Benjamin Netanyahu visited The Kelly File last night where host Megyn Kelly took a few stabs at playing the “straight news anchor” but spent most of the time letting viewers know that Netanyahu (R-Israel) is one of Fox’s own.
Kelly signaled which side she was on right in her introduction:
Breaking tonight: Tensions rising tonight between the United States and the one country in the Middle East that has been our strongest and most important ally. …For the last 24 hours, we have seen a mounting series of attacks by Obama administration officials on the newly re-elected leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
…Now it is no secret that these two leaders have not always seen eye to eye. Still, the American/Israeli relationship is critical for both sides, which makes it all the more perplexing that after the news broke this morning, from the interview you are about to see, as well as from other public remarks Mr. Netanyahu made today, the White House rejected an apparent olive branch.
I’ve previously written about Megyn Kelly’s disingenuous, YouTube-friendly “Megyn moments,” as The New York Times glowingly characterized them. They seem to show an independence from Fox News’ Republican agenda but, in reality, they are little more than “fair and balanced” window dressing for a far more substantial bias. That’s exactly what happened here: a few seemingly tough questions (with no follow-up challenges) with softballs and winks to her audience the rest of the time.
Kelly’s first question to Netanyahu feigned scrutiny:
KELLY: In 2009, you said you supported a peace deal that would recognize the Palestinian state but the day before Tuesday’s election, you completely reversed that. Why?
Netanyahu claimed he didn’t retract anything he said in 2009. “I said that the conditions for that today are not achievable,” he told Kelly. But the day before the election, he responded to the question, “If you are prime minister, a Palestinian state will not be established,” by saying, “Correct.”
Netanyahu also told Kelly, “Right now, we have to get the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table, break their pact with Hamas and accept the idea of a Jewish state and I think that’s what the international community should be focused on.”
In her interview with Netanyahu earlier, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell pressed Netanyahu on his shift. “You were re-elected on a mandate against a two-state solution,” she noted. She also asked “at what cost” he had won.
But there was no such skepticism from “straight news anchor” Kelly. She jumped right to suggesting that President Obama is the one causing unwarranted problems between the U.S. and Israel.
KELLY: In the wake of your statements earlier in the week, however, President Obama, he apparently sees a difference, because he’s now reportedly saying that he sees no path to a peace agreement and is threatening to abandon Israel at the United Nations, which would reverse decades of history. What would that mean for Israel?
Kelly’s next question was about some reported details of a nuclear deal with Iran: “Are we conceding too much?” she asked.
She did follow up by suggesting that Israel’s demands for Iran were unrealistic. But she also addressed Netanyahu’s pre-election comments urging his supporters to vote because Arabs would be voting “in droves” in the mildest way. “Some called that racist,” she said, making it clear she was not personally making any objection. “The White House came out and said that you were divisive and that you tried to marginalize Arab Israelis. Do you regret those comments?”
No, he didn’t. But rather than question Netanyahu's incendiary contention or his claim that his goal was to counter foreign money bent on defeating him, Kelly harped on a current Fox meme, accusing the Obama administration of meddling. “American money?” she asked. “There was a question about whether America worked against you, by President Obama and the White House in the election, do you think that happened?”
Netanyahu indicated he thought so but quickly said he was “looking forward.” He reiterated that he is the prime minister of everyone, whether they voted for him or not. Kelly said sympathetically, “understood.”
Finally, she asked, “What does it mean to you personally to wake up each day knowing that Israel’s enemies stated goal is to destroy the people and the country that you love?”
Then she plastered a reverential expression on her face and allowed Netanyahu to give a pitch for his hawkish platform for the last minute and a half without interruption.
Watch it below, from last night’s The Kelly File. Underneath, for comparison, is Andrea Mitchell’s interview earlier the same day.
Andrea Mitchell, for crying out loud, is a Jew and not a screaming liberal by any means, and she did a really hard-hitting interview with Dear Bibi. He’s so insanely oily, he can beat any interviewer, but still, major kudos to Mitchell.