Megyn Kelly shows that Fox News can be “Fair and Balanced.”
Fox News has the largest cable news audience in the country. It has changed the landscape for television political reporting – some ways for the better, some not.
With its relentless advocacy of conservative candidates, Fox News often, shall we say, “blurs” the line between coverage and commentary until it can be difficult to tell the difference. But Fox also provided an oasis for an audience that felt it wasn’t getting a fair shake from mainstream news outlets, and thus became a powerful opinion-shaping force.
That is why the dust-up this week between Fox News superstar Megyn Kelly and former House speaker Newt Gingrich is such big news. After Gingrich complained that Kelly, along with other media, had made too much out of allegations of sexual misconduct by Donald Trump, she pushed back.
That set off a sharp exchange, starting with a jab from Gingrich that Kelly was “fascinated by sex” at the expense of public policy.
Kelly shot back, “You know what Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office and I think the American voters would like to know …”
Gingrich cut her off and turned the conversation to Bill Clinton. Fox’s mantra of “fair and balanced” only goes so far.
Must read: FBI to investigate Clinton emails again.
Must read: Clinton wants Comey to show the new evidence
Trump later praised Gingrich, and it’s worth noting that earlier this month another Fox News star, Sean Hannity, suggested Kelly was backing Hillary Clinton. “Clearly, you support her,” he tweeted.
Kelly’s contract is up soon, but if she leaves Fox News she doesn’t worry about landing a new gig. Her popularity overall likely has never been higher. But can Fox afford to let her go, considering the millions the network had to pay after several female employees came forward with allegations of sexual harassment by former CEO Roger Ailes?
How would it look to have Kelly leave in the wake of all that?
By using her considerable platform and voice, Kelly has reminded viewers that groping, demeaning and essentially treating women as objects is neither conservative nor liberal. She incurred Trump’s wrath for that aggressive line of questioning during a primary debate and she hasn’t backed down.
It is nothing to do with political ideology and everything to do with what’s right or wrong.
Gingrich and Republicans love to bring up Bill Clinton’s shameful past, and that’s fine – even though he isn’t on the ballot. But then the allegations against Trump, who is on the ballot, are basically dismissed under the heading “Boys Will Be Boys.”
Where is the real obsession here?
With Fox’s overall approach, that’s obvious. Anything that hurts the Clintons is good.
With Megyn Kelly, the obsession is showing women can fight back against the sexist stereotypes put forth by Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and, yes, the network that employs her.
I’ll put that another way, in words Fox News can understand. What Kelly is doing is both fair and balanced. The network would do well to listen.
Have you listened to the latest edition of The Politically Incorrect Podcast? Listen to Joe Henderson, Tom Jackson and Jim Williams talk all things politics.