Former Fox News contributor Jedediah Bila says Andrew Breitbart played a major role in her recent decision to join ABC News’ The View and to leave Fox.
With the network’s announcement last week that Bila will appear regularly as a co-host along with Sunny Hostin, Bila took to Twitter to share the news and reminisce on some advice she once received from the late Andrew Breitbart:
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) August 3, 2016
My last talk w/ @AndrewBreitbart was one I'll never forget. I keep my word. Grab some popcorn up there, AB. Miss you every damn day. 💪👍🍾
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) August 5, 2016
“Andrew sat me down and he said, ‘what are you doing?'” Bila told Breitbart News about an outing at the Regency in New York. At the time, Bila says she was writing some and doing a lot at Fox News. “I said, ‘what do you mean?'” she continued.
“You need to stop preaching to choir,” Bila says Andrew responded. “You need to get out there and get the message out in places where people are inclined to think negatively about libertarians and conservatives.”
“He even said, you need to go on The View,” Bila added. “That was the last conversation in person I had with [Andrew].”
Growing up in New York City as a self-described libertarian, Bila says she’s always been outnumbered (in fact, she wrote a book about it): “I’m really well received by liberals. I’ve dated almost all liberals and my family is filled with liberals. When I interact with people on the left they typical leave like, ‘I never thought about issues like this.'”
Andrew’s words stuck with her, she said. “I thought, [Andrew] had a point,” she explained. “So when the opportunity came to do The View, I welcomed it as a chance to not only interact with liberal panelists like Sunny Hostin and Joy Behar, but to also speak to an audience that wouldn’t be inclined to agree with me and might have a perception about me that I could change.”
“I thought of Andrew and I was like, you know what… I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this for me, I’m going to do this for you, I’m going to do this for what we really thought this movement could and should be about.”
While grateful for the opportunity Fox News gave her, Bila admits that changing hearts and minds is in her blood – to break down what people think “libertarian” and “conservative” mean and to challenge that perception she sees as often being false.
“If I’m going to talk about freedom and opportunity and low taxes, I want that message to come to an audience that maybe doesn’t get a positive angle from a lot of people in media,” she explained, “[to] represent people at home who feel like when they watch most mainstream media outlets, they don’t feel like their view is represented.”
Take this year’s presidential election, for example:
“I really understand people who feel that they can’t vote for either candidate – because that’s me,” Bila said. A self-described “Rand Paul girl” she says she’s not voting for Hillary Clinton or Trump, but instead “for Gary Johnson — not because he’s perfect, but because he’s the least problematic of the three.”
Bila takes pride in speaking her mind “regardless of who winds up in trouble as a result of it.”
“I really want to hold both sides accountable,” she said. “I think there are a lot of talking points and a lot of people who want to protect their candidate or their party. I don’t have a candidate, I don’t have a party. I just have what I believe and I think there are a lot of people in the real world outside the political sphere that really feel that way too.”
Not everyone is thrilled though about this new chapter in her life. “I’ve gotten a lot of pushback by people on the right – Twitter, Facebook, social media,” she said. “They call me a turncoat, they call me a trader, they say I’m betraying them by leaving Fox News.”
Bila of course sees this differently. For her, changing votes and gaining independents requires going into liberal havens (i.e. going into ABC and sitting at a panel where she’s destined to be outnumbered most of the time.)
“To that I say to them, a movement is not meant to speak to people who only agree with you – the whole purpose of a movement is to go into areas and outlets where people are inclined to disagree with you and challenge what they think about you.”
“So if people think I’m doing an injustice to the movement by leaving Fox News and getting out of the conservative bubble – its actually quite the opposite. I’m trying to get that message out there to as many people as possible and change hearts and minds – which is what Andrew always wanted to do, which is what I’ve always wanted to do and which is what’s really going to make a difference.”
As for what fans can expect this season, which debuts Tuesday, September 6, Bila says get ready for “a lot of really heated, healthy, fiery debate… It’s going to get spicy for sure!”