Megyn Kelly may have started her new morning show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” but her old racial animosity is still with her. In an Elle interview out today, Kelly praised four black female police chiefs in words reminiscent of Bill O’Reilly’s surprise that black diners at a restaurant in Harlem were so well behaved.
Like O’Reilly, Kelly obviously meant well. But, as my former blog colleague said about O’Reilly, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The Elle article is called, “Megyn Kelly Doesn’t Want To Be Political.” It’s obviously meant to promote a “new” Megyn Kelly, one who has left the Fox News vixen behind. In fact, she wants you to think she was never really that person:
I had been thinking for years that this just wasn't what I wanted to do. I was never raised political. My parents never talked to me about politics. I'm interested in it as a newsperson. In the same way I don't want to talk about hurricanes for an hour a night, five nights a week, 52 weeks a year, I don't want to talk about politics that much either. I wanted a more balanced diet. That was something I had when I first became an anchor with [Bill] Hemmer in the morning, when I had my own show, America Live, in the afternoon. It wasn't until I got to primetime that that changed. Even at the beginning of my primetime tenure, it wasn't all political. We did a lot of legal debates. We did cultural debates. Since the 2016 election started, cable news—not just Fox, not just primetime—has become almost entirely political.
For the record, I believe Kelly when she says she is not, by nature, a political animal. Long before Kelly left Fox, I wrote that I thought she was unhappy with what she was doing there. But that does not negate how she willingly played the role of right-wing propagandist, even as she created her memorable “Megyn Moments” of seeming independence. That was well before the 2016 campaign.
In the show’s promo, you talk about bringing the country together. What does that mean to you?
I'll give you an example. The first week we're on, we're going to air a story about four African-American female police chiefs. Guess what percentage of police chiefs in the country are women? Two percent, never mind African-American women. These women have a very interesting perspective...about the role of police and how we get out of this mess we're in.
What’s interesting...is they're very open about their own struggles as African-American women and as women in law enforcement. They don't complain. They're not looking for anybody's sympathy. Their story makes you want to stand up and cheer. That's the kind of messaging I'm looking to offer on the show, and the kind of thing I'm looking to offer women, or anybody watching, to make them feel like they too could be empowered. I feel unified in a way I didn't expect to. I might not have liked law enforcement, but suddenly I'm open-minded. We're going to have a lot of fun in the morning, but it's not going to be all rainbows and unicorns.
Kelly could have marveled at the women’s grit, their ability to thread the needle of working in law enforcement at a time when there is so much concern about social justice or even how they manage to stay optimistic or hopeful or whatever despite spending so much time with criminals. Instead, what Kelly thinks “makes you want to stand up and cheer” is that the women are not grievance mongers.
I might have given Kelly a break if she didn’t have such a long record of racial resentment.
Megyn Kelly Today got poor reviews today. The Washington Post was especially scathing. I’ll give Kelly a little more time before coming to my own conclusion. But I have to admit, I don’t see her fitting into this format.
Meanwhile, check out Media Matters’ mashup of Kelly’s long history of hate below.