The new Megyn Kelly and new Megyn Kelly show are both…confusing

Megyn Kelly was a Fox News contributor and sometimes-host for many years before getting her own primetime show on the network titled The Kelly File, which was very good. When she announced she would be leaving Fox News for a new hosting gig at NBC, it annoyed a lot of her fans because they felt abandoned and that Kelly had used Fox and it’s conservative viewer base to gain fame and fortune and then use that popularity as leverage to leave that network and that base and go to a rival mainstream source.

As a media observer, I thought there was definitely an element of “you’re supposed to dance with the one that brung you” to her departure, but also empathized with the move as she seemed to be increasingly out of place at Fox News in the era of Trump and while I personally saw that as an opportunity for her to take her show in more of a personal-story and investigative-reporting angle and less of the “news of the day” interviews and commentary – I could understand her wanting to take another opportunity with another network. While Fox was a good fit for her, I could imagine Kelly breaking big stories and see her bring her center-right feminist anti-Trumpism methodical interrogations to both a wider set of interview targets than would be willing to go on a Fox News show (cowards), and a wider audience than just the type that is willing to tune into the Fox News Channel for news and commentary. Especially of interest to me would be the mirror-image of her previous life she would be displaying at NBC – because at Fox News she was only regarded as conservative because that’s the general slant of the network at large, but Kelly in particular showed no reverence to conservative ideology, Republican party politics, or any such movement beliefs.

In other words: at Fox News, Megyn Kelly was an outsider voice providing the logic and prosecutorial deconstructions of things that don’t make any sense that the networks conservatives loved, while slipping in factual corrections, challenges to right-wing dogma, and a female-centric advocacy angle the networks viewers were open to but not necessarily clamoring for and thus got in their news diet stealth style like a dog eating its medicine wrapped in a slice of cheese.
At NBC, she would be an outsider voice providing the reverse: at a network with typically left-wing reporting choice and editorial coverage bias, Kelly would largely fit in in most thesis’ and tone, while slipping in factual corrections, challenges to those left-wing dogmas, and a female-centric voice for more reason based arguments than is present in the mostly emotionally driven Left. It would be interesting, I thought, to see Megyn deconstruct things like “no, it’s not okay to ‘punch Nazi’s” or gently remind viewers that Trump’s handling of recent hurricanes hasn’t been the neglectful “let them all drown” policy that many of his critics are opportunistically decrying.

Well, anyway – Never got to see any of that, because that’s not what either Megyn Kelly wanted or what NBC wanted for her.

Megyn debuted on NBC on Sunday nights with a show called Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. It wasn’t very bad, but it wasn’t very good. Mostly it was just nothing. Nothing in the way of “nothing special” and “not a game changer” or even a dial mover in any way. She interviewed Putin. Which was nice for her I guess but the results weren’t anything big for news media consumers and didn’t get any love from news media critics. The observations in this article by John Ziegler were all much more interesting than the actual interview.

The only other interview I saw from this show was a Q&A with comedian Ricky Gervais which just kept had me thinking “why?…”. I like Ricky and I like Megyn and I don’t hate this interview, but… what’s the point? It was good for a podcast, but out-of-place as a Sunday Night news magazine item that appeared to be surrounded by other equally ho-hum items instead of being the moment of relief among other important or heavy toned topics.

Then Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly ended and Today with Megyn Kelly began. Today with Megyn Kelly took everything I expected from Kelly’s next chapter of life and was confused at not seeing in the Sunday Night and tripled down on it in this iteration…

“The truth is, I am kind of done with politics for now,” she declared in the inaugural episode of her Today show. and sure enough, the show was anything-related-to-news free.

I watched a couple clips and quickly thought “I miss the old Megyn Kelly“….

Rather than politics, she explained, her new show would focus on, well, emotions. “Have a laugh with us, a smile, sometimes a tear, and maybe a little hope to start your day,” she said. “Some fun! That’s what we want to be doing. Some fun.”

In one segment, she had a fashion expert convince women that they could, indeed, pull off high-waisted pants. In another, she made roast chicken. When the actor Russell Brand — who, in better days, might have been a worthy political adversary — confessed that he worries that he doesn’t look good enough and that his body isn’t good enough, she interrupted him. “You do. It is.”

It was the antithesis of the woman who was once willing to give up the support of her conservative audience to speak truth to power. The former Megyn Kelly came to slay, whether you liked it or not. The new Megyn Kelly is “so excited — so excited” and “also a little nervous; bear with me, please!” With every gesture, every word, every look, the new Megyn Kelly seems to be trying to convey one thing: Like me.

This was disappointing to me because the Megyn Kelly that was popular was not so because she was so “likeable” definitely not because she cared if you liked her – she was popular because she commanded respect through professional execution of prosecutorial talent. It is what made her goofier lighter moments on Fox so much more endearing and human – because they were coming from a professional. Ironically, this excited and emotion driven persona seems so…less human.

In another post, the previously cited John Ziegler voices the same reactions and concerns as I thought about the new show, although doing so under a harsher headline than I would choose myself that asks “So, Was the Old Megyn Kelly a Fraud, or is this New Version the Phony?“…

I get that humans can sometimes evolve and that as a media personality you have to remold yourself to fit the nature of the target audience. But what has happened with Megyn Kelly makes some of the transformations of Madonna or Lady Gaga’s seem rather tame by comparison.

The promotional lead up to Monday’s first show set a new standard for desperation. Each promo almost literally exuded estrogen in a frantic, obviously focused-grouped, attempt to show stay-at-home moms just how much Kelly is like them. The message seemed to be, “See, she’s rich, beautiful, famous, got attacked by our president, has kids and lady parts… just like you!”

The over-the-top efforts of the rest of the NBC Today Show staff to welcome her to their TV family have been so contrived as to make them appeared provoked by serious threats from the corporate suits who overpaid for Kelly’s services and are now very invested in trying to salvage this possibly doomed maneuver. However, it all feels like they are trying too hard to sell fancy cat food to a public which usually has an uncanny ability to smell inauthenticity, and may very well simply turn up its collective nose.

In fact, lack of genuineness seems to be biggest problem Kelly’s new show has. I doubt many of her old fans from Fox News will find her complete shedding of, and overt disdain for, her former persona and subject manner appealing. Nor will they find her attempt to be the combination of Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres (wrapped in the package of a pretty, straight, white woman) appealing. I also doubt the new “MSM” viewers are likely to completely buy this new, super soft, version of her any more than MSNBC loyalists took to Trump supporter Greta Van Susteren (who lasted only a few months there).

Roger Ailes was right about Megyn Kelly, why was Megyn Kelly wrong about Megyn Kelly? From the NY Times piece I quoted earlier:

Even as he was commenting on her bra choices, Roger Ailes himself was giving Ms. Kelly savvy advice that was, in a way, progressive. As she notes in her book, Mr. Ailes told her at the beginning of her career “to not try so hard to be perfect” and to show “who I really am.” Who she really was turned out to be smart, aggressive and impossibly quick. A former lawyer, she developed an adversarial approach that made her something of an anomaly among talk show hosts: Whether she was sparring with Anthony Weiner over President Barack Obama’s tax policy or with Donna Brazile over the Democratic National Committee’s hacked emails, Megyn Kelly was not there to make friends.

Why Gretchen Carlson is probably going to hell

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with the network for $20 Million over a single comment she decided she didn’t like and a nebulous tone with her morning show co-host she found to be displeasing to her. The lawsuit cost the networks founder and Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes, the accused party by Carlsons lawsuit, to have to resign from his position and the company.

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Gretchen Carlson seems like a nice Christian woman so it is my hope that there is more to this story that for some reason her and her lawyers decided to keep secret from their public filings because otherwise she is a horrible human being that almost surely is going to hell. Whatever anyone thinks of Fox News or of Roger Ailes and regardless of whether he is a nice guy or a jerk (I have no idea so I have no non-profession-related opinion on him), his deposition from the network he built over Carlsons stated accusation is a reprehensible mortal sin and extreme miscarriage of social justice.

When I first heard of the lawsuit I erroneously assumed that Carlson was alleging something that actually happened… Nope… The lawsuit makes no claim of Carlson being touched, sexually propositioned, or harassed in any way whatsoever. This made it odd that she received $20 Million in a settlement of a “sexual harassment” lawsuit when no harassment, sexual or otherwise, was even alleged. Instead, the allegation in the lawsuit that falsely masquerade as being of “sexual harassment” (bringing shame to her and her lawyers for cheapening the serious charge and term) is just one big conspiracy theory based on one alleged inappropriate comment her boss Roger Ailes allegedly made, one alleged time, 9 months before her contract wasn’t renewed at Fox…

The single comment in question was Ailes allegedly saying to her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.” That’s it. and that ain’t harassment. That comment might be rude, it’s almost surely not wise, and it might even be wildly inappropriate – but it ain’t “harassment”, it isn’t a demand or threat, and it for damn sure isn’t worth $2 let alone $20 million. To think otherwise, you have to believe that that sentence is so damaging to ones ears and psychological stability that they would pay 20 million dollars in order to not have it said towards them. Since no one anywhere, ever would ever think that – Carlsons pay day becomes not a vindication of an abused woman who wouldn’t take crap from a lecherous corporate jerk abusing his power but rather a scam that ruined someones livelihood for the personal gain and obscene enrichment of an individual who wasn’t harmed and suffered no damages to justify such a payout. Don’t Christians believe that to be a sin?…

Of course, Carlson didn’t bring the lawsuit over that one sentence alone – she claimed the lawsuit was justified because her contract with Fox News Channel was not renewed this past June and she says that lack of renewal was because of Aile’s comment and the implications she drew from it (evidently only 9 months later and not at the time) that she was fired. She doesn’t specify exactly what implication she drew from the alleged comment but presumably she interpreted “we should have had a sexual relationship years ago” to mean “if you don’t have sex with me, I will fire you in 9 months if your ratings do poorly”. Or maybe “even if your ratings AREN’T a huge disappointment to the network”?. Idk. But a good way to avoid the gray area in this situation would have been for Ailes to have not made the comment and for Carlson to have been a better on-air Talent because then the contract renewal wouldn’t have poor ratings or a verbalized sentiment that “we should have boned back in the day” as the culprit.

Unfortunately for Carlsons eternal soul, the evidence supports the Roger Ailes side and depicts her to be a vindictive greedy lying liar. Ailes claims that she was let go because her “disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup” and that the lawsuit was just petty retaliation for FNC not taking on her drag. Carlson claims that her ratings were great and the real reason she was fired was in retaliation for rebuffing her boss’ sexual advances.

Okay then… lets examine those claims…

RATINGS
Carlsons lawsuit claims that she was fired from FNC despite her show doing well in the ratings in contrast to Ailes saying that her ratings were “disappointing”. The reality? Her ratings were in fact disappointing. Her show, The Real Story, didn’t completely flop by every standard – just by the standards of the network she was employed by – i.e. – her shows performance disappointing. My personal take on it was that it was one of the weakest most dull pieces of programming that Fox News had to offer, but my opinion doesn’t matter – the collective’s does. Well, SURPRISE – the collective agreed with me: Gretchen Carlsons show trailed nearly all of Fox News Channels other programming. Carlson tried to spin this as a good thing because the time slot improved over last year, but so did all of cable news because it is an election year. Also don’t forget the part where regardless of the time slot improving along with the rest of the network and the rest of all cable news – her show remained one of the least watched shows on the whole network… Fox is held to a higher standard with its #1 position in the cable wars and it shouldn’t be a surprise when the weakest link is excised from the chain. Further, Carlson didn’t just lose to her above-average performers at her own network, but she actually lost to the competition. “CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin” beat “The Real Story” by 2% in the eminently important 25 to 54-year-old demographic in June (the month Carlson was not renewed).

SEXUAL HARASSMENT
As stated above, Gretchen Carlson filed her lawsuit over losing a show that was one of the worst rated on her network and lost to the competition in the key financial demo due to a conspiracy theory and unspecified tone of not being appreciated (she claims, because she is a woman). Her entire case against Ailes was the “we should have had a sexual relationship years ago” line that she found so wildly distasteful and offensive that she… continued working for him, thanked him in her book for all he’s done for her, and wrote him hand written notes with smiley faces thanking him for his support and asking to be put on the air in prime time more – which Ailes granted her, presumably without any sexual requirements.

Gretchen Carlson further alleges that her co-host Steve Doocy wasn’t nice to her, or something. In what sounds like an entitled 7th graders attempt to get a teacher to reprimand a boy she doesn’t think is giving her the attention she deserves, Carlson alleges her Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy of “attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.” Notice there is no actual allegation – just nebulous whining with no example to support the claim whatsoever. Not even a single quote of Steve Doocy ever saying anything that would even hint at anything resembling the sentiment she alleges (“blonde female prop” are her and her lawyers words, not anything Doocy is alleged to have ever said. Sounds like a personal self-worth issue to me). Just a completely irresponsible unsupported smear.

If Carlson really thought that Roger Ailes was demanding that she have sex with him to keep her job, why did she stay at that job? If Carlson thought that her cohost Steve Doocy didn’t respect her then why didn’t she ever bring it up with him? and if she thought that she was being treated in a sexist fashion towards Doocy off-air, why did she think it was okay to treat him in a sexist fashion ON-air, including the time she made small-penis and erectile dysfunction jokes about him in a segment on Fox & Friends in where she surprise gifted him “Turkish Viagra”?

CONCLUSION (HOW SHE GOT AWAY WITH IT)
Given the evidence, and lack thereof of anything being alleged, you might be asking “how the hell did this phony get away with a $20 million settlement and why did Roger Ailes have to leave his position at the network in seeming disgrace?”…

Because of the bad press and damage to the company. I’ll once again note the possibility that an internal investigation found something improper that Carlson didn’t even allege in her legal filings and by pure coincidence Ailes got caught Al Capone style in this mess and deserved the outsting – but from the available public evidence, it merely looks like Gretchen Carlson complained publicly and loudly (and legally) about things entirely un-complaint-worthy (as evidenced by her own action at the time and afterward) and put the company in a situation where they had to either suffer millions of dollars worth of bad publicity in an election year when everything else is otherwise going great only to spend tens of millions in a legal battle that some idiot judge might actually award against them anyway – OR – usher Ailes out and pay off Carlson $20million for no reason other than she blackmailed the company for it. Remember: she alleges no harassment, no physical contact, no improper solicitation, and no evidence to support unjustified non-renewal of her crappy show on the network. Her accusations amount entirely to (paraphrasing) “Roger Ailes [whom I had a great relationship with, was friendly with, wrote hand written smiley notes to, and publicly thanked for giving me great opportunities] said a crass remark one time and then 9 months later when my show lost to the competing one on CNN in the ratings and did so poorly that it drug down the rest of the shows around me, my contract wasn’t renewed. Also, another on-air talent, Steve Doocey, didn’t appear to respect me very much. Give me $20 million dollars because I’m a victim now”.

People, me included, typically think that if a settlement like that takes place and the person in question resigned from their position, they must have been wildly guilty – and i’m shamed to even add the caveat (unsupported by any current evidence available) that that may be exactly the case for all I know – because “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.

Know where there’s also allegedly a lot of fire? In hell, where vindictive liars who make tens of millions of dollars off of fabricating grievances to assassinate peoples characters and end their careers in revenge for their own professional failures.

Piling on “the Murdoch Press”

As investigations against News Corp. get rolling in the U.K. and possibly the U.S. over e-mail and phone hacking, critics of CEO Rupert Murdoch have been trying hard with the lengths they’re going to to try and make this an America relevant scandal to rock the ages and sink the Murdoch empire. Instead of letting it play out to find out who the bad guys in this situation are, I have been seeing tons of blog and press from Murdochs competitors make that decision.

Mostly it’s just silly grasping at straws. Like this video was posted by the increasingly disappointing ThinkProgress.org with the headline “FLASHBACK: Rupert Murdoch Smacks Down Fox News Host For Bringing Up Hacking Scandal”. I fell for the bait thinking that I was in for a treat with something juicy. What kind of twitchy body language of annoyance or anger would Murdoch show as he told one of his employees to shut up and fall in line? What degrading “don’t forget your place here, boy” type of slam was I in for?

MURDOCH: I’m not talking about that issue at all today, I’m sorry.

and thats it… The dude essentially said “no comment” and Lee Fang writing at Think Progress just made up an alternate reality over it.

VARNEY: The story that is really buzzing all around the country and certainly here in New York is that the News of the World, a News Corporation Newspaper in Britain, used–

MURDOCH: I’m not talking about that issue at all today, I’m sorry.

VARNEY: Okay. No worries, Mr. Chairman that’s fine with me!

Murdoch: I’m too far removed out of here.

Isn’t lying in journalism – even if you don’t like the person or thing you’re lying about – bad journalism? Shouldn’t people who criticize Murdochs publications for doing that, maybe…not do that themselves? It’s also amusing that the beef against Newscorp publications is that they’re allegedly fake news (“Faux News” is an old meme), yet this whole scandal is about Newscorp being so dedicated to reporting news that employees may have illegally hacked into politicians and crime victims phones.

Fox News Watch, a weekend show on the Fox News Channel that discusses media reaction to news items sums up the details of the scandal before discussing here:

Outrage over the audacity of Fox News to allege that their critics and competitors excessive coverage has been excessive has of course already started and will continue with this clip, I’m sure, as it reiterates what I’ve been saying for weeks and what was said during a brief segment on FNC’s morning show Fox & Friends earlier: y’all are lookin silly as f#ck over this.

Rebekah Brooks, Newscorp International CEO has been arrested in London. if she’s guilty of hacking someones phone – throw the book at her. If Rupert Murdoch knew this was happening – throw a copy of the first book at him too. It’s interesting news on it’s own. why do people feel compelled to lie about it to make it even more sensational?

Awkward Fox News Interview

I’ve seen this lady on CNN, MSNBC and Fox before, but never like this…what IS this? and is she in front of a green screen? Or is she just glowing? The host, Martha MaCallum is front of a screen – it looks like a giant window but it’s actually a giant moniter – and she’s never glowy. wtf is going on here? Did she do this at a home studio? That would explain the green screen, poor lighting, phone ringing in the background and whatever is responsible for the moments at 2:40 and at 5:35…

Mediaite describes:

Radio talk show host Nancy Skinner sparked an entertaining–and at times somewhat bizarre–discussion on Fox News Thursday afternoon, as host Martha MacCallum attempted to lead a discussion of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign announcement. Skinner, who has a show on Detroit radio and has served as a political commentator for Fox, MSNBC and CNN, quickly shifted from Romney to Bush. She suggested that Romney’s speech was about “laying out the case of how badly President Bush screwed up our economy” before beginning a disjointed defense of President Obama that led to an argument over poll results.

And Now An Important Piece on Sarah Palins Boobs

Getting to the bottom of the issues that really affect the country and the world: investigating the accusation that a former politician and present commentator had breast implants since her rack looks bigger in one picture than it does in another from several years ago before she had her most recent child (people familiar with body changes pertaining to pregnancy found the difference less suspicious).

On Fox News, Greta Van Susteren actually addressed the buzz from the blogs and actually asked Palin if she had implants. Which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, this is wildly stupid, but on the other, if you have a guest on your show who is the subject of wildly stupid commentary you have an obligation to your viewers to create entertaining and informative content which usually consists of addressing wildly stupid commentary surrounding that guest. It’s more a sign of the emerging prominence of foolish focal points leaking into areas of otherwise serious journalism and current event commentary than it is anything Greta did wrong but it’s still bizarre to the point where even Palin has to acknowledge as much by prefacing her answer to the question with a “bless your heart” style sugar coated way of saying “I can’t believe you actually just said that you crazy b*tch”….

“Clean up and save a whale or something instead of reporting on such stupid things like that”.

Bill O’Reilly’s comment after playing the clip is my reaction exactly. We are now at a place in news media where anchors are delivering hard questions such as “Boob job. Did you have one??”. Oy…

Justin Biebers hair: the root of all evil?

The Bieber hair bowl is a shameful but necessary cut for many young males. i myself desperately want one – and my hair is ALMOST at the appropriate length to make it possible! These are urges i fight every day.

“they want his mane but they wont say his name… im talking of course about Justin Bieber the 16 going on delicious pop star”… and people doubt that this is the best show on cable news?

Call it the Flip and Switch, the Flow, or the Twitch: the Bieber hairstyle — with sideswept bangs that end about an inch past where the Beatles snipped theirs off — is everywhere. Tim Urban wore it on “American Idol” before he was voted off in late April, and Miles Heizer wears it on the NBC show “Parenthood” to play a brooding teenager. The idea is that the front-combed bangs are so long that they must be flicked aside constantly with a whole lot of attitude.

The majority of boys in the sixth-grade class of Ms. Friedman’s son have the Bieber. “You can’t see any eyes,” she said, describing the scene at a school dance she chaperoned recently. “There are no eyes, and there’s a lot of flipping.”

Just last week, a boy who came to Cozy’s Cuts surreptitiously showed his stylist a picture of Justin Bieber on his camera and asked her to replicate the look. “He said, ‘That’s what I want — don’t tell my mom,’ ” said Ms. Friedman, whose three salons charge $29.95 for the cut.

-from the article Bangs Like Justin’s (but Don’t Say So), in the New York Times.. whose motto is “all the news that’s fit to print”…