Fox’s Dana Perino Explains Why “Everything Will Be Okay”

5 May 2022

BUCK: We are joined by Dana Perino. You all know her. Former White House press secretary, host of The Five and America’s Newsroom on the Fox News Channel and New York Times best-selling author. Her latest book is Everything Will Be Okay — and, Dana, I guess I could just start with that one, because I don’t know. Right now with the Biden administration, feels like a lot of things might not be okay.

PERINO: Exactly. That’s why the title hooks you in, ’cause everybody wants to know, “Is she serious?” But I am serious. Yes, I know that it sometimes feels… I mean, every day I wake up and I think, “Surely, they’re gonna get their act together,” and no. No, they don’t.

CLAY: Dana, first of all, it’s great to have you on the show for the first time.

PERINO: Thank you.

CLAY: You came down to Nashville. Your book is fantastic. We had a good time, my wife and I did, hanging out with you and your husband some, so you need to come back to town soon. What has the experience been for you like, because you have such great relationships about people in the music industry as a part of your job.

What impresses you? You get to talk to a lot of people on Fox News every day. But that seems to also translate into the entertainment industry particularly with country music? What do you think the overlap is between country music and Fox News and why are those two groups so comfortable?

PERINO: It’s a great question. Interestingly, I started in radio. I was a country music deejay in college.

CLAY: I had no idea.

PERINO: Yeah, I worked overnights for minimum wage because back then if you wanted to get into television, you had to start in radio; so I thought, “Well, I want to do my radio experience now during college.” So KCCY-FM was gracious enough to let me give it a try, and so I grew up with nineties country. And I love 1990s country so much.

Then I was at the White House for almost eight years. I only listened to radio, talk radio — everything from Rush Limbaugh, of course, to NPR — because we were… I still believe that radio is king when it comes to public communication. I think it’s just absolutely critical. Of course, cable news as well. I think talk —

CLAY: We agree.

PERINO: I know you do. But it really is true, if you really want to make sure that people are hearing you — and you two have found that you have a deep connection with your audience. So, I think that with country music being so committed to the lyrics and the story, that is one thing. The other thing is you have a lot of people who start off in very humble beginnings.

A lot of people go through a ton of disappointment in Nashville in particular, right? You try and you try. I’m sure you’ve met people who have written songs for 17 years before they actually get a hit. But there is magic in the climb and in the stories of resilience, and I also really admire how closely knit the country music industry is. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but, for the most part, there’s a lot support. And I feel the same way at Fox News. I really love the team that we have, and so I hope that that transmits to our viewers and to their listeners, I hope.

BUCK: What do you think about the way the media landscape may change here, Dana, with — I think just today it was reported that — Elon Musk is going to be the interim CEO of Twitter; so that is moving along. It feels like in a variety of ways — that’s obviously on the social media front, but just with the rise of all these different digital platforms, Fox Nation obviously among them, that things are changing. And people have also realized that left-wing dominance of some of these platforms, not only is it I think bad from a content perspective, it can be bad for the country. So are you hopeful that we’re gonna head into a better place in the near future in terms of having more parity on the airwaves?

PERINO: I am hopeful. I’m also cautious. I do remember, when I was White House press secretary until the last day in January 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated, on that day, I didn’t even have a Twitter account or a Facebook account. And that’s how quickly, from 2009 to now, these platforms have just grown so exponentially. I do think it’s pretty interesting just how few Americans are actually on Twitter.

But a lot of the media is on Twitter, and they’re reinforcing each other’s viewpoints, and that is where I think it got us into real trouble. I think the best example is the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story. You just look back now and think, “How could that possibly have happened?” And now that story is aggressively in the mainstream, and the New York Times is having to quote the New York Post.

So that is changing a little bit. I’m hopeful that Elon Musk can bring about some change and at least maybe some sober-mindedness. And then we’ll see, you know, how it goes. I’m sorry also… One of the things I talk about in my book is that social media can also be a drain on your energy and it’s not going to hip in your career necessarily. So I’m encouraging young people to kind of make a step back and be very mindful about what they’re posting because your future boss cannot unsee that.

CLAY: There’s no doubt. The book, by the way — we’re talking to Dana Perino, she’s on The Five, she’s also America’s Newsroom, you know her from Fox News — is Everything Will Be Okay. That’s what I was gonna ask you about is eight years you spent in the White House, you talk about the different ways that you consume media. One of the biggest challenges I would imagine — whether you’re Democrat, Republican, whoever you’re serving and whoever you’re working for in administration — is trying to figure out what matters in a day where everything is kind of coming at you in a fire hose effect. How much more difficult do you think it is, no matter what job you have in politics, to figure out what actually matters, what’s actually true, and how to manage your day on a day-to-day basis today than it might have been 10 or 20 years ago?

PERINO: That’s very interesting, and I think a lot of it comes from the top. So whoever that leader is, the commander-in-chief, that person has instincts, right? They got there for a reason. And I would say I think that my boss, George W. Bush, was able to do that. He would be able to say, all right. “We’ll deal with this, but no one’s gonna think about it in three weeks.” So he had his finger on the pulse. And of course you have advisers that tell you that.

President Trump is very good at it because he knew. Now, I don’t think — and maybe this is just a little bit of my own bias. I don’t think that President Obama or President Biden are very good at it at all. Because if they were then they wouldn’t have such dismal polling numbers on the question, “Does President Biden care about the issues I care about?” His numbers on that have been very low from the beginning. For example, everyone’s talking about inflation. What did they spend three days talking about this week? Student loan debt and then Roe v. Wade.

CLAY: Yeah.

PERINO: They’re not talking about inflation. They’re avoiding it, and avoiding the issue that you know everybody is dealing with every day — ’cause we’re going to the grocery store, the restaurants, they’re filling up at the gas tank, and they’re upset about that and they avoid that — and avoidance is not a very good strategy, and it shows in their poll numbers.

BUCK: We’re speaking to Dana Perino, former White House press secretary, best-selling author. Her new book, Everything Will Be Okay. I’m gonna have to get a copy ’cause I feel like I go to bed every night thinking, “Oh, my gosh! What’s the country gonna come to? These libs are out of their minds. The commies are running amok.”

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: But Everything Will Be Okay is her book. You can get it on Amazon. Dana, you are also, like me, a dog lover.

PERINO: Very much.

BUCK: You have, I want to say… It’s not a Weimaraner, or is it a Weimaraner? What kind of dog do you have?

PERINO: It’s a cousin to the Weimaraner. It’s a vizsla.

BUCK: A vizsla. So, see, I’m always fascinated with this, because, like, my family, we have a French bulldog. I grew up with a Boston terrier. These are very, very common breeds. How did you come upon that breed, ’cause I’d say probably like 80 to 90% of our audience has a dog. I would just throw that out there, I’d guess. How did you come become vizsla as the choice? I’m just curious. I’ve always wanted to ask you this, and now I’m taking think my chance.

PERINO: Well, it’s a great story. So I met my husband on an airplane. He’s 18 years older than me and British. And I lived in D.C. at the time, and he was in England. We fell in love on the plane, believe it or not. It is true. It was 25 years ago. And I moved to England, and we both wanted a dog. He wanted to get a black Lab, and I sort of cringed at having to clean up all the shedding of a black Lab even though I love all dogs.

I really wanted a Weimaraner because I love those William Wegman photographs, if you remember. They were in all the calendars, and there were books about them and greeting cards. So we just weren’t in a hurry. And we happened to be in Switzerland and Peters had to visit a client, I got to go with them, and we arrived and there was a three-month old vizsla and then an 8-year-old vizsla and a 12-year-old vizsla.

So it was like we saw the progression of what a vizsla would look like and they’re extremely affectionate and athletic — which I really like — and only have one can you tell of fur so quite sleek looking. And that was it, you know, we fell in love with the breed so we have now Percy. He’s our third.

BUCK: That’s funny because my brother’s dog is named Percy.

PERINO: Oh really!

BUCK: Should Clay get a vizsla for the boys, Dana?

PERINO: Oh, you know, I… Well, wait. Wait wiretap what kind of dog do you have?

BUCK: Cats.

CLAY: Yeah, this is a sore subject, Dana.

BUCK: Cats.

CLAY: We’ve got two Bengal cats which are non-shedding cats. My wife is a huge cat person. I don’t think I told you this, Dana, but during the shutdown and everything else when the kids were out of school, Laura assigned them, my wife, one day, to give me a persuasive speech on why we had to get cats. So my then kindergartener, my fourth grader, and my seventh grader, all one after the other, made a speech on why we had to get cats. And by the end of their persuasive speech, dad had been outvoted, and so we have two cats.

PERINO: And do you want a dog?

CLAY: Look, I’ve got three kids, Dana. I feel like they’re like dogs times 10 in terms of the mess that they make.

PERINO: Yeah, that’s true. I guess —

CLAY: The thing is as we get closer to Mother’s Day, the boys don’t get blamed for the messes as often as the dad does, it seems. The apple may not fall far from the tree so our house is kind of chaotic at times.

PERINO: I have a saying that I made up that a boy needs a dog and a dog needs a boy. In particular, for boys growing up with dogs, there’s something about that companionship and learning of the responsibility. And also they become more compassionate people, I believe.

CLAY: That’s probably true.

PERINO: My own theory.

BUCK: Could be a vizsla puppy in the Travis household at some point in the future.

CLAY: Uncle Buck’s gonna show up with a dog someday.

BUCK: You think you’re getting a steak if Hunter Biden gets indicted, Clay? You’re getting a vizsla puppy, buddy. That’s how we’re gonna do this.

CLAY: By the way, Dana, I was gonna say — sorry to cut you off, Buck, but I wanted to mention this for — “Dana reads sports” needs to be a regular part of you and Bill Hemmer’s show, by the way. (laughing) I saw the clip recently of you reading sports headlines. And I gotta tell you, that is gold, and you guys need to break it in as often as you can into the repertoire.

PERINO: I will let the producer know. The reason it started is because every… Bill is very good at reading sports. But after about six months of us working together, at one point I said, “You know, guys, I would love a shot at reading sports,” and it became this hilarious thing, and I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing, but I really try to give it my all. (giggles)

CLAY: Yes. I love it.

PERINO: So, thank you for noticing.

BUCK: The book is it’s all gonna be all right, Everything Will Be Okay. Dana Perino is the author. Go check it out. Dana thanks so much for hanging out with us thanks for being on.

PERINO: Congratulations to the two of you as well.

BUCK: Thank you so much.

CLAY: Thank you.

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