“Fair and Balanced” Megyn Kelly Defends Calling Obama A Socialist Even If It’s Not True
Reported by Ellen - April 2, 2010 -
Megyn Kelly’s show, America Live, is supposed to be part of Fox News’ news lineup, as opposed to the opinion shows that Fox sneers the "average consumer" differentiates. But Kelly was anything but fair and balanced as she hotly defended those who call President Obama a socialist while refusing to consider whether he actually fit the definition. She also immediately discounted liberal Alan Colmes’ allegation that racism underlies much of the tea party movement’s rhetoric and then took it upon herself to argue that those charges were merely a sinister tactic used by the left to smear the tea partiers. I invite anyone from Fox News to explain how this segment was not an example of outright bias by a supposedly neutral news host. Colmes did a top notch, top dog kind of job confronting Kelly with the racist undertones of the Tea Party. Although she tried to raise a ruckus of Democratic demonization by distraction, Kelly was never able to refute a single one of his contentions. With video.
It's clear even from the title Fox News gave the video, “Is the Left Going too Far?” that the discussion was little more than another pretext to inflame their audience rather than to quell any tensions in the country. For extra divisiveness credit, Fox and Kelly hyped the racial angle. Kelly played a clip of two African American Congresspeople criticizing the Tea Party tactics, including Rep. Charles Rangel saying the tea party protesters looked and sounded just like those who attacked the civil rights movement in the south.
Kelly asked, “Are they right or are they going too far?” She meant the Democrats, of course, not the Tea Partiers. Instead of doing any real investigation to answer her own question, Kelly brought on Democrat and Fox News contributor Alan Colmes to turn the segment into political theater.
“Did they go too far?” Kelly repeated her question to Colmes with a tone that indicated she thought they had.
Colmes didn’t mince his words. “At the core of a lot of the anti-Obama sentiment happens to be racism.” He pointed to the allegations that Obama was born in Africa or that he’s really a secret Muslim. “At the core of that very idea is implicit racism. People aren’t going to say they’re racists, but you keep going on, ‘He’s a Muslim. He wasn’t born here. He’s from Africa.’ When did we ever question whether a president was really an American before?”
Colmes wisely went on to reframe the issue by saying, “This is a bad imagery for these tea partiers. And rather than trying to show equivalency on the left…” (a meme he surely knew was coming as would anyone who has spent more than 60 seconds watching Fox News the last few weeks). Colmes added, “What the right wing ought to be doing is just denouncing this.”
A truly neutral, objective or “fair and balanced” interviewer would have probed to find out more about what Colmes meant and why. But Kelly started to attack him – with the exact effort to show equivalency Colmes had anticipated. “Do you denounce the Code Pink?” Kelly was referring to Code Pink’s attempt to make a citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove.
Colmes said he did not agree with their tactics but he quickly added, “You know, the right wing always dredges up Code Pink… as if there’s some kind of equivalency between this one group and all these tea partiers who like to talk about how big they are.”
Kelly showed a feistiness I’ve not seen her show with right-wing guests. She exclaimed, “We saw Republicans and tea party activists say, ‘We don’t stand by those people who made those comments, if in fact they made those comments. ‘Cause there was a question about it. And that’s not what we stand for.’ Why isn’t that statement just as good as your statement?”
Colmes answered, “I don’t believe I’ve heard the extent that what we should be hearing, that they don’t stand for that… Unfortunately, you’ve had a number of leaders encouraging these tea party members by going out on the balcony of the Congress when they passed health care and... When you have people like John Boehner saying, ‘This is Armageddon,’ when you have people like Michele Bachmann saying, ‘He’s a post-American president’ or ‘He’s anti-American,’ you’re inflaming these people to be more angry and, hopefully, not violent, but certainly tending toward…”
Kelly interrupted, to ask whether the Republican leaders were really "inflaming" or "validating“ "feelings that are already there, Alan?”
Colmes continued by shifting the framing again. “You’re inflaming them when you mischaracterize what Obama is doing as socialism, when there’s no government takeover.”
“It’s not socialism!” Colmes insisted. “Socialism is the takeover of …means of production by the state. That’s not going on.” (Note: Colmes is correct.
Kelly was really inflamed now. “Alan, you know that is a short-form way of saying, ‘Government is butting its way in too many aspects of our lives.’”
Colmes continued, “No, if you’re going to use words like socialism or you put up a sign that compares Obama to Hitler or to Lenin or to Stalin, that is inaccurate. That’s not an opinion. That is political inaccuracy.”
Kelly didn’t care about the facts. Apparently, she didn’t care about seeming to be objective just then, either. So, as is the norm on Fox, she blamed Obama for the GOP error. “It started with President Obama saying he believes we should spread the wealth around to Joe the Plumber. And then he began to govern in a way that did exactly that. That is why people accuse him of socialism.” Then, perhaps thinking she could reclaim her stance of neutrality, she said laughably, “Listen, I’m not saying it’s right or wrong.”
Colmes smiled like the cat who caught the canary. “What’s the definition of socialism?”
“I’m not saying it’s right or wrong,” Kelly repeated disingenuously, strongly suggesting she knew darned well it wasn’t right.
Then Kelly played the race card. “Why do they have to be denounced as racists?” Kelly demanded.
Colmes reiterated, “I want to be very clear. I don’t think the majority are racists. I think at the core, you’ve got racism. Too many of them are racist. And if you’re gonna keep talking about the guy being a Muslim or…”
Once again, Kelly refused to probe what Colmes meant and, instead, interrupted him to demonize Democrats. “That is such an incendiary charge!” she sniped.
Colmes stood his ground. “When has a white president ever been accused of being un-American? …Is Michele Bachmann accurate when she says (Obama’s) un-American? Is that an accurate statement? And she’s part of the tea party movement. And she’s inflaming some of these people. Is that accurate to say? The president ‘s un-American?”
Kelly never answered.
I wish Colmes had insisted that she answer. But really, he did a far better job than most of the professional Democrats who appear on Fox News.