What prompted me to ask this question is the recent exchange between Megyn Kelly and Ted Cruz, when Cruz accused Kelly of asking “the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask” and “the question Barack Obama wants to focus on”, after she criticized him on his immigration policy. This got me thinking. The questions she asked Donald Trump during the infamous Fox News debate came straight out of Hillary Clinton’s War on Woman playbook. Going back a year, she told Dick Cheney during an interview that “you got it wrong on Iraq”. Now just because Fox News is ‘our news station’ doesn’t mean that I think Fox should refrain from criticizing conservative politicians. Quite the contrary, Cheney, Trump and Cruz should be fair game. Nevertheless, I do find it curious that, in each case, she deliberately criticized Republican politicians from a left-wing perspective. Which begs the question, why?
I believe a hint can be found in the TV ratings. Currently Fox News is the highest-rated cable news show in the US and Megyn Kelly is its top star. For Thursday, August 20, Fox had a total of 2.3 million viewers in prime time (with 456, 000 in the 25-54 demographic group), trouncing second-place finisher MSNBC, who had 766,000 (with only 144,000 in the 25-54 demographic group). From Kelly’s perspective, these numbers don’t give her much upside potential in cable news. On the other hand, looking at the ratings of the big three broadcast networks, third place CBS pulled in 6.4 million viewers (with 1.45 million viewer in the 25-54 demographic group) in the week of August 17. This is almost three times the viewers of Fox News.
Could it be that Kelly’s willingness to criticize Republican politicians from the left is a signal to network news shows, telling them that she is ideologically adaptable? If she were to be hired on as a network news anchor, I am sure that she could negotiate a hefty salary increase, proportionate to the increased number of viewers who will now see her. And for a tired old network news program, snagging Kelly would be a significant feather in their cap. They can point to her and say that they really do provide fair and balanced news because they have a prominent conservative working for them. And then watch Kelly slowly morph into a typical mainstream liberal over time (while touting her Fox News pedigree whenever she has to defend herself against charges of liberal bias).
Don’t kid yourself. You and I can afford to be conservative purists because politics is just a hobby for us. Our income isn’t riding on our political positions. This is not necessarily the case with the professionals we see on TV and hear on the radio. While we can rely on radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin to be faithful, this is only because their fame and fortune is inextricably tied to their political beliefs. And we can rely on people like Mark Steyn because they have been subject to serious career pressures and have never bent to accommodate them.
In the case of Megyn Kelly, she is known to be a capable host, a good interviewer, and an attractive woman. None of which depends on her political beliefs… whatever they may actually be.