In 2015, when Katie Pavlich—a few years removed from a broadcasting degree from the University of Arizona, and already an editor at Townhall—published her second book, a Townhall blurb suggested, “Reading Katie Pavlich’s Assault and Flattery is a really fun way to annoy feminists.”
True of course, but not the best reason to read this enlightening book. Assault and Flattery should be required reading for every young woman who is trying to make up her mind as to whether liberals or conservatives better represent women’s real interests. Pavlich dissects liberal policies that purport to be pro-woman but are anything but and profiles Democratic icons—Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton spring to mind—whose actual treatment of women was glossed over by the mainstream media.
The idea for the book had an interesting genesis. “I was at the DNC convention in 2012,” Pavlich said, “and they played this seven-minute-long tribute video to Ted Kennedy and called him a women’s rights champion. And this was the same senator who left a young woman to die in his car, and then went on to be praised for decades as the “Lion of the Senate” and someone to whom Democrats looked up and praised as a women’s rights standard bearer. This was the same Democratic convention, one of whose themes was all about the war on women, that made Mitt Romney, of all people, out to be a terrible, terrible, awful, misogynistic man. And yet here they were, praising Ted Kennedy. This was the inspiration for that book.”
Not much has changed. “Democrats just elected Raphael Warnock to be a Senator from Georgia; they completely ignored allegations of abuse from his ex-wife. Right? So, I don’t think that the standards on the left have changed in terms of who they were willing to elect for the sake of their causes, primarily abortion,” Pavlich told IWF.
“I’ll never forget the time when my boss said, Katie, you can start riding the train. Your bus tickets are starting to embarrass me. So, I got upgraded to train.”
Pavlich, 32, is one of a bright, young cadre of conservatives, many outspoken women, who counter liberal myths daily on Townhall and other publications and on such popular shows as “Outnumbered,” “The Five,” and Fox’s “Special Report.” She recently hosted Fox’s new “Primetime,” which features a rotating schedule of hosts. The willowy Second Amendment defender has reported on Mexican drug cartels (for her first book, the New York Times bestseller Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-up) and triggered several Black Lives Matter protests, when she dared to accept invitations to speak on campus. Success and notoriety at such a young age might affect many, but Pavlich retains a self-deprecating sense of humor and is always approachable.
Like that embarrassing moment the time she flew on then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plane. “I was going on a foreign trip with the secretary,” she recalls. “And we were at Joint Base Andrews. It was early, like six in the morning, and it’s my first trip and I’m there with all these seasoned State Department reporters—my friend in the State Department, spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, invited me on this trip.
“Pompeo’s plane looks like Airforce One, same colors, but a little smaller. And so, I’m ready to go and I’m walking up the stairs to the plane, trying to play it cool, but also trying to video my experience as I’m getting on the plane. And I’m going up the stairs and I’m videoing, and I trip and fall, up the stairs. The NBC guy behind me says ‘first time?’ And I confessed, yeah, first time. I have what I call my ‘humbling stories’. Because whenever I think I’m really having a great time and I’m so proud of myself, then something humbling happens.”
Fortunately, her in-flight interview with then-Attorney General William Barr did not turn into one of Katie’s humbling stories. “We were on the plane from Ohio to D.C., and I was just grateful that he took the time to sit down with me, and had a little chat. He talked about the media and it was so interesting. Never in my mind, when I was a college student getting a degree in broadcast journalism, did I think I would be interviewing the Attorney General of the United States on his plane back to Washington. But it happened, so I’m very grateful for that opportunity.”
Katie grew up in an outdoorsy, Rush-listening family in Arizona. The families on her street put out American flags on national holidays. Her parents were educators. The name Pavlich is Croatian. “So, I always hope that I get the story correctly,” she said. “The short version is that my great-grandmother was sent over from former Yugoslavia, now Croatia, in the early 1900’s to Leed, North Dakota. She came through, and then my great grandfather also came through, I believe, Ellis Island, and they met in Leed, and they moved to Globe, Arizona, where my family is from. My grandfather fought in World War II. He has this wonderful story about how he got malaria fighting the Japanese in the Philippines and was sent to an Australian hospital. And my grandmother happened to work at that hospital, and they eloped together in Australia.”
Katie’s mother’s family has deep roots in American history. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution through James Forbush, an American patriot from Massachusetts who was a soldier and a drummer during the American Revolution.
She relates her advocacy of low taxes and the Second Amendment to her heritage, on both sides of her family. “I’m very proud to be an American,” she said. “Things like the National Anthem are symbols of what keeps us all under one country and something that we all have in common, despite political differences or differences of opinion on certain policy issues. The left’s effort to erase history and rewrite it is really an effort to, develop their own vision of what they believe America was, in order to have their own power and perspective on the way that the future should be. The Founders weren’t perfect. Nobody in human history is perfect. But you can say that the American way and the American Dream and American principles are the best in the world, which is why people fight to come here. And I’m proud of my country. I’m proud of where we’ve been and where we were. And I’m proud of how we’ve gotten through a lot of really tough things. And I am very disappointed in this effort right now of the left to co-op symbols and rewrite history and really smear the country.”
Katie graduated from Sinagua High School in Flagstaff, where she excelled in athletics on the volleyball and basketball teams. She hunted big game with her father. “Big game in Arizona is elk, deer, javelina. We spent a lot of time in my youth hunting in the woods and some of my best memories are of being in the outdoors, learning about conservation, that kind of stuff,” she said. She was inspired by an aunt, Meri Pavlich Roby (who shares the dedication of Assault and Flattery with Margaret Thatcher). “She used to wear heels all day long every single day to work for 30 years. She was never afraid to walk into a meeting where she was the only woman there and stake her claim. She had an enormous impact on my life.”
Roby worked in Title IX administration, promoting opportunities for female athletes. Pavlich believes her aunt’s legacy is under attack because of the left’s infatuation with transgenderism. “I can’t imagine now what she would think about this idea that biological males are entitled, and have a right, to compete against women in sports. There are real consequences for this. There are a number of young women saying that, if they weren’t competing against biological males, then they would have college scholarships, or they would have won a state championship. I’m not unsympathetic to people who say that they’re transgendered, but I do reject this idea that transgendered females, who are male at birth, are entitled to strip womanhood away. We always hear about cultural appropriation. But this is gender appropriation, right? And now we have the NIH talking about ‘lactating people,’ instead of lactating women.”
After the University of Arizona, Katie came to Washington, where she quickly landed a job as an editor with Townhall (where she had been a college intern), an online conservative opinion and news website that is increasingly a sprightly must-read with a stable of sparkling writers. Pavlich noted that Townhall is now doing more gumshoe-style reporting, which is partly financed by its paid VIP subscriptions. Conservative journalism has no shortage of pundits, but seems only recently to be realizing that the real need is for reporting. Thus, when Townhall sent Julio Rosas to cover last summer’s riots, it filled a need.
“We sent him to report on what the mainstream media refused to cover,” said Pavlich. “His reporting got a lot of traction. We’ve been doing our best to do a lot of original reporting, along with commentary, talking about things that other people maybe are not.”
As might be expected, Katie is optimistic about the future, as long as conservatives are optimistic and don’t surrender.
Pavlich has been at Townhall since she arrived in Washington, but, as you know, has branched out into TV. How she landed her first gig on Fox News is a story of old-fashioned pluck. She explains: “I had been going to C-PAC as a student in college and I loved it. This was the first time I was there as a young, professional with Townhall. And I was in this packed reception and I saw Greg Gutfeld with his producer, and I think it was Andy Levy walking through the door. And I was thinking, ‘Oh I have to get to him.’ I’m trying to walk through this packed room and nobody’s moving and I overhear Greg complaining about the line to the drinks being too long, and how they might leave. And I thought, ‘Oh no, they can’t leave.’ So, I pushed through everybody and I got over there, and I said, ‘What do you want to drink? I’ll go get you something to drink. So, I take their orders and I cut the line to get to the front of the bar and I got them all their drink orders.”
It worked: It wasn’t long before Katie was invited to be a guest on “Red Eye,” then Fox’s 3 am offering featuring the witty repartee of Gutfeld and subsequently Tom Shillue. “Red Eye” didn’t have a lavish budget for out-of-town guests. When in New York to do the show, Katie stayed in her brother’s college dorm in Hoboken. “Red Eye” at least provided a fancy car to ferry guests home (as long as it wasn’t too far away). Katie’s driver was dubious about leaving her at the boys’ dorm. “Yup, I said that this was where I’m staying on the floor with three other boys. I slept on my brother’s floor and then I took the bus back to D.C. I’ll never forget the time when my boss said, Katie, you can start riding the train. Your bus tickets are starting to embarrass me. So, I got upgraded to train.”
She adds, “I think sometimes people see on the surface of what they deem a success, and aren’t aware that there’s so much behind the scenes that goes on to have a sustainable career. At the end of the day, I really think that all of the hard work that you do behind the scenes, the dues that you pay is what ultimately gives you a sustainable career. You want to be the little black dress, not the fleeting fashion of the season. So, all the work that you’ve got to put in to make these connections, build your credibility, that kind of thing, does pay off.”
Notoriously private, Pavlich lives in Northern Virginia (“for now, anyway, the freedom side of the river”) with her husband, an EMT whom she met when covering Operation Protective Edge on assignment in Israel, and her dog, Gadsden, named (as you have guessed) after the yellow Gadsden flag, which is emblazoned with the defiant motto, “Don’t Tread On Me.
As might be expected, Katie is optimistic about the future, as long as conservatives are optimistic and don’t surrender. “People have many disagreements, but the ultimate issue is sticking together against the left that is willing to do whatever they have to do gain to power.”
This is Katie Pavlich’s way of politely saying “Don’t Tread On Me.”
It’s this an all-American grace and grit that, combined with talent, have put Katie where she is.