NEW YORK (AP) — Martha MacCallum is no stranger to Fox News Channel viewers, but she will have a prominent new role for the network during its midterm election coverage.
MacCallum will co-host the evening with Bret Baier, taking over a job held by Megyn Kelly for the most recent big election nights. The other cable news networks have familiar faces out front: Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper on CNN.
If it’s anything like recent elections, Fox News will have the largest audience of any cable or broadcast network covering the story Tuesday. The only likely threat is if it’s a strong night for Democrats and fans of President Donald Trump melt away as the evening progresses.
“It feels very natural to me, because I’ve been part of the team for a long time,” MacCallum said. “I’m just excited about it.”
Since she joined Fox in 2004, MacCallum has usually had the thankless election-night task of sifting through exit poll results and pinpointing interesting stories.
That gives her an ideal background for her new job, said Chris Stirewalt, Fox’s politics editor.
“It’s nice to work with someone who has a grasp on the granular (details) and can also tell the big picture,” he said.
MacCallum has worked determinedly for the chance she’s getting, working several years for Fox in the daytime and moving in to the 7 p.m. hour with the start of the Trump administration. The new job is a longtime goal, she said, since she grew up watching and studying political coverage. Jane Pauley was an early role model.
“It really is like watching a horse race or watching sports,” she said. “I love sports, so it really is the same way in terms of knowing all the players, knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are, what the injured list has been.”
The high percentage of Trump supporters in Fox’s audience “is not something I think a whole lot about,” MacCallum said.
“We’re just trying to be evenhanded,” she said. “We’re not trying to be hyperbolic. We’re trying to be fair.”
MacCallum has staked out a middle ground in public comments recently. She’s criticized Trump for declaring the media the enemy (“I don’t think it’s helpful,” she said), while also saying some in the media have been unfair to him. Without naming names, she said some have had a hard time separating their personal feelings from their jobs.
MSNBC is giving opinion host Maddow one of the co-host jobs for its election coverage. Fox’s prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham will all be part of election-night coverage, although not as hosts.
“We have such a strong evening lineup, it will only enrich our coverage,” MacCallum said.