Megyn Kelly recently told the Associated Press that her new show will be different from those of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity because "you're not going to hear what I think." Now that her show is up and running, it appears that while her claim of objectivity might be technically correct, in that she doesn't prefix her comments with the words pertaining to what or how she thinks, her biases are very clear. In validating the claims of an anti-immigrant filmmaker, she said that the comments of a xenophobic veteran were "understandable." In validating the hypocrisy of Allen West, she asked where the "accountability" was for remarks made by Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson. Her show was barely a week old when she took on the issue of public prayer. As she frequently did on her old show, she was able to convey her opinion without stating it. As a primer for Megyn Kelly (and Fox/right wing) propaganda, it was quite instructive.
Fox News, as the mouthpiece for the religious right, is unabashed and unashamed in its support for right wing memes, chief among them the notion of "religious freedom" which, in right wing world, is the liberty to bring denominational prayer into the public square. Such is the case with Town of Greece v Galloway which will be heard by the Supreme Court this month. The case was brought by two women who feel that the prayers before the town meetings, overwhelmingly Christian, violate the Establishment Clause regarding separation of church and state - something the Christian right don't believe in.
On Sunday, October 6th, Fox priest Fr. Jonathan Morris, who provided no real background to the case, was clearly cheerleading for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the town which is appealing a US Circuit Court ruling that the prayers were unconstitutional. Kelly took up the issue several days later with Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and Jordan Lorence from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian defense group representing the town. While Kelly didn't actually express an opinion, her patented propaganda was an indication of what she was thinking.
Megyn Kelly's playbook:
- She set the message immediately with right wing code words: "The US Supreme Court is about to take up one of the biggest religious freedom cases in decades." Note the use of "religious freedom" rather than "First Amendment" or "Establishment Clause" or public prayer.
- She obfuscated the issue: She summarized the central issue as the question of whether you "have the right to open a public meeting with a prayer and if so, must you find religious leaders of all faiths for said prayer even if your town happens to be 90% Christian." The question before the court has nothing to do with the religious composition of the town but rather "whether the court of appeals erred in holding that a legislative prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause notwithstanding the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers or forbidden exploitation of the prayer opportunity." The mention of the "90% Christian was a not so subtle iteration of the standard Fox persecuted Christian meme.
- She tried to make the other side look unreasonable: In framing her question to Boston, she emphasized how the town is mostly Christian and they had invited other denominations to offer prayers. In other words, the Christian majority were being nice to the heathens.
- She ignored the facts: Ignoring Boston's mention of the prevalence of Christian prayer, she told Lorence that there were other religions represented. Fact - from 1999 through 2007, all the prayers were Christian.
- She mocked the other side: She laughed and said "they had a Wiccan priestess, I mean how diverse did they have to go?"
- Kelly repeated the unreasonableness of the other side: She asked Boston what the town is supposed to do if they're 90% Christian and whether they have to go outside the town to find people. Notice the repitition of the Christian number.
- She badgered the other side's witness: When Boston said that the town has the option not to pray, she asked twice "are you arguing that prayer is unconstitutional?"
- She made the right wing argument: She referenced how there is prayer before sessions of congress.
- She laughed at the other side: She asked whom the Wiccan priestess prayed to. When Lorence said Apollo, she laughed and ended the segment.
In taking a page from MSNBC's Ed Schultz's "Pretenders" segment, all I have to say is that if Megyn Kelly doesn't think we don't hear what she thinks, she can keep on pretending!