By the time most people see him, he’s wearing a suit, a snappy tie and whirling from one topic to the next in a dizzying dance to cover the latest headlines in a constantly churning news cycle.
But while the news of the day might constantly shift and change, Fox News anchor Bret Baier is steeped in an immovable faith that keeps him grounded.
“Our family really believes in the power of prayer,” Baier said during an interview with Faithwire. “I’m not afraid to say that. I think it makes me a better anchor; it definitely makes me a better father and a better husband.”
His personal convictions also afford him a strong sense of camaraderie with people of faith on the other side of the television screen, Americans who look to him during Fox News’ “Special Report” at the 6 p.m. hour every weekday.
And Baier feels the weight of viewers’ expectations. Several years ago, when he first started co-anchoring Election Night coverage on Fox News, the 48-year-old journalist would go for a run in the morning and stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, where he would light a couple candles and say a prayer.
“That has been a calming force to start my day,” Baier said. “I think that helped me early on get over the early jitters, and then over time, it became a ritual for me to start that big day. It helps me stay focused.”
Faith, though, hasn’t always been such a central part of Baier’s life.
He was raised Catholic, regularly attending mass with his faithful parents, but fell away from religion during college. It wasn’t until Baier and his wife, Amy, had their son, Paul, that the anchor returned to the faith.
The Baiers’ eldest son, who is now 11 years old, was born with congenital heart defects — a tragic diagnosis that gave birth to renewed faith and prayer in the host’s life.
It started somewhat innocently. Baier, who was in charge of keeping family and friends up to date on Paul’s medical care, would end his phone calls, emails and text messages by asking for prayer. In turn, his family and friends shared his updates with their families and friends.
“I got one [message] from a priest at the Vatican, I got one from Jerusalem, from a rabbi, I got them from all over the world,” Baier recalled. “I would read them to my wife as we were sitting next to the bassinet where our son was preparing to go in for open heart surgery.”
“All of that,” he continued, “really lifted us up.”
Those difficult days, Baier explained, “jump-started what was the beginning of a life in faith.”
Baier, in his day-to-day life, said the best way to deal with the interminable news cycle is to find ways to “unplug” from his role as an anchor — a task proving increasingly difficult in today’s cultural climate. For him, that means spending as much time as he can with his family.
When the cameras are rolling — and even when they’re not — the best way to navigate today’s tough topics, Baier said, is by “trying to take the emotion out” of some of the country’s most heated debates and to listen to others’ perspectives, a particularly poignant encouragement given the anchor’s colleague, Tucker Carlson, was a target this week of aggressive protests.
I have the office next to Tucker's… and he told me about this when it started to happen. There is NO justification for this.. none. It's horrific and I'm very saddened that Tucker's family has had to go through this. https://t.co/5jYwM8yagR
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) November 8, 2018
“The biggest thing that we could do, each individual, is to listen,” he explained. “Listen to the other side, listen to the person that you don’t agree with. Express yourself, but express yourself in a way that you’re listening as opposed to always telling. In my job, that’s what I try to do.”
As for those snappy ties, Baier said he relies on just one person: his wife Amy. “She is the fashion consultant in the Baier household,” he said.