. John, president of the DePauw Alumni Association.

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  • "Fair and balanced" yah right. As long as he parrots GOP talking points.

    -- Posted by mickhamblen on Sun, Oct 13, 2013, at 9:27 AM
  • Who doesn't have "Talking Points", These Day's if it's Politics from either side, on the most part it is a one sided opinion, their side! Political Parties these days seem to think it's a game or contest? This thing called politics, I thought the two parties negotiate a compromise, they don't even understand the concept! We tell our children and grandchildren not to "bully" , "share", and they should work with each other. Then they have to listen to these representatives, " I want it my way and my way only or I am going to kick & scream" what an example? American so called News is not what it used to be and that goes for the CNN and Fox News. I stopped watching since May 17th., 2013 I will make my next voting count on my own research. Thank you very Much!

    -- Posted by wilsonphoto on Sun, Oct 13, 2013, at 9:10 PM
  • Is his last name Braier as in the headline, or Baier as in the story? Come on, man!

    -- Posted by VolunteerFF on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 5:06 AM
  • I see you changed the headline.

    -- Posted by VolunteerFF on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 7:05 PM
  • Now there you go again.

    -- Posted by gadsden on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 7:36 PM
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