From Blogging Her Dad’s Presidential Run in 2008, To “Unbridled Hate” For Both Options in 2016
The Autonomous podcast with Meghan McCain of Fox News— on Trump, Hillary, Palin, oversharing, FOMO and more
“For the first time in my entire career, no one is questioning why I’m here,” says Meghan McCain, in the Autonomous podcast. “And I have a level of respect I’ve never had before.” [9:05 in the podcast]
And what’s the reason for that? Well, Donald Trump, for one. Or her new job at Fox News. Whatever it is, McCain has come a long way from being a favorite target of the snark-blogosphere and social media trolls, when her personal blogging of her father’s campaign for president in 2008 for “McCain Blogette” brought vicious attacks. At 8:25 in the podcast:
I don’t get the kind of criticism I’m used to. It’s like all of a sudden I’m a Washington insider, which I would never describe myself as, but Trump has made so many of us seem very DC professional.
But it’s not just Trump — McCain isn’t happy with either presidential option who she has “unbridled hatred” for. [17:10] Listen to the FULL podcast here, or below, more quotes from the overall interview:
Her father Senator John McCain announced his presidential run “a few weeks after I graduated” from college, said McCain. [4:30] Campaign aides were at first “skeptical of me,” but she decided to give a personal look behind-the-scenes with McCainBlogette.com. “Little did I know the very first blog would be eviscerated by Gawker,” she said. “I cried and cried and cried because I didn’t understand how people hated me already. And it was the first time I realized this is a very hot kitchen and if you can’t handle the heat you really shouldn’t be in it.” [6:05]
Now, in 2016, McCain doesn’t love her choices. On Donald Trump’s comments about John McCain: “One of the worst things that’s ever been said about my father and I thought I’d reached a point where people couldn’t say thing that offended me.” [9:52]
“I hate Hillary Clinton so much. I have an unbridled hate both for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that is equal. I hate them both with equal levels of passion,” says McCain. [17:05]. “When I think about my female role models in politics, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton are far from it.” (She cites Joni Ernst, Kelly Ayotte and Susanna Martinez instead.) And how about the thought of having a woman president? [16:30]
I would love to see a woman president, but much like many other millennials, I’m not panicked about it. I believe there will be a woman president within my lifetime. I don’t understand why it has to be this specific woman, because I think she’s evil.
McCain talked about her “borderline socialist” close friend Michael Ian Black, and the circumstances that led to them writing a book about road tripping across the country. What started with Black taking an ambien and messaging McCain on Twitter ended with “the most fun project I’ve ever worked on.” It is through that book, America, You Sexy Bitch, and other conversations with “normal people” that has led McCain to conclude about Trump that it’s “not inconceivable to me that this man is popular.” [20:02]
Now McCain is at Fox News, despite sparring with some of her now co-workers in past work stops (“I’ve never met Karl Rove, so I don’t know if that would be awkward, for him,” she says). “The climate and community at Fox, I’ve never worked for a better place,” said McCain. “I’ve never worked in an environment where the women support each other, and the way that they do at Fox.” [34:05]
On social media sharing vs. oversharing, McCain admits that being an “old millennial” means changing her ways. “As you get older, you want more privacy,” she said. “I’m in a relationship, and I’ve had a boyfriend for a very long time, and I don’t share any of it on social media ever.” [28:30]
We talked about how her career would have been different if her dad won in ’08 [19:10], her anxiety about next week’s GOP convention [12:57], her show on Pivot TV (“nobody watched it but it was still fun and good to do”) [24:30], the stigma associated with her voice in the media (“There’s something about a strong conservative woman in the media that is just a narrative so many liberals have a problem with”) [39:05], and her advice for young conservatives trying to break into media (“do not change the things that make you unique”) [40:10].
Here’s what Trump has done for her efforts to bring in a more diverse GOP: [10:50]
For the last 10 years of my life I have been going around to colleges, writing books, doing TV shows, trying to reach out to a different audience and different demographic to take a second look at the Republican party, and this has been like taking dynamite and blowing it up. I can’t go around to colleges and tell young people, Latino people, gay people that this is an inclusive party for you. That’s a lie. If this is the Trump party, that’s a lie.
Thanks to Meghan McCain for her time — please listen and give any feedback (good or bad) as we continue to shape the podcast!
Next week: Don Lemon of CNN.