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How a Love of Sports Led Chad Pergram to Cover Politics at Fox News

Fox News’ Chad Pergram knows the rules of the game when it comes to Congress better than some of the Congressmen who serve America’s citizens.

Tonight, however, the Senior Congressional Correspondent, along with John Walton, will be trading his suit and tie for a ball and glove at the Congressional baseball game. Pergram believes there’s a larger relationship to America’s pastime and the halls of Congress than what meets the eye. “You’re always kind of looking for an advantage in politics and it’s the same with sports.”

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Pergram, began his journalist career while still in High School at WKRC-AM in Cincinnati. “I thought I might do politics and government and that type of thing but I also thought I might do sports.”

A chance encounter at an Ohio diner set the stage for a lifelong career and commitment to journalistic integrity. “One of the guys who was a local judge said ‘You should come down and sit with us sometime for lunch.’”

At lunch, the young Pergram ended up sitting next to John Boehner. “I covered his first race for Congress when I was still in college. But I worked, full-time at a radio station in Cincinnati. And so I’ve always kind of covered politics, specifically Congress.”

While he’s been with Fox News since 2007, Pergram believes his work at C-SPAN, his first Washington D.C. job, elevated his reporting to the excellence we see on screen today.

“When I came to C-SPAN, that was probably some of the best training I ever got about covering Congress. It’s not because you just show up at C-SPAN and they drop all this information into your head. No, it’s because it helped me get to know the players, meaning the members understand the congressional rules.”

Pergram noted a lot of people don’t know or pay attention to the rules, including some members of Congress. “A lot of the members don’t even know the rules, nor staff.”

He believes knowing the rules of Congress is as important as knowing the rules of baseball. “I remember I would sit in my room as a kid in rural Ohio, and there was not a lot to do in the 70s. And I would just study baseball cards. I can tell you statistics on the back of those baseball cards and what every player looked like. It was the same thing coming to Congress.”

The rules help distill votes to a numbers game. “I always say it’s about the math. And so when there’s certain numbers who are out, it’s going to affect the vote total. It’s the same type of scouting reports that you put together in sports as you would for covering Congress.”

Chad Pergram said those in Congressional leadership have to know the rules really well but noted, “We haven’t seen anybody really as good since Robert Byrd left.” Another example Pergram gave of a Congressman who knew the rules well is John Dingell. “He used to say, ‘If you write policy and let me write the rules, I will beat you every time.’”

Tonight’s 7 PM Congressional game is the second consecutive year Pergram will be on the call for the play-by-play, “It’s really fun to do the game. It’s a lot of work that, like most things in life, when you put on and a lot of hard work, it pays off.”

His wife, who is also a sports fan, helps Pergram compile stats and bios for the game. “It’s kind of a labor of love, frankly.”

Some of the challenges of covering tonight’s game include players with the same number. “You know their voices. But when they put on the uniform and a ball cap, you know, you don’t always know who they are.”

While the GOP will wear the same uniform (minus the baseball cap), democrats typically do not. “They wear everything. A lot of major league teams, college, college teams, high school teams, community colleges. For example, I remember Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) would wear the Brooklyn Cyclones.”

Since the annual game doesn’t provide regular statistics, it’s Pergram’s personal knowledge and years of coverage that make it unique. Additionally, the rules of the game are slightly different than regular baseball. “Steve Scalise leads off for the Republicans, and he can’t run because of the shooting several years ago. So they put a designated runner next to him, and it looks like he’s getting in the starter’s blocks, you know, the 100-meter dash or something. And then [the designated runner] takes off on contact.”

Chad Pergram noted his passion for all types of news, adding, “If I probably wasn’t covering Congress, even though I cover some sports stuff, I would probably be doing sports [journalism]. So this is my one occasion from time to time, besides doing the Caps’ game, to do sports.”

Some of his most notable stories have happened both on and off the Congressional field, including the death of Osama Bin Laden, two Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings, the 2017 Congressional Baseball Game shooting, and the January 6th protests.

“I work in the Capitol every day. It’s my office. It’s a place that I treasure. To see the building ransacked on such an important day where you certify the Electoral College and the Capitol Police get overrun. I’m in the basement, barricading the doors, but on the air live all day.

“Then reporting on the riot and reporting on the certification of the Electoral College. This is how we have a peaceful transfer of power. I mean, that was, beyond dramatic and beyond terrible, frankly.”

For those looking to follow in his footsteps, Chad Pergram believes two things, they need to “pay attention” and “need to be willing to do things that others aren’t willing to do.” For example, “When I was young I got an opportunity but it was working all night doing anchoring the newscast at the radio station in Cincinnati. So everybody else would be going out on Friday night, and I’d be going to work.”

The strategic sacrifice, bunting on a play (aka a night out) just might end up giving someone a career grand slam, as it has for Chad Pergram.

Krystina Alarcon Carroll
Krystina Alarcon Carroll
Krystina Alarcon Carroll is a news media columnist and features writer for Barrett Media. She currently freelances at WPIX in New York, and has previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs. Her prior employers have included NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. You can find Krystina on X (formerly twitter) @KrystinaAlaCarr.

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