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Megyn Kelly Melts Down Over ACORN

Reported by Ellen - March 20, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

I saw three major things happen on America’s Newsroom with Megyn Kelly yesterday, March 19th, and it was pretty exciting stuff. First, a Foxette in the form of Megyn Kelly had an on-air meltdown, and I’m beginning to believe her numerous idiocies lately are serious cries for help. Second, she hosted a guest who had all the pertinent facts in readiness, while she, stony-faced, had about a million “oh shit” moments. Third, I saw someone make her look even more shallow and ridiculous than she did when she challenged Britney Spears to a catfight. (Oh, wait, there’s one more: If the GOP was hoping for a useful mouthpiece at Fox on the whole ACORN-is-corrupt issue, they had a few “oh shit” moments too.) With video.

Kelly opened by gravely informing viewers that Fox News’ nemesis, the community group ACORN, has been enlisted to help with the 2010 census. Stating inaccurately that ACORN has been under investigation in several states for voter registration fraud (correction: a handful of ACORN workers have been under investigation for voter registration fraud), and considering that the census plays a “major role” in how elections play out (what a happy coincidence for the GOP that FOX is working so hard to slam an organization that has a good record of organizing minorities when it's in the GOP's interest to keep minority participation low), Kelly asked, “Does it really make sense for the Bureau to use ACORN?” (Incidentally, the Census Bureau defended ACORN, with Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner telling Fox News, "The Census (Bureau) is a nonpartisan, non-political agency and we're very dedicated to an accurate account . . . We have a lot of quality controls in place to keep any kind of systemic error or fraudulent behavior to affect the counts."

Generously offering ACORN its side of the story (a move she would no doubt later regret), Kelly introduced ACORN'S national spokesman, Scott Levenson. (It should be noted that Mr. Levenson clearly didn’t get the Fox News interview preconditions: Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up.)

Kelly opened her Fair and Balanced interview by saying, “So, you know, a lot of people, a lot of our viewers, they think your group is corrupt, that you’ve been found guilty of fraud in several states and they don’t want you having anything to do with the Census . . . .” (Correction, again: individual workers were found or pleaded guilty, not “you” as in ACORN.)

Levenson, very cordially, responded, “Megyn, please, let’s not, let’s please not repeat the same old lies that we’ve heard from Fox for months . . . Your network for months reported these fears of voter fraud . . . .” With that, the hissing, spitting she-cat lost her feline cool completely. (Side note: Within the first minute of the broadcast, Kelly lied twice and started the downward spiral into full Megyn Meltdown.)

Shrilly, reading from a piece of paper, Kelly said, “Well, 8 workers pleaded guilty . . . You’ve accused us of lying so let me just, let me set the record straight and then you can respond.” She went on to talk about eight ACORN workers in Missouri who pleaded guilty to election fraud, that in Washington State seven workers were indicted, with three pleading guilty. “PLEADED GUILTY,” she stressed. (In Washington State, prosecutors stated that the defendants faked cards as an easy way to get paid, not as an attempt to influence the outcome of elections, and that none of the phony registrations led to illegal voting.

Responding to the accusation of election fraud, and forcing himself to be heard, Levenson said, “So it’s four months after the election, four months have gone by, we haven’t heard about one person voting in that election who wasn’t supposed to vote.”

“So that excuses the registration fraud?” Kelly broke in.

Levenson continued to talk over her: “ . . . You guys created this fear of massive voter fraud and we have no evidence of any voter fraud.”

“Is a guilty plea not evidence enough for you?“ Kelly asked.

Is she really a lawyer? Levenson pointed out, accurately, that talking about voter fraud doesn’t pertain to any of the cases she brought up (because it‘s voter registration fraud.) Stating reasonably that he thought they were actually on the broadcast to talk about the census, Kelly unsheated her claws yet again. “Now you want to get off point because you know I have a point.”

It took cordial Levenson way longer than it would for most of us, but he’d finally had enough, thundering, “No, quite frankly, you don’t have a point . . . Quite frankly, Megyn, you don’t have one . . . case who voted improperly because of our registration, not one. You don‘t have one case where somebody voted who wasn‘t supposed to vote.”

Levenson continued, like a broken record, to put forth facts, and Kelly attempted to pump her meager stats, such as the nine New Mexico ACORN workers who had felony records, one of which included child rape. Holier than thou Kelly, who tried and failed to be heard over Levenson, resorted to nonsense. “Is that what’s gonna happen, you’re going to send child rapists out to conduct the census?”

Is that anything like Fox News letting people arrested on child porn charges be producers?

It took her a (long) while, but Attorney Kelly finally started to figure out that she’d been talking like an uninformed idiot about voter fraud and the issue was really voter registration fraud. In one of many “oh shit” moments, Kelly decided she’d best switch horses: “I see, so because it didn’t translate into actual voter fraud the voter registration fraud is excusable.”

Levenson continued to talk over her. “What is your real fear? For months . . . Voter fraud, voter fraud, voter fraud . . .”

Finally correcting herself, Kelly, flustered, said, “Voter registration fraud.”

Levenson continued to talk over her, “And you don’t even have your facts straight, Megyn, once again.”

Oh, quick, let’s pretend I didn’t get it wrong, she seemed to be thinking, as she repeated emphatically, “Voter registration fraud.”

Pointing out that if someone steals from Wal-Mart, or someone steals from Fox (or if, say, someone commits sexual harassment at Fox or a producer is caught with kiddie porn), “do we say Fox should be attacked?” Levenson also pointed out that in each of the cases she was talking about, ACORN cooperated with prosecutors. “So once again,“ he said, “you don’t even have the facts straight, Megyn.” Levenson continued to rub it in: “You make all these accusations for months about us committing voter fraud and you don’t have one case.”

Kelly valiantly tried to fix an absolute train wreck of a broadcast with more lies, suggesting that they “talk about the fraud that you pleaded guilty to that you want to whitewash . . . .” When Levenson denied that ACORN pled guilty to anything, Kelly insisted desperately, “Yes you did, eight workers just pleaded guilty.”

Again, is she really a lawyer? (Keep in mind that, even by Kelly’s count, the number of ACORN workers indicted or entering guilty pleas are a handful out of 13,000 workers, approximately 0.001%.)

It was like watching a crash in slow motion, both fascinating and horrifying. Finally, after Levenson refused to be drawn into Kelly’s agenda, and continued to repeat facts like a broken record, Kelly snapped, “Do I have to cut your mike?” Levenson replied, “You can cut my mike but that would just show that you don’t want a real exchange of thoughts here, you want to continue the same lies.” Backed into a corner, with Levenson refusing to cooperate with the classic Fox News talk-over-everybody-til-they-shut-up agenda, Kelly literally threw up her hands and said, “You know what, forget it. You know what, I give up. You’re not gonna just talk over me. You’re gonna give answers to my questions or I’m gonna cut your mike. What’s it gonna be?” Threats followed by a second chance, the mark of true desperation.

Finally beginning the Census discussion, Kelly decided there was more than one way to skin a cat. “I want to ask you, Scott, why the viewers should not be concerned when your workers . . . Will be the ones who will now help conduct the U.S. Census.”

Again, fully prepared with facts at his disposal, Levenson pulled out the census form, available on-line, and began reciting exactly what ACORN has been asked to do with regard to the Census. Stating that ACORN has been asked to put information about the Census on its website, Levenson sarcastically noted that “surely Fox can’t be concerned that we’re trying to inform the public in cooperation with the Census” on its website. He went on to explain that ACORN is one of 300 partner organizations (including NAACP and Target) involved in the Census.

With Kelly repeatedly asking, “Would they be going door to door?” Levenson continued to read from the form, responding calmly each time, and denying that door-to-door work is part of the partnering they’ve agreed to. With Kelly practically shrieking, Levenson went on to say the Census would be hiring the workers, not ACORN. Thoroughly rattled, Kelly practically demanded that he put away his form. “Surely Fox wants a clear, open, transparent and accurate Census,” Levenson inquired.

Grasping desperately at any straw, Kelly gave it the old Fox News try (you know the one, if the facts let you down, move on to personal attacks), saying, “I can tell you, the American public doesn’t have faith in ACORN. The polls don’t support it and neither do the repeated indictments, guilty pleas, and investigations.”

Levenson responded in kind: “When Fox continues to lie like you have today you can’t change it.”

Kelly, good to the last word, snapped, “Cut his mike.” Indeed.