Margaret Brennan, a 2002 University graduate and moderator of CBS’s Face the Nation, spoke to a crowd of more than 170 students, faculty and community members in Garrett Hall Wednesday evening as a part of the Batten School and the Center for Politics’ “Democracy in Perilous Times” series. Brennan talked about her career as a journalist and her experiences prominently covering the White House and hosting a broadcast news program during the Trump administration.
The event began with a brief discussion between Brennan and Larry Sabato, Center for Politics director and professor of politics, followed by an opening of the floor to questions from the audience. Sabato provided an introduction to Brennan’s life and career. After studying foreign affairs, Middle Eastern studies, and Arabic while at the University, Brennan began working for CNBC covering Wall Street, later moving to Bloomberg Television to continue her financial reporting as an anchor. She joined CBS in 2012 as a White House correspondent and became the moderator of Face the Nation in February 2018.
Brennan said the expertise she gained studying and covering these specific issues have shaped the way approaches her current journalistic work.
“I covered Wall Street for a decade,” Brennan said. “And Wall Street is shorthand for how the world functions often … so I brought that and I brought my background covering national security policy, and those are things that are often on my front burner and headlines that catch my attention.”
In her talk, Brennan noted the fast-paced nature of a television newsroom and explained the process of booking political figures for the Face the Nation broadcast, which airs Sunday mornings. Trump and his cabinet are usually more eager to appear on Sunday news programs than past administrations, according to Brennan. Earlier this year, Brennan notably spoke with Trump on Face the Nation, and she shared how she navigates interactions with difficult interview subjects.
“You wonder how much the viewer is perceiving your interjection as interruption,” Brennan said. An interjection to interject a fact … is I think is our responsibility. That’s different than just shouting over, which is not what I do — that’s not my style.”
Brennan also discussed her experience as the only…