Brazile, the former campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000 and a one-time interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, was named a Fox News contributor in March, and since that time has made appearances on everything from “Fox & Friends” to “The Five.” She says she’s ready to hold forth in any timeslot the network wants to put her – even if it’s during Fox News’ opinion-led primetime block, where the hosts are often supportive of President Trump.
“I’m not saying I don’t have strong views. I have strong views,” says Brazile during a recent wide-ranging phone interview. “I think it’s important to be civil.”
Since being named to the new role, she has appeared during Sean Hannity’s and Laura Ingraham’s primetime hours, and says she could easily do Tucker Carlson’s. After all, she has appeared on Carlson’s program when she’s had books to pitch, she says, and knows the host from when they both appeared on CNN. She has also done things she never thought she’d do on TV, like make jambalaya for the network’s morning program (“In Louisiana, everything starts with your trinity: You have to have your onion, your garlic, your peppers,” she recently told Ainsley Earhardt) and sing on a chart-topping country song by John Rich.
Brazile has no regular hosting slot and her cameos largely depend on the vicissitudes of the news cycle. But her appearances give Fox News a voice from the left at a time when its opinion programming is seen in many circles as having embraced the right in a tight bear hug.
Contributors can serve a similar function at other news operations. MSNBC, whose prime time roster is seen as progressive, employs conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt. CNN, which has been attacked by President Trump many times during his White House tenure, has hired Trump sundry Trump supporters such as Jason Miller, Jeffrey Lord, Ed Martin and Paris Dennard – not always with the most salubrious results.
Brazile once had a home on CNN, but those ties were cut in 2016 after that cable-news outlet, now operated by AT&T, said it found she sent questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in advance of a debate and town hall meeting carried by the network. At the time, CNN said it was “completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.”
“I don’t like the way we split,” Brazile says of CNN, noting that she’s “grateful to have worked for CNN all of those years.”
She thinks her voice still has relevance for news viewers, particularly at a time when Democrats are fielding nearly two dozen presidential hopefuls. “By and large, I am often the only guest at that particular moment talking about the Democratic field,” she notes. The campaign “is going to get touch and grueling,” she adds, and White House hopefuls will have to do more than differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. They will have to start addressing issues such as U.S. cyberwarfare and foreign interference with U.S. elections.
But she feels her time at Fox News is helping her return to the field after a difficult moment. “I came out of 2016 bruised and battered and emotionally distraught,” she says, citing the election and her parting ways with CNN. “I didn’t think I would ever get myself to go back out there.”
She will always take part in politics, but Brazile suggests she will step back from the DNC after the next election cycle. She will always have a hand in politics, she says, but is also eager to make room for other pastimes.
There’s no time to slow down quite yet. “I believe this cycle is much bigger than just one political party winning a debate or winning the election,” she says. “It’s about the future of our democracy.” No doubt, she’ll be discussing that topic and others on Fox News.