Gretchen Carlson – Liberty University Convocation

>>NASSER: Uh real quickly, we’re just incredibly
blessed today to have with us one of the most influential women in the world, Gretchen Carlson
is with us today, can we put our hands together? Amazing. Gretchen, important to note here
than Gretchen is not just a TV personality on FOX News network, she is actually a very
renowned concert violinist. She also is a leader in the world in the way that she does
humanitarian work. She happens to be a former Miss America by the way, that’s pretty awesome.
And she also, on top of all that is a mom of two and a devoted wife and just a Christ
follower. We’re just honored to have her with us, I can’t wait for you guys to get to know
more about this incredible leader through just a time of Q&A. But she’s also the – she
doesn’t bring this up in her bio, but as I was reading her book a little bit, found out;
she’s also – she was the valedictorian of her school. She went to Stanford and Oxford,
all right so – wow, right? Wow. And so, just very impressive. And so can we just put our
hands together for the great, Gretchen Carlson. Honored to have you!>>CARLSON: Thank you so much, David!>>NASSER: You bet, man.>>CARLSON: And by the way after listening
to LU Send, I want to come back to Liberty U. I have to tell you that some of the most
life changing moments and events for me were on religious trips to Israel with my family
growing up as a child, and having the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective
is so incredible in how you grow to be an adult later on, and to appreciate what you
have here in this great country, and how you can help other people. So I would just, I
didn’t even know about it until I got here today, but I think I’m gonna enroll! I’m gonna
come along with you!>>NASSER: We will take it! Yeah, yeah listen
– Sean Hannity’s wife just graduated – Jill Hannity from here with our online program,
and so uh, you know – I’d like to go ahead and give you an application right now to join
us while you’re on TV. So I want to put out – so it’s not just an afterthought in
your life, and it is, really a foundation in your life, I want to bring the first question
before you about your faith. Um, you are very outspoken when I watch you on TV. You’re always
talking about your faith, you’re always personalizing stories, noticed the other day how everybody’s
talking about God since the Pope is with us in this country right now – you, you – you
tend to always talk about God whether it’s the conversation of the moment or not, how
– tell us about your faith, I mean were there, is this something new? Was – did you grow
up in a Christian home, or is there a heritage of faith or were you the first in your family
to come to Christ? Just tell us a little bit about just your walk with the Lord. I mean
you also; you and your husband teach Sunday school, where you are.>>CARLSON: We do! It’s the one hour a week
that I know I’m gonna actually see him. And be with our kids at the same time, which is
really wonderful. David, I was so blessed to grow up in a family, and we were all Christians.
My grandfather was a minister. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. And…>>NASSER: Minnesota.>>CARLSON: Minnesota! And so I spent a tremendous
amount of time in the church growing up, whether it was performing my violin, or teaching Sunday
school or singing in the church choir, or going on mission trips. And it really just
became the foundation of my life and, I’ve been so blessed to keep that as the main foundation
in my life. I think it is the greatest gift that we can give to our children. And especially
in these ever more difficult times that you guys are growing up in, and I’m raising my
kids in who are ten and twelve, it’s just really important to give that foundation that
I was so lucky to have as well.>>NASSER: Yeah, well, obviously we know you
not just as an author and a humanitarian, but we also know you, most of us just from
watching you on TV, you know, for years you were on the mornings and then I think, I guess
you just said hey you know what? I’m gonna let somebody else do that. I’m gonna go at
two in the afternoon?>>CARLSON: Well actually it was a great professional
and personal move. I had done FOX and friends for eight years where I set three alarms for
3:30 AM. And it was a wonderful opportunity to combine hard news with having fun at the
same time. And it really was my ultimate goal in life to reach that pinnacle. And the chairman
of our company came to me and said, “You know, I’d love to give you a new opportunity.” Which
is so important in life to always challenge yourself again. To take on a new goal no matter
how old you are, or how young you are. And so professionally it was just so wonderful
to be offered the opportunity to do my own show. And the hours weren’t bad either. Cause
it was gonna be at 2:00 PM eastern, and my kids from a personal level were just getting
to the ages where they really needed me at home at night more. And when I was on the
morning shows I was like, looking at my clock, “Okay nine o’clock, gotta go to bed, gotta
go to bed! I gotta get six hours of sleep.” And in this case it just, from a personal
level, especially my, my little guy, who is in fourth grade last year. He needed me to
do his homework – he just really, really needed me much more, so personally and professionally
it’s been a great move.>>NASSER: So, you didn’t go to Stanford and
Oxford to go be on TV, you were pre-law. So how did you end up, I know the answer but
I want – I’d love for you to tell the story of how you ended up on TV – it’s a pretty
interesting story you tell in the book.>>CARLSON: Yeah, I think one of the greatest
lessons in life, and I share this in my book as well, is that God works in mysterious ways,
and we never know exactly what direction He’s gonna put us in – what path. And I grew up
a really serious violinist as a child, and I thought that was gonna be my career path.
My goal as a kid was to be one of the most famous violinists in the world, and when I
turned seventeen I burned out. And my parents were devastated and really wanted me to find
another way in which to use that talent. Who would have ever thought that a kid who battled
with her weight, I mean I was a fat kid, and put up with the taunts and the teases. Who
would have ever thought that someday that chubby little girl who played the violin from
Minnesota would end up thinking about trying to win Miss America? I mean it was nowhere
on my radar screen. But the Lord put me in that direction with my talent. My mom got
a brochure in the mail when I was studying at Stanford, from the Miss America organization.
She called me up; I’ll never forget it. She said, “I found something for you to try! It
says 50% of a contestant’s points are based on talent. You should try this – you have
the violin talent.” And I said, “Are you nuts?” I mean it’s nothing that I had ever thought
about. But God works in mysterious ways, and once I sent mine to it – set my mind to it,
I decided to give it 110%. As a novice, violin had never won. And I really put my heart and
soul into it. That got me onto a whole different direction in life, and the first week I was
on Miss America, I was on this wonderful TV show which all of you are too young to remember.
Except for maybe your teachers, which was Bloopers with Practical Jokes with Ed McMahon
and Dick Clark.>>NASSER: I remember.>>CARLSON: And what they did was they set
you up for a prank – the joke was on you. And so they set me up for this technological
satellite that had been dubbed the Miss America, that I was supposed to explain to 5,000 engineers
in Washington DC on live television.>>NASSER: That’s not – you didn’t think you
were going to be on this show called, Bloopers, you were just going on a morning show.>>CARLSON: I thought I was going on this
live satellite feed, and because I like to be prepared, I kept saying, “Well I don’t
know anything about this satellite system. I need to know more information.” They’re
like, “Don’t worry about it, the other people on stage are gonna take care of everything.”
Yeah right! So all of the sudden, the other host had called off you know, emergency phone
call – oh the microphone doesn’t work. And suddenly I’m standing there by myself on stage,
and the floor director, just like the camera ops here – they look at me and they say, “Oh
my gosh we’re coming to you live early in five, four, three, two- just start talking!”
So I gave my little one-week-old, Miss America spiel about who I was and where I came from,
and I stopped talking. And they said, “Oh no you’ve gotta go on for fourteen more minutes.”
I think you have some of that agony tape.>>NASSER: We actually do – we have uh, you
all wanna see a little bit of this show that you’re parents grew up on? Let’s watch it
cause I want to come back after we watch it and talk for just a second about how the Lord
used that very moment to really change the trajectory of your life. But let’s watch this
together.>>VIDEO NARRATOR: Our next practical joke
victim is not all that easy to victimize. She’s a cool customer; we’re talking about
Gretchen Carlson – the new Miss America. The victim: Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989.
Miss America is Gretchen Carlson! Our accomplices? Former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, and her
husband Gary Collins. Together they hosted the pageant, and presented Gretchen with her
crown. The joke took place in Denver – Gretchen thought they were all introducing a new radio-transmitting
device, the multi integrated satellite system, which we dubbed, “The Miss America.” It’s
a total hoax. Now as Gary and Mary and I are rehearsing, Gretchen arrives very relaxed
and why not? She’s been told that Gary and Mary Ann will handle everything. But this
is supposed to be a live broadcast to a group of executives in Washington DC. And so our
plot is about to unfold. Step one is to get Gary Collins out of there, so we’ll tell him
he’s got a phone call. Step two, Mary Ann’s out – now we’re ready to tell Gretchen that
the broadcast is going to happen earlier than planned.>>STAGE DIRECTOR: You’re kidding? Okay look
– all right wait, we’re coming back early. You guys find Gary – somebody’s gotta find
Gary.>>NARRATOR: There’s Gary hiding out in the
control room.>>STAGE DIRECTOR: We’re going! We’re going!>>NARRATOR: Watch Gretchen’s face as she
realizes she has to fake it.>>STAGE DIRECTOR: Stand up here. Just tell
them what’s going on – just, just – you’ve gotta ad-lib it a little bit. All right here
we go folks, five, four, three, two, one.>>CARLSON: Hi I’m glad to be back with you
this morning. I’m Gretchen Carlson, the new Miss America. And this is my second appearance
here in Denver, and it’s been wonderful so far. And we’re going to be introducing the
multi-sync device here in a moment when Gary comes back! It’s a real honor to have this
named after myself, it’s an honor to be Miss America and carry on the tradition.>>STAGE DIRECTOR: Tell them you’re here to
talk about the system.>>CARLSON: We um, you never know what it’s
gonna feel like when you’re actually crowned. And now it’s setting in, and as I said before
I’m in Denver doing a few appearances. And I’m fortunate enough to come and talk about
the system here, this morning. The system that’s been named after Miss America.>>NARRATOR: Now watch her expression, so
he tells her to stall.>>STAGE DIRECTOR: Talk about the machine
a little bit, whatever you can remember about; it just it doesn’t matter. Even if you don’t
understand it.>>CARLSON: Well today Gary and Mary Ann are
supposed to be here with me, and they’re going to be discussing the intricate decails – details
of the system. My only directions are to press a few of these buttons. And I understand that
at one point you can receive a shock, which I hope isn’t going to happen to me during
this presentation.>>NARRATOR: Yup she’s already received her
shock.>>STAGE DIRECTOR: Go ahead and talk about
– we’re just – they’re coming, they’re finding them. Whatever you can talk about.>>NARRATOR: Now we’re gonna throw Gretchen
a rope of sorts here. We’re gonna bring in cue cards for her to read. Of course these
are cue cards, practical joke style.>>CARLSON: Well we’re back with the new invention
we’ve all been waiting to see – this multi sync integrated satellite system.>>NARRATOR: Well these cue cards are upside
down, she’s reading them anyway – she’s amazing! Desperation! Gretchen’s going to push some
buttons – watch what we do. Uh oh, lights out! We’ve gotta get this lady of the hook!
Gary and Mary Ann are back.>>GARY: First of all let me apologize for
kind of hanging you out to dry.>>CARLSON: I went through the whole system
I think!>>GARY: You did.>>CARLSON: I was trying to explain what was
going on. Then I pressed A1 and the lights dimmed down a little bit.>>GARY: That’s not a good uh, that’s not
supposed to happen is it?>>NARRATOR: There’s just one more button
to press for a message from Gary and Mary Ann.>>GARY: A, alright A1.>>RECORDING: Gretchen! You’re on Super Bloopers
and Practical Jokes!>>GARY: Miss America 1989!>>NASSER: Oh wow>>CARLSON: Thanks David, for having me re-live
that!>>NASSER Now we edited that down, there was
literally footage where, the guy comes up with the cards but they’re upside down, he
drops them, but you just stay cool. So um, that was viewed by millions and millions of
people on TV. That was one of the biggest shows in the world at that moment. And …>>CARLSON: And I thought I was gonna be fired
as Miss America – because I thought I did such a horrendous job – I was embarrassed.
When that came up six months later I was in a hotel room traveling as Miss America did
to a new city everyday. I had the covers up over my eyes even though I was by myself in
the hotel room because I was so embarrassed. And, God works in mysterious ways! Because
I got calls from TV agents after that from Hollywood saying, “If you can do that, you
can do TV. Have you ever thought about TV?” I mean it ended up having the complete opposite
reaction, which is such a huge lesson in life for all of us. That sometimes when we have
pitfalls and failures in our life and things we think we’re completely failing at, that
they end up putting us in a different direction, where we see success. And we appreciate success
and achievement so much more when we go through those difficult times. So, I still took my
LSATS, I still thought I might go to law school, but I knew that they were good for five years.
And I worked really hard to get my first job actually right here in Virginia. Richmond,
Virginia!>>NASSER: Absolutely. That was your first
TV gig…>>CARLSON: First TV job!>>NASSER: And since that moment, it’s not
always just been, just a steady incline into greater and greater influence – you actually
were fired, you actually – from a job one time cause they felt like having two anchor
women, just like leading a show wasn’t the right thing. You ->>CARLSON: A week after I got married – fired
and told by my boss that everything would be just fine now that I had a husband (audience:
ooh), yeah exactly. Exactly, my sentiments! Toughest year of my life. Um, I have great
empathy for anyone who has ever lost their job or is struggling to still find employment
because there’s a certain amount of pain and shame that never, ever leaves you when you
go through an experience like that. And, not to mention that I was newly married, which
– that first year of transition is difficult enough. I knew I was going to have to move
to another city too, and my husband wasn’t going to be able to come along with me, and
it was a really difficult time. So I ended up moving to Dallas, Texas, which I loved.
And my husband had to stay back in Cleveland, Ohio, which is where I was working at the
time. And, so our second year of marriage was commuting with each other. Listen if you
don’t have God as your foundation through these difficult times, you don’t make it!
You know? And thankfully my husband and I both had that faith, and it kept us going.
You know, and we both wanted to go to New York City eventually and I got that call from
CBS news and we both went together, and you know, life works in great ways after failure.>>NASSER: That’s one of the things I really
appreciate about your – your new book. It, it – it just shows these mountain top moments
where you are the valedictorian and you are, uh you know, going to Oxford and you are a
part of – you’re Miss America, but at the same time, in it you talk about getting fired
– you talk about having to go through the first year of your marriage apart from, you
know your brand new husband. You talk about having a stalker that um – just really haunted
your family for years.>>CARLSON: Four years.>>NASSER: Four years, yeah.>>CARLSON: I never told this story before
until I wrote the book, and the woman I was working with said she knew about the story
I had shared with her, and she said you really have to tell this story in the book to help
other women, specifically women who are in domestic violence situations as well. And,
I was very fearful to tell this story because this man had terrorized my life, and my family’s
for four years – he followed me to Richmond, Virginia for two years, he then followed me
to Cincinnati, Ohio where I worked after that for two years. He stalked my parents. And
I finally got him incarcerated, but let me tell you something. At least back then, nobody
cared about any stalking victim until you were dead. And I almost never got my way in
television, because the worst place for me to be when somebody is trying to find you
is on television. And I’ll never forget that my mom – my dad wasn’t taking it all that
seriously, not because he didn’t care – he just didn’t understand. And I remember my
mom saying to him, “Do you want your daughter to end up in a wood box? You better take this
seriously.” And so, we finally got him incarcerated and guess how much time he got? First he got
probation, and then he violated it so he got one year. When I was writing the book, the
only way I felt safe about telling this story was to find out, where is he now? ‘Cause
he hadn’t bothered me for at least twenty years. And we found out that he was dead.
And it gave me the courage to be able to write about this story, and to help so many other
thousands of women who have gone through this same kind of situation, or a domestic violence
situation.>>NASSER: It just – adversity is nothing
new, I mean, if you have – if you would, I would love for you to tell the story of how
you’d just become Miss America, and um, you go into a press conference – a room full of
reporters from all over the world, and there was someone there that – and I think even
in those early years, you were getting prepared for again, bigger stages where you’re always
gonna face adversity and challenges, like even a stalker or just different things that
you’ve gone through, would you share a little bit of that story? It’s fascinating.>>CARLSON: Yeah, so the minute I became Miss
America, they try to label you – the press does, now that I’m a member of it. And, the
headline was, “The Smart Miss America,” because I was at Stanford. I was like, “Oh this is
pretty good!” Well until I went to my first press conference in New York City, and there
was unfortunately another female reporter who made it her mission to just take me down.
She had come to prove that I was dumb. So she gave me a test right in the middle of
the press conference. She asked me about twenty questions. It was everything from, what year
did the Vietnam war end, you know, who’s on the $50 bill, uh you know, who’s Mary Joe
Kopechne, all of these sort of historical questions. And then, she got to, have you
ever done drugs? And finally, have you ever had sex? At which point in time, the chairman
of the pageant got up, and went over to her and the entire press court in New York City
booed her. I don’t know if that’s ever happened ever again. And it really made me realize,
wow, there are gonna be people in this world who are gonna take me down just because. And
it’s a great life lesson for all of us to know. Because whether it’s social media, or
me being on television, now talking about my faith and having all the haters come up.
You have to have self esteem built from the inside of your soul to be able to take that
on and say, “I don’t give a you-know-what about what you’re saying about me. Because
I feel good about myself.”>>NASSER: Because really, the one who’s opinion
matters is God. And God has fearfully and wonderfully made you, and He’s for you. So
is that how you deal with criticism? Because it’s funny, it’s ironic that the first time
you were made very known to the public, you were known as the “smart Miss America,” because
honestly, because you played the violin, and you were very academic, and you came from
Stanford and Oxford. And then today, uh, people kind of mislabel you as a, you said in the
book, you say the um, the bimbo trifecta?>>CARLSON: Yeah I coined the phrase! I don’t
know if anyone else can uh, I don’t know if they want to earn that title, but anyway – blonde,
former Miss America and working at FOX news. There you go! Bimbo Trifecta! So people just
want to take me down>>NASSER: How do you deal with that criticism?>>CARLSON: Yeah, you know what, David, if
I read all the negativity about me on a daily basis, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
And, so why bother? Um, it’s not gonna stop me from talking about my faith for example.
I’m one of the very few, national news anchors that – that does do that. And I get immense
blowback for that. I’m sure we all know people in this world that we’d like to be able to
walk up to and say, you know, get revenge to certain extent. “I can’t believe you said
that about me, and let me tell you…” I’ve only done that really once in my life, and
it was that reporter. So again, God works in mysterious ways. About twelve years later
I ran into her, and we were both working in New York City – was working for CBS news,
and she was working for a local station. And I saw her, and I thought, should I say something?
And I decided, yup. It was uncharacteristic for me, so I got done with my live reports,
and I went up to her- she has no idea who I was. And I reintroduce myself – I said,
“Hi Penny! I’m Gretchen Carlson. I was the Miss America that you humiliated and tried
to take down. And I just want to let you know that I am now a CBS news correspondent, and
you’re not!”>>NASSER: Bam! One of those! That’s what
you did! That’s what you did! That’s what you did!>>CARLSON: You can’t do that all of the time.>>NASSER: Yeah, we’ll put that on our prayer
request list for you.>>CARLSON: And then I prayed for her.>>NASSER: You prayed for her! Thank you!
So then you just Jesus it. You nailed her, and then you, after you did that, you prayed
for her. That’s awesome.>>CARLSON: Of course! Of course. But, the
most important lesson for us is that we can’t do that with everyone that we get angry with,
or tries to take us down. But I’ve got to tell ya’: it did feel good.>>NASSER: It’s so true though, isn’t it?
That hurt people, hurt people, and that when we go beyond this person who’s just, really
not interested in being accurate, they’re just interested in being hurtful. A lot of
times, something in their past brought them to that moment. And I think what I love about
your book is that it’s very disarming because, you – you’re just saying, “look I dealt with
infertility issues in my life, I dealt with obesity in my life, loneliness in my life,
I’ve dealt with a lot of things as well,” and it just shows that everyone has a path.
It’s not always as shiny as everybody thinks that it is, or whatever. Uh last question
here, just really interested. Your husband by the way, is a big time sport agent right?
Over 100, almost 140 different big time baseball players – football players, Casey is well
known around the world – is one of the top agents in the entire world. He’s very, very
busy – you’re very, very busy. And so you’re a mom, you’re on TV, you’re promoting your
brand new book, you’re – just everywhere doing everything, so how do you manage all of that?
How do you – tell us about balance, and priorities. Uh, we’re beginning, a lot of the students
are beginning their lives and, and walking into getting a full time job, getting a ring
by spring, you know? And getting all the things that it takes, so what does that look like
– priorities and commitment and time management, for two very, very busy people like you, and
Casey?>>CARLSON: Well luckily we both believe in
the Lord, so that is our number one priority. Number two, I say in the book that I think
this whole idea of having it all, whether it’s for women or for men, is a curse. It
sets us up for expectations that we can’t achieve, and so then we feel guilt. And, I
don’t want any of you to feel that. It is about giving 110% in the moment, but you can’t
do that for everything all at the same time – unrealistic. So I like to say, when I’m
at work I’m giving 110% to FOX news, but then I’m not giving it to my kids! And when I go
home, I’m giving my kids 110%, and not to FOX news. So I like to say that you can have
it all – just not all at the same time, and let’s stop making everyone feel guilty in
our society, that they have to live up to those expectations.>>NASSER: Yeah, that’s – that’s valuable
advice. Good wisdom for our students, for all of us really. So you – you’re talking
about the myth of having it all, and the myth of constant balance and I love what you just
said, I think that’s definitely tweet worthy – hint, hint here! Uh, that uh you said, being
110% in the moment. And so when you’re mom, you’re 110%. When you’re on TV, be 110%, you
know just committed in that moment, right?>>CARLSON: Exactly! And I don’t pass judgment
on anyone’s decision about what they want to do in their lives, so whether you want
to work in the workplace, or you want to work the full time job at home, raising kids – I
value all of that the same. And I was just sharing with Amy, driving down here, that
when I take a day off from work and I spend it at home, I’m more busy then when I actually
go to work! Being a full time mom at home is a huge job, or dad! And I value that, so
it’s a personal choice for everyone to determine how they want to strike that balance. And
I don’t pass judgment on anyone’s decisions.>>NASSER: That’s powerful. Uh, this is the
last question, it’s the common question we ask all of our distinguished guests that come,
and I – I want you to know, I always say this in front of our guests, I think our students
get tired of hearing it sometimes, but we – we mean this, we don’t just say this to
sound over-spiritual, we really want to know how we can pray for you in this particular
season of your life. First of all, we’re grateful for you – we’re grateful that you – you’re
a witness, and an ambassador for Christ all over the world, but um, how can we pray for
you? Like that’s the question we end with whether it’s a politician or a TED talk speaker,
or a great athlete, or in Q&A, we want to know how we, whenever we see you on TV at
2:00, you know, say “Oh, Gretchen asked us to pray about this for her and her family.
How can we pray for you?”>>CARLSON: Thank you so much. The last chapter
in my book is, “To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected,” and I believe that’s the second
greatest lesson that we can teach our young people; how important it is to give back.
And so, I would just really love for you to pray for my children, first and foremost.
Because they are the loves of my life, and I am so blessed to have them. And my parents
– because I was given an amazing foundation in life, and I am so blessed to still have
them in my life. And so, I would just ask that you would pray for the people in my life
that make my life fulfilled. Which would be my children, my husband and my parents. Thank
you.>>NASSER: Absolutely – we’re gonna do that,
alright? Let’s – let’s do that right now, can we pray for you right now?>>CARLSON: Thank you!>>NASSER: Father I thank you for this sister
in Christ. Thank you Lord that you used a godly grandfather – a pastor, godly parents
Lord to allow her to be trained up in the ways that she should go. So that then father,
she would not depart from it, in this season of her life. I pray that that would be imparted
back down to the next generation: her own children. Lord I thank you for the witness
that she is, but I pray God that you would put a hedge of protection, that would protect
her reputation. Lord those who come to harm, I pray that they would – they would see no
success. That God, those who come to hurt, that they would see even in that a witness
and a testimony of someone who can love them despite the way they’ve been treating her.
Father we pray, for a sustainable pace for Gretchen, Lord in this very busy season, we
pray that- that, that she’d find margin God – that she’d find time with her family, with
her kids and God give her the supernatural ability to be able to be 110% in the moment
with the people that you put in her path. Lord I pray that she’ll know that she’s amongst
family, that she’ll leave here today knowing that her brothers and her sisters in Christ,
sons and daughters of the same heavenly father, are always for her. That when she goes on
TV, she’ll know that the Liberty Students watching, that we’re gonna pray for her. That
we stand in the gap with her. We pray this in your name, amen.

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