Elizabeth Vargas Wants to Avoid the ‘Trap’ of Partisan ‘Shouting Matches’ in New NewsNation Show

“We’re not going to become one of these cable news shouting matches,” the “Elizabeth Vargas Reports” anchor tells TheWrap

Courtesy of NewsNation

With over 20 years under her belt as an anchor, Elizabeth Vargas is setting her sights on nuanced, contextual reporting with NewsNation’s newly launched “Elizabeth Vargas Reports,” hoping to avoid “falling into the trap” of extreme partisanship.

“I am not going to be sharing my opinions — I never have in my career, and I don’t plan on starting” with “Elizabeth Vargas Reports,” Vargas told TheWrap. “It’ll be an in-depth look at the most important stories of the day … I think what we want to avoid [is] falling into the trap of being highly partisan in the way we cover it.”

“Elizabeth Vargas Reports,” which launches April 3 and airs weeknights at 6 p.m. ET, will present an hour-long deep dive of the most important stories to people across the country, not just the Beltway, Vargas notes, featuring live interviews that provide “nuance and context” to the day’s news. Armed with her commitment to this approach, Vargas is confident her new show won’t be, as Vargas puts it, “one of these cable news shouting matches that you see everywhere.”

“As a viewer, I don’t want to watch people yell at each other, or yell at the anchor, I want to hear smart people give their opinions and in an informed and respectful way,” Vargas adds.

Vargas will put this approach into practice as she keeps her eyes on the ongoing war in Ukraine as the divide over support for the war deepens, noting the show will offer perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum.

“There are lots of things to debate right now,” Vargas said. “How do we fix our southern border? How much aid do we give to Ukraine? Why is there a deep strain of isolationism throughout American history?”

In addition to the biggest news of the day, Vargas also hopes to use her platform to bring attention to the mental health crisis, a subject near and dear to Vargas after she published her 2016 memoir, titled “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction” and serves on the board of directors for the Partnership to End Addiction, where she hosts a podcast focusing on mental health and substance use disorder.

“I really feel strongly that the mental health crisis in this country has been largely ignored and sealed still by a lot of stigma,” Vargas said, adding that the story is continually in the headlines despite mainstream media not paying as much attention it should. “I think it’s changing a little bit lately — I think people are starting to realize this as a huge crisis, we have to do something about it … I intend to really keep a bright light shining on that issue.”

Vargas’ empathy for the human experience enriches her reporting as she says “I understand what it’s like to struggle, and I understand that a lot more people struggle than we think — most people keep that very private, and very hidden.”

“Sometimes, that can only make the problem even worse, we still have so much stigma around admitting that you don’t feel right, or that you need help … I think the more we can talk openly, and in a very smart way about it,” Vargas added.

As Vargas transitions from her old gig at ABC News’ “World News Tonight,” she says the brand new cable news network is like an agile sailboat when compared to its “oil tanker” competitors.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the stories of Ted Turner start[ing] CNN from scratch and Roger Ailes start[ing] Fox News from scratch and those scrappy brand new news operations that, launched from nothing, and spent several years launching what would soon, decades later … [become] the most watched cable news network,” Vargas said. “I just feel like being here gives me the opportunity to be part of a place that can turn on a dime and is launching this ambitious new network.”