Fox News anchor Bret Baier is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at a high-priced retreat for an organization that has described itself as training “leaders to push forward the conservative agenda” and whose graduates include numerous Republican officials. Fox News has frequently attempted to maintain the illusion that its “news” division is separate from its conservative “opinion” division.
Baier hosts Special Report with Bret Baier, which is the “news” division’s flagship program. While the divide between Fox’s “news” and “opinion” sides has always been a farce, the network has hollowed out its reporting side post-Trump in favor of propagandists like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
The Leadership Program of the Rockies (LPR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that claims to provide “a thorough education and grounding for emerging leaders on the principles of American civilization – free enterprise; the rule of law; a vigorous national defense; free speech, elections; limited government – that will continue to be the basis for our prosperity, freedom, and well-being in the decades ahead.” In a February 2011 tweet, the organization wrote more succinctly: “LPR trains leaders to push forward the conservative agenda.”
LPR was previously called the Republican Leadership Program. Its chairperson is former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-CO) and its president is Republican strategist Shari Williams. The Colorado Sun called it “a training program for potential GOP candidates” and the Colorado Times Recorder wrote that it has “seen many of Colorado’s leading Republicans pass through its doors since it opened in 1989.” LPR has highlighted the work of its Republican graduates on social media. For instance, the organization tweeted last March: “Kristi Burton Brown (#LPR2020) elected to lead Colorado's Republican Party for next two years! Congratulations!!”
LRP is holding a high-priced retreat on February 11 and 12. Baier is scheduled to be the event’s dinner keynote speaker. Other speakers include Fox personalities Rachel Campos Duffy, Sean Duffy, Lawrence Jones, and Kennedy.
In prior years, speakers included Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former member of the House and current Fox News personality Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Fox News anchor Dana Perino, Fox News host and Senior Vice President Neil Cavuto, and Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner.
Baier’s scheduled speech is another example of Fox News helping Republican-aligned causes both on and off the air. Media Matters has extensively documented how Fox News employees have done fundraisers for Republican Party organizations.