Alumni News

Fox News' Jesse Watters shares election experiences during Convocation

March 31, 2017 : By Tobi Walsh/Liberty University News Service

In Friday’s Convocation, Liberty University students were taken to "Watters' World" as they heard from Fox News host and “The O’Reilly Factor” commentator Jesse Watters.

Watters, best known for his man-on-the-street style interviews and dry sense of humor, shared his personal experiences covering the 2016 election and some of the answers he received to questions on his show.

“One of my favorites is, ‘Who did America fight in the Vietnam War?”’ Watters said. “Not a trick question.” (He said someone answered with "South Korea.")

President Jerry Falwell introduced Watters, saying it was an honor and a privilege to have him speak in Convocation.

“The events of 2016 were just riveting. It was hard to pull yourself away from cable news during the election,” Falwell said. “It was so nice after all the serious talking heads finished talking to have Jesse Watters come on and give us some comic relief.”

Though Watters has made a name for himself, the host talked about his humble beginnings, starting out working in a basement at the Fox News office as a production assistant.

“I started working at Fox News from 2 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday, no health insurance, just freelancing,” Watters said.

Soon he learned about a job opening on The O’Reilly Factor, and Watters said he had to apply. He got the job, only to be called into his producer’s office a few weeks later and given an ultimatum.

“He told me, ‘Bill doesn’t think you’re articulate enough to do the show,’” Watters said. He gave him one week to turn it around or Watters would be fired.

Watters did pull it together and, eventually, Bill O’Reilly incorporated him into his own show and now has a regular weekly program.

“The lesson I wanted to share with you guys today is that I started from the bottom,” Watters said. “I rose to where I was because of hard work.”

Senior Mercy Weaver-Adeyemi said Watters’ message was entertaining, adding that it was interesting to hear his perspective covering the election.

“He had an inside scoop that we didn’t get to hear about,” Weaver-Adeyemi said. “I actually trusted what he said more because he was out there on the street talking to people during the election.”

Hearing Watters talk about how he worked his way up in his field encouraged Weaver-Adeymi, who is studying strategic communications.

“As I’m starting to look for a job, it was really encouraging to hear what he went through and know it is possible to end up with something,” she said.

Jesse Watters of Fox News' 'Watters' World' interviews students on campus Friday.

Senior Caroline Boozer, a business communications student, said she likes to keep up with what is going on in politics and enjoyed hearing Watters’ outlook.

“He has such a charismatic personality,” Boozer said. “He definitely had a comedic take on what’s going on in politics.”

Watters also took time to film a segment for his show during his visit. The footage will air to correspond with Liberty’s Commencement on May 13, where President Donald Trump will deliver the keynote address.

Watters isn’t the only Fox News personality students have heard from this semester. In February, Fox News contributor and columnist Todd Starnes spoke in Convocation and took time to speak with students during a Q&A session.