Eager students cheered in front of cameras with handmade signs Friday when Fox & Friends went live on USC's campus. Ainsley Earhardt, a graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, broadcast from Davis Field with South Carolina elected officials to discuss politics with students.
“I think the coolest part of today is seeing people from all across campus come together and be interviewed,” said second-year finance student Sophie Davish. “We all come from lots of different backgrounds and have different ideas about everything, so it’s cool that we get to be showcased for that.”
Students were on Davis Field before 7:30 a.m. when the show went live. Many students were part of College Republicans, College Democrats and Student Government, but some students were just interested in the hype generated by the crowd or politics in general.
“I just enjoy seeing discourse, and I enjoy seeing everything that goes on in how these sorts of shows are made, but also in how students come about to come to these things," said first-year political science student Will Stallings. "So, ironically I am self-fulfilling my own desires.”
Gov. Henry McMaster made an appearance on Fox & Friends with Earhardt along with Sen. Tim Scott, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Trey Gowdy. The politicians stopped for pictures with students along the way to speak on live TV about their views on issues such as President Trump’s tax cut. However, they primarily wanted to brag about how successful the University of South Carolina is in their state.
“I think USC’s already on the map,” Gowdy said. “I think Marcus Lattimore and some other folks did a good job of doing that for us, but Ainsley has ties to South Carolina, including the university and Spartanburg and Columbia, and any positive press for South Carolina, particularly the when you have the chance to show off our U.S. senator, I think it’s good for all of us.”
The majority of Fox News' viewership is conservative, so the live broadcast mostly drew Republican politicians and students. However, a few of the attendees simply wanted to learn more about politics and the media.
“Despite the fact that I ... lean more to the left and so tend to be more out of favor of some of the stuff, I am fascinated and excited by the energy and the passion that sort of seems to come from the population base that is at this event in general,” Stallings said.
One particularly excited student was third-year political science student Frank Halloran, who took the lead in getting the crowd to show its school spirit. He went so far as to jump into the fountain in front of Thomas Cooper Library while on camera. Halloran claims that Fox News is his favorite news outlet and couldn’t resist the opportunity to see it live.
“I love Fox News. I have watched it ever since I grew up, the whole 20 years of my life,” Halloran said. “It just, it’s a part of my life, and it’s my main source of information with news. And I love these people, and I appreciate what they do.”
Seeing Fox News coming to campus gives Halloran hope for the future of politics. He hopes to someday run for office as a Republican. The tension between Democrats and Republicans can seem troublesome, but events where students from all different political beliefs can give current and future politicians hope that the nation can be unified.
“ I think if any of them had to come, this is the best one because USC is a predominantly liberal campus, and that’s okay. But Fox News tends to lean conservative in its reporting,” Halloran said. “So the fact that we’re seeing so many students come out and rally to support a news channel they generally knock in private conversation ... it really kind of shows me there’s hope for crossing the great divide between party lines.”