While Megyn Kelly is being filleted over her upcoming Alex Jones interview, she has yet to get away from her widely-panned interview with Vladimir Putin. Now, new footage obtained by HuffPost shows Kelly asking a lapdog question that allowed Putin to filibuster with talking points she failed to challenge.
Kelly’s interview with Putin, which was part of her "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" show's debut, got so-so ratings and worse reviews: Vanity Fair described it as a bore, Rolling Stone called it a “lukewarm flop,” and the Los Angeles Times said she had been “outmaneuvered” by Putin.
New footage of the Putin interview obtained by HuffPost shows that in her final question, Kelly all but offered Putin a silver platter to outmaneuver her with. HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali explains why this was so troubling, especially given that Kelly only had 20 minutes with the Russian president:
The last question Kelly asked Putin, which was not aired, was startling in its pandering. “We have been here in St. Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?”
A former CIA Russia analyst who spoke to HuffPost was taken aback by the last question Kelly asked. “I can’t begin to tell you what this did for Putin’s ego, and I wouldn’t put it past the Kremlin to use it for propaganda purposes. Putin’s obsession is, by his definition, making Russia great again. He’s obsessed with the idea that he has returned the country to what he sees as the glory days of the USSR. He feels that since the breakup of the USSR, Russia has too often ceded ground where it shouldn’t have. And he’s obsessed with people seeing him as the one who brought dignity back to Russia.”
This, on top of footage seemingly showing Kelly pandering to Jones raises serious questions about the former Fox News anchor's journalistic capability. Kelly’s interview with the conspiracy-theorist extraordinaire and Donald Trump pal will air tonight but relatives of Sandy Hook victims had threatened to sue (Jones has called the tragedy a hoax) over it even before the pandering clip was released. Kelly has faced other backlash, too.
CNN’s Dylan Byers persuasively argues that much of Kelly’s problems can be blamed on NBC’s decision to rush her out as the next Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer or Oprah Winfrey before Kelly was ready. Byers quotes a “veteran television executive" as saying NBC “made a fundamental mistake” by thinking of Kelly as a “super star.” “What she is is a cable star, and that is a very different solar system,” the executive reportedly said.
That may well be but the question of whether Kelly has what it takes to be the next huge female anchor remains to be seen.
Watch Kelly pander to Putin below, via HuffPost:
Teach NBC to hire any more right-wing hacks from Fox News. An epic fail.