Last night the newest primetime attraction on the Fox News Channel ventured off the reservation to hype her program on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In the process Megyn Kelly delivered some of the most unintentionally funny perversions of reality you can imagine.
From the outset, the interview was a fluff piece designed to promote Kelly and her new role as a primetime anchor at Fox News. But the conversation devolved into the absurd when Leno started to ask a modestly interesting question, but swerved midway through and turned it into an open-ended (and false) compliment.
Leno: People assume that if you’re on Fox News, just as they do if you’re on MSNBC, you have a certain bias. How do you deal with…you seem pretty straight down the line.
Kelly: I am, thank you. I’m a straight news anchor. I’m not one of the opinion hosts at Fox. But I always laugh because I’ll have a conservative pull me aside and say “I love your conservative principles,” and I’ll say “You assume too much.” And then the liberals will pull me aside and say, “I know you’re one of us,” and I’ll say, “You assume too much.” But I always say that if you assume that I’m this conservative operative, ask Karl Rove if that’s true.
It’s a pretty safe bet that, if challenged, Kelly could not produce a single liberal that ever claimed that she is one of them. It was just a line that Kelly used to feign balance. The same is true of her reference to Karl Rove. Kelly was likely harking back to the incident on election night November 2012, when Rove refused to concede defeat. But Kelly’s performance did nothing to refute Rove’s conservatism, just his obstinance in light of the polling results. Rove certainly regards Kelly as a reliable conservative and an ideological ally. She has made him a frequent guest despite his role as one of the most prolific fundraisers for the GOP, which she never bothers to disclose to her audience.
However, the real whopper of the evening was Kelly’s assertion that she’s a “straight news anchor” and “not one of the opinion hosts on Fox” Kelly has been a rabid right-winger for as long as she has had a perch at the painfully conservative network. She rudely lambastes Democratic guests and has pushed numerous fallacious stories aimed at discrediting liberals and progressive policy. In fact, her editorial bias generally produces little more than partisan tripe and manufactured outrages that have little basis in fact. For example, her near-obsession with the irrelevant New Black Panther Party was a months long excursion into fantasy. She was also one Fox’s most virulent proponents of the phoney IRS/Tea Party affair. And her stubborn attachment to a trumped up Benghazi scandal wasted hundreds of hours of valuable airtime. And then there were these crackpot diversions:
- Kelly defended a criminal anti-Islam filmmaker as a “patsy” of the Obama administration.
- Kelly asserted that Americans have “gotta get a little squeamish” about the prospect of being killed by drones.
- Kelly told her colleague Bill O’Reilly that pepper spray used against student protesters was just “a food product, essentially.”
- Kelly moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts” that were cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release.
- Kelly featured a disreputable reporter with a history of violence (who was later arrested for sexually assaulting a four year old girl) in her frequent attacks on the funders of the Islamic Center that Fox derisively referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
- Kelly misrepresented the results of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll to argue that Democrats are defying the will of the people.
- Kelly helped to cover up the extra-marital affair of GOP senator John Ensign and failed to disclose her personal involvement in the story.
These are not the sort of stories attributed to a straight shooting, non-opinionated journalist. It is this record of partisan propagandizing that led to my article three years ago asking “Is Megyn Kelly Worse Than Glenn Beck?” More recently Media Matters conducted a survey of Kelly’s new primetime program and found that she “has hosted conservatives (56%) significantly more often than progressives (18%) and has surpassed even Fox’s Hannity in its divide between guests on the left and right.”
For Kelly to go on the Tonight Show and tell Jay Leno that she’s a straight news anchor is a blatant and deliberate lie. There is no question about her political leanings. She would not have been hired by Roger Ailes if she were anything but a rightist tool and a willing mouthpiece for the conservative agenda that Ailes, and his boss Rupert Murdoch, are peddling. And anyone who falls for her dishonest self-appraisal is terminally naive (I’m lookin at you Leno).