Peter, Steve Doocy talk careers, family and that time Peter became the story
The first thing Peter Doocy did after the president of the United States was caught on a hot mic referring to him as a “stupid son of a bitch” was call his father.
“Peter was in transit from the incident when he called me and said, ‘Hey, I think the president just called me an SOB,’” Steve Doocy recalled, clarifying that his son made sure to use the same words President Biden had uttered minutes earlier.
“And, you know, as his father, you go, ‘Oh no. There he goes using that language; that’s going to be a quarter for the swear jar,” Steve Doocy deadpanned.
That dad joke was one of several the elder Doocy offered during a recent conversation between The Hill and Fox News’s well-known father-son duo about the media business, family and some headlines Peter Doocy has made since taking over as the network’s White House reporter.
Questions and answers have been edited for grammar, clarity and length.
Question: Steve, did you see potential in Peter from a young age to become such a widely followed media figure?
Steve Doocy: When Peter was a little boy we assumed he would go to a business school or become a lawyer. We thought, even though a lot of kids in our neighborhood did not have jobs, we wanted Peter to have one. Peter previously had braces on his teeth, and it hurt to talk. So with this job he had to talk to complete strangers all day long, and, in a weird way, the grocery store really shaped who he was. So at that stage we had no idea where this would go ,and this sort of all happened randomly, and my wife and I, we never saw this coming.
Peter Doocy: If there was ever any pressure it really was in the beginning to make sure that everybody knew that I was here to work hard and I was willing to put in the time on weekends or overnight shifts or some less desirable assignments and that I was not going to just take advantage of this really cool opportunity.
Q: You’ve become known for a sometimes combative back-and-forth dynamic with White House flaks or top administration officials. Can you take us behind the curtain and describe what your interactions are like with the comms folks at the White House and other reporters in the briefing room?
PD: The White House comms team is very good about proactively reaching out to see what topic du jour is going to be at the briefing. I think it helps us, and it helps them to talk generally about a theme, not to talk about questions, but it’s no good if you’re in there hoping to get a sound bite if the press secretary says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Jen Psaki and I had a good professional relationship, and Karine [Jean-Pierre] was often the one reaching out on Jen’s behalf to see what the topic was going to be. I’ve had a good working relationship with Karine for more than a year now, so I hope that continues.
Q: Steve, what did you think when the president of the United States called your son a stupid son of a you-know-what?
SD: When he called me, I asked what were the circumstances, and then [the call] dropped out, and I didn’t hear. And so I turned on the television and I think “The Five” had the sound bite, and they were playing it. And it’s like OK, that is nuts. That’s crazy. I think Peter handled it perfectly. He joked about it.
Q: Peter, but what are your thoughts about the news coverage of the incident?
PD: I think it was fair. The surprising thing in the beginning is that this was not the kind of exchange that I have at the White House that people just tweet about. It was the kind of exchange that news stories were written about and newspaper articles are written about. The surprising thing for me is that some mainstream outlets gave the president and I credit. Places that I don’t usually expect to see anybody giving any White House reporters or anybody from the front row credit.
Q: Can you recall any other particularly difficult or complicated time during your career when you’ve needed to lean on your dad for advice or guidance?
PD: When I first started, I had a million questions every day just about how it was supposed to work. And I was living at home still in northern New Jersey, and every night at dinner I was just picking his brain about the way to do it and do a good job. Luckily I don’t have to ask him about that anymore, but we talk about the news the same I think as most fathers and sons that pay attention to stuff like that.
Q: Steve, parents always want to take credit for the success of their kids, but what’s an aspect of Peter’s success that you can’t take credit for?
SD: Whenever somebody comes up to my wife Kathy and I to talk about Peter, something that Kathy says every time … and, Peter, what is that?
PD: She says I have her hair.
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