Fox News' Martha MacCallum: Trump's campaign 'turning the model on its head'

The Fox News co-anchor talks to Laura Nichols about how Donald Trump is making the race for the White House essential viewing and how she leverages Twitter.

Martha MacCallum
Co-anchor, America’s Newsroom with Martha MacCallum & Bill Hemmer
Fox News

What is a typical day like for you when you are going on-air?
Bill Hemmer, my co-anchor, and I get in early before 6:15am, and we start putting together the show.

The day before, we have a meeting right after the show – guests are mapped out, we are emailing each other throughout the evening about who’s going to be on the show the next day. These days we’re pitching, obviously, to a lot of candidates. By the time the morning comes and we have our morning meeting at 6:45am, we’re plugging in all the pieces of what we will do that day.

If there’s breaking news, then we’re hopping on the phone and trying to get people last minute to come on as well. It’s a fluid process because when news breaks, we want to make sure we’re right on top of it.

People watch Fox and Friends in the morning and we’re the first show that comes on afterward that is hard news. We like to give people that right off the bat at 9am.

Which social platform are you using the most and how are you interacting with viewers?
Twitter and Facebook, though the former is my go-to in terms of the news and news wires. Where we used to look at the wires – AP and Reuters – on our computers, those outlets now put the same [info] on Twitter. I do a lot of my own reaching out on Twitter in terms of what’s coming up on the show or thoughts on segments that we did. Twitter is an invaluable platform in the news business these days.

What, in this election cycle, stands out or sets it apart from past years?
Donald Trump. He has changed the landscape dramatically.

Nobody anticipated the impact he was going to have on this election. He’s obviously speaking to something that is resonating very deeply with a lot of people and their concerns about how things are going. That’s made everybody sit up and take notice.

He has had a dramatic impact on this conversation and on the way people are trying to reach voters.

Trump’s doing it without much advertising [and] without spending a lot of money, and he’s turning the model on its head. Whether or not it’s going to translate into votes and whether people turn out to caucus for him is something we’re going to find out in the next weeks. Either way, it’s going to be fascinating.

In my job, there’s nothing I love more than an election year. This is my fifth election. We’ve been down this road before, but you always learn a lot.

Are there any best practices you’re seeing by any candidates at this point?
These candidates are flooding Twitter, they’re flooding Instagram, they are certainly trying to use every social platform they can and Donald Trump, again, is somebody who’s using that to his advantage in a big way.

[For example,] he’s putting out little videos of him talking directly to voters on Instagram. Candidates know that they need to be hitting people on their smartphones and on their televisions in every possible way.

We used Facebook during the first debate we moderated and it let voters speak directly to the candidates. That’s refreshing and people like seeing that. We live in a very interactive world – people have a way to have their voices heard, and they expect us to allow them to do that. It’s a great part of the process.

What are the main issues the American people are going to focus on as the election gets closer?
People are very unnerved. I feel it everywhere I go. As Americans, we don’t want to be people who think twice about going to the mall or going to the movies, but people do, and that is a stunning reality in America.

Everyone was very nervous after 9/11, but we haven’t had that unnerved feeling in quite some time, but it is back, and it is back in a big way. God forbid, we have another attack, but it’s hard to imagine, given the scenario in the world, that we won’t.

Candidates need to address this concern. People want to hear it’s going to be OK, and that we’re on top of it. People need candidates who can convince them that they have a plan and they believe in the future of the country. However, who that person is going to be remains to be seen.

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