I must confess a certain admiration for Megyn Kelly. I watched her for years on Fox News, and always got the impression that she was tough and whip-smart—which isn’t such a surprise, because she’s both of those things. A lawyer by training, Kelly has a reputation for being an excellent interviewer because like any good attorney, she prepares herself throughly beforehand. And while her style may be off-putting to some—particularly die-hard Donald Trump fans who didn’t much care for the feud between them during the 2016 election—Kelly is, unquestionably, that rarest of specimens these days: a competent journalist.
She is also, however, a victim of her own ambition, which is what led her to leave her post at the top of the Fox News heap for NBC News, where she had a disastrous—and brief—tenure as a host for the Today morning show. I remember being baffled at the time as to how Kelly could ever think that Today, with its focus on features and soft news, would be a good fit for her hard news persona. I also questioned who the intended audience for her show would be. It certainly wouldn’t be die-hard Fox News fans, who viewed her departure as a betrayal—nor would it be your typical NBC viewer, most of whom didn’t care for Kelly because of her Fox News ties. This quickly became apparent to NBC News brass as well, and after a few failed attempts at retooling the show the suits started looking for a way to dump Kelly. In October of 2018, they found one—in the form of ginned-up outrage over some remarks Kelly made about wearing blackface for Halloween.
Of course, it’s rather ironic that NBC would be more sensitive to comments about blackface from one of its own anchors than it was to the actual wearing of blackface, as we would later find out when the entirety of the news media conspicuously moved on from Virginia Governor—and abortion loving Democrat—Ralph Northam, with his infamous yearbook photo, not to mention Canadian Prime Minister—and avowed leftist—Justin Trudeau, and his multiple dalliances with the shoe polish. Still, NBC remained on the hook for Kelly’s three-year, $69 million contract, and had to pay out when they finally canceled her show, barely one year after it started.
Kelly has remained silent since then, perhaps as a condition of her departure from NBC—but that came to an end earlier this week, when she returned to Fox News to make her first television appearance since she got fired from Today. Fittingly enough, she appeared with Tucker Carlson, whose Tucker Carlson Tonight replaced Kelly’s show The Kelly File in Fox’s 8pm time slot. The interview went exceedingly well, so much that Carlson bumped a taped segment with Dennis Rodman to extend his talk with Kelly. They covered a lot of interesting topics—not least the current turmoil that NBC News faces after the release of Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill, which details how NBC execs allegedly helped cover up Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misdeeds in order to protect Matt Lauer, their own in-house predator. It’s well worth a watch, if you’d like to check it out:
Kelly pulls her punches with NBC just a bit, stopping short of calling out her former employers explicitly—but she does say that NBC needs to hire an independent investigator who can get to the bottom of what really happened. Personally, I’m not so sure how much good that will do—at this point, NBC News has pretty much wrecked its credibility already with its lopsided coverage of the Trump administration, a sickness that has also infected the rest of the news media at large—and whether an independent investigator who is getting paid by NBC would find the company at fault for anything really bad remains a tenuous possibility at best. Still, it’s better than the fig leaf that NBC’s internal investigation has provided. Given that Lauer’s proclivities with women were an open secret at the network, it stretches credulity to claim that NBC News executives were unaware.
As to Kelly’s future, she hints at her desire to get back in the game—and given the ratings that her appearance with Carlson pulled in, she may get that chance sooner than later. I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing it happen—if only to watch her go after NBC with a vengeance. I’m guessing Kelly has a pretty good idea of where the bodies there are buried, and that she’s been waiting for some payback.
Ronan Farrow’s book may well be just the beginning of their problems.
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