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Megyn Kelly still doesn’t get it

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When the Wall Street Journal, reporting on her dismal ratings on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today show, asked her what the problem is, she told them it’s because viewers don’t understand her.

I need to introduce myself to people who don’t know me or know some bastardized version of me that they’ve gotten from a website or a TV show,” she said. “There are definitely some who only know me through some caricature they learned about on ‘The Daily Show.’”

No, Megyn, no. The reason people won’t watch you isn’t because of some “caricature” of you, or because of some “bastardized version” of you. It’s because of the real you. You made the huuuge mistake of working for Fox News for many years, where you were an integral part of the Republican attack machine that smeared Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In working for an illegitimate propaganda organization, you ceded all professional credibility, then, now, and into the future.

You propagandized night after night after night, putting out the lies and misstatements of the Tea Party. You weren’t as awful as Breitbart, but almost. You were smarmy, unfair and bigoted. And when you quit, or got fired—whatever—you went over to NBC. Now, you expect everybody to forget the evil you colluded with?

I don’t think so!

Kelly’s viewership is 18% lower than it was one year ago, and the slide apparently is continuing to accelerate. Among the all-important age demographic of 25 to 54, it’s down 28%. Her poor performance is even dragging down the 10 a.m. hour of Today, with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, whose ratings are off 19% in the 25-54 age group.

NBC viewers aren’t stupid. Let’s not forget, NBC is the parent company of MSNBC, which is the harshest critic Trump has among major television networks. NBC viewers probably skew liberal; NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack should have understood that Kelly was a misfit when he hired her.

The problem concerns credibility. We expect news anchors to be honest and consistent in their political views. The days of Walter Cronkite—the news commentator who was strictly apolitical, whose personal views were impossible to fathom—are over. An old guy like Wolf Blitzer, on CNN, still tries to come across as non-partisan, but it doesn’t really work anymore, because we all intuitively know that no one these days is non-partisan, so pretending to be is an insult to our intelligence. I assume that Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson aren’t just pretending to be rightwingers, they really are. In the same way, I assume that Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell aren’t just pretending to be liberals, they really are.

So it’s insulting to foist Megyn on us one day as a Republican conservative, and then the next day, pretend she’s some kind of sympathetic liberal who was never really comfortable at Fox News. She was comfortable enough to stay there for a long time and take their money. She (and Andrew Lack) either take us viewers to be idiots, or they’re practicing a deep, distasteful form of hypocrisy.

Kelly herself has consistently tried to distance herself from her Fox News associates. In her memoir, Settle For More, she “never once mentions that the network she worked for is a platform for conservative ideas,” as the Atlantic observed. It added, “Writing a book about a career at Fox without mentioning its conservative agenda is like writing a book about a career at the Vatican without mentioning its Catholic agenda.” The article concludes: “Making the crossover to a major network requires a conservative to change her stripes.” Kelly has tried to scrub off her stripes, but some stains can’t be washed away.

When I’m home in the mornings, I will channel surf to find something interesting to watch and listen to in the background, as I’m doing other household things. But I will not watch Megyn Kelly. I like her (or, rather, I think I like the person I see on the tube). She’s certainly a beautiful woman. But I just can’t forgive her for the horrible machine she chose to be a part of. She said, or abetted, the most awful things about people I care deeply about. She was right beside Bill O’Reilly helping to put out hateful, fake “news” and tear this country down. I can’t forgive her for that and neither, apparently, can millions of other Americans, who similarly refuse to watch her. NBC ought to wash its hands of Megyn Kelly and replace her with someone who at least has some degree of integrity, not a T.V. goddess who simply sells herself to the highest bidder.


  1. Bob Henry says:

    Quoting Walter Cronkite from an interview with Ron Powers (“Chicago Sun Times”) for “Playboy” (circa 1973):

    “I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, non-committed to a cause — but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it’s a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they’re not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they’re preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can’t be very good journalists; that is, if they carry it into their journalism.”


    Quoting from Chris Matthews’s (host of “Hardball” on MSNBC) New York Times published book review on the “Cronkite” biography by historian David Brinkley:

    “It’s time for the elephant in the room. Was Cronkite a liberal?

    “The left-leaning was right there, Brinkley notes for all to hear if not see: Cronkite was always more outspoken off camera. ‘I thought that some day the roof was going to fall in,’ Cronkite said. ‘Somebody was going to write a big piece in the newspaper or something. I don’t know why to this day I got away with it.’ At a dinner honoring the Texas representative Barbara Jordan, he said of the Democratic losses in the 1988 election:

    “ ‘Liberalism isn’t dead in this country. It isn’t even comatose. It simply is suffering a severe case of acute laryngitis. It simply has temporarily — we hope — lost its voice. . . . But God Almighty, God Almighty, we’ve got to shout these truths in which we believe from the rooftops, like that scene in the movie “Network.” We’ve got to throw open our windows and shout these truths to the streets and to the ­heavens.’

    “It was ‘Cronkite’s political coming-out party,’ Brinkley writes. ‘The charade of being Mr. Center was over.’ Curiously Cronkite’s liberal bent didn’t detract from his credibility or popularity. It seemed to me that conservatives watched him with great respect, distilling out whatever leftish sentiment they might detect.”

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