Politico’s Dylan Byers profiles Alex Wagner…
Wagner’s role in this discussion is as subtle and understated as her show’s influence. As host, she sees herself as the moderator, and there is a near-unanimous feeling among guests that her ability to facilitate — rather than dominate — the conversation is what makes it feel genuine and organic.
“I hate to besmirch an entire profession, but the vanity of most cable TV hosts is pretty significant. Alex gets that the host’s job is to make everyone look good in one segment,” Josh Tyrangiel, the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek and a weekly guest, told POLITICO. “She’s quite generous, in the way the best hosts are. There’s a lot more alley than oop.”
“Alex understands that her job is to communicate, push back, lead the group — but also to let people flex their muscles,” said S.E. Cupp, a conservative political commentator and frequent guest. “To Alex’s credit, we all feel very comfortable stretching on that show. I’ve never felt afraid to go ahead and put my opinions out there.”
“Alex lets everyone talk, she creates an environment where people respect each other’s opinions,” said Alice Stewart, the former press secretary for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. “Alex sets that tone.”
Wagner also makes a point of preventing shouting matches, something many cable news programs encourage. “We are not firing shots across the bow,” she said. “People can disagree strongly with one another, but rudeness is not tolerated. We’re very careful to cultivate a spirit of goodwill. People disagree, but they rarely cut each other off. If I have a pet peeve, it’s when we have the rare guest who gets fired up enough to be antagonistic.”