On Fox News show 'The Five,' Jessica Tarlov is a rare liberal voice with 'thick skin'

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It’s kind of fun to sort through social media posts that mention Jessica Tarlov, one of the few outspoken liberal voices on Fox News.

It breaks down along predictable lines. Some describe her as heroic, speaking truth to those who don’t want to hear it — and who outnumber her — on “The Five,” the network’s highest-rated show, and the highest-rated show on cable news, period. (Usually it’s four against one.) “Jessica Tarlov is a national treasure,” one person posted on X, formerly Twitter.

But you don’t have to scroll down too far before the other side is heard from. “A clear majority of the comments I see want Tarlov the lying Democrat liar off The Five,” reads a typical X post. “Is there anyone more ignorant than Jessica Tarlov on Fox News?” reads another.

You get the idea. And you know what? So does she.

Haters aside, Tarlov is happy with her experience on 'The Five'

“There are a lot of people, and they’re especially loud on Twitter, or X, I should call it, who are not fans of mine,” Tarlov says. “But you don’t want to come off as shrill, like every single thing a conservative says you automatically have the opposite opinion of.”

Also, Twitter, as they used to say, is not life. Tarlov is particularly satisfied with her experience on the show, and at Fox News.

“Overall, it's been an incredibly positive experience for me,” Tarlov, 40, says of her experience on “The Five,” on which she is a rotating co-host. “I have a pretty thick skin. I can't actually remember a time I was genuinely offended or upset by something that went on during the show. And I think that even though some viewers might not necessarily see it that way, I don't actually find the interactions to be disrespectful.”

Was Jessica Tarlov fired from Fox News?

Such is the reaction to her commentary on “The Five” and the other shows where she drops in as a liberal voice that whenever she misses a few shows, a certain segment of the Fox News audience assumes (or hopes?) she's been fired.

She hasn’t been. And it seems like a safe bet she'll stay at the network for a while. She is, however, about to have her second baby, so she’ll soon be on maternity leave.

Hearing Tarlov talk about her role on “The Five” is reminiscent of watching the old cartoon with Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, who cheerily walk to work together, punch in, basically try to kill each other for the duration of their shift, clock out and have a friendly walk home.

Jesse Watters offered to deliver Tarlov's baby

“First and foremost, I can sit with the people that I work with because they're really good people,” Tarlov says. “And we enjoy each other. And we're there to do a job, but also have friendships.” She sounds particularly close with Jesse Watters, often the biggest flamethrower on the show. “I mean, Jesse has offered to deliver the baby, and I’m trying to avoid that,” Tarlov says.

But that’s part of the secret of the show’s success, Tarlov says — the politics, sure, but also the personalities.

“I think that everyone has a role to play, as it were, myself included, and that we’re all really aware of the fact that we are trying to educate an audience, but also to entertain. And that the chemistry and the group dynamic is incredibly important to all of that. … It doesn’t feel like bully ball in the way that I think a lot of people make it out to be. Maybe I have an inflated sense of self, or how well I’m doing, but I often think the more that I’m being attacked, the better I’m doing.”

Tarlov rotates the liberal seat with Harold Ford, the former Democratic U.S. congressman from Tennessee. It’s interesting to hear her talk about the relationships she has with the other members of “The Five” — and then remind you of how truly different her beliefs are from the rest of the people on the show.

“Honestly, I'm motivated by selfish reasons,” she says. “I don't want to feel like I felt on election night in 2016 ever again, which was completely shell-shocked by the result."

Tarlov was 'completely stunned' by the 2016 election

Tarlov had been appearing on Fox News regularly before she was formally hired in 2017. “I had obviously been around people (who) thought Donald Trump could win, right? That this was the guy that could ... upend electoral history. I had heard that. But still, as an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter, I was completely stunned by what happened.”

Which is one of the reasons she feels so strongly about being an alternative voice on “The Five.”

“Living in information silos is only to your detriment,” she says. She’s not cowed by the polls saying a majority of Republicans believe that Joe Biden's election win in 2020 was not legitimate. In fact, that makes her even more determined — and she doesn’t think they should be ignored.

“How can you say that we shouldn’t hear from those people,” she says, “because they’re going to show up to vote the same way that we’re going to show up to vote. I don’t know how you could ignore something like that.” This extends, for instance, to giving election deniers their say — though probably not for the same reasons someone like Watters might.

“Denying someone a seat on a panel — or the opportunity for you to tell them to their face in front of X amount of viewers that they're completely out of their minds, and these are the reasons, these are all the court cases, these are all the recounts, these are all the plea deals that these people have taken to try to save their butts — is an incredible opportunity.”

It’s one she likes taking, and plans on taking for a while. At times she may be beating her head against the wall, but that’s fine. “I feel,” she says, “like I could go on forever.”

Sorry, all you X haters, but she sounds like she means it.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Why Jessica Tarlov loves being liberal voice of Fox News on 'The Five'