From [HERE] and [MORE] Megyn Kelly -- the former Fox News host who NBC hoped would become the latest star in the network’s firmament -- opened the premiere episode of her new morning talk show, Megyn Kelly Today, by laughing at the idea that she might devote time to her sometimes foe President Donald Trump’s latest remarks. “The truth is, I am kind of done with politics for now,” she told a live studio audience with a smile.
During the hour that followed, Kelly offered up a panoply of typical morning show fare -- a synergistic but wooden sit-down with the stars of Will and Grace, returning to the network’s airwaves this week; a soft-focus piece on a Chicago nun who is “cleaning up her streets”; and Oprah-esque “surprises” for members of the audience, for her guests, and for Kelly herself. Along the way, Kelly sought to wash away her past work and rebrand herself as a joyful and upbeat bringer of hope.
Kelly devoted much of her opening monologue to crafting an origin story, trying to connect with her morning show audience by describing her upbringing, her parents, the death of her father, and her career. “I went on to become a TV anchor. And that was good, until it wasn't,” she explained. “So much division. So much outrage. And I wasn't happy,” she said of the 2016 presidential election. “For years I had dreamed of hosting a more uplifting show,” Kelly added. She said the dream was answered by NBC, which allowed her to host the new morning show, “whose mission would be to deliver hope and optimism and inspiration and empowerment.”
This is solid gold dogshit. Kelly spent years at Fox News, a network built on the division and outrage she now decries. And her raw talent for playing on the racial anxieties and resentments of her audience helped make her a Fox star.
After Keith Lamont Scott was shot by a police officer in 2016, Kelly hosted a discussion on her show about his unrelated criminal record. In the fall of 2016, Keith Lamont Scott was shot by a police officer in North Carolina. In the wake of protests about the death of another unarmed black man, Kelly hosted an entire segment devoted to reporting on Scott’s criminal record, which was unrelated to his death. [Media Matters, 9/28/16; NBC News, 11/30/16]
On The Kelly File, Kelly and Mark Fuhrman agreed that black people’s grievances with police are overblown. In a July 2016 discussion on The Kelly File with former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman (who was revealed to have repeatedly used the N-word on duty during the O.J. Simpson trial), Kelly and Fuhrman agreed that black protesters’ grievances with police officers are overblown, and that “a lot of these folks paint with a very big brush” based on a “couple of shootings.” [Fox News, The Kelly File, 7/8/16]
Kelly questioned why Philando Castile’s girlfriend didn’t do more to help him. In another July 2016 segment of The Kelly File, Kelly questioned the actions of Philando Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was seated in a car next to Castile and filmed the aftermath of his shooting by police in Minnesota. A guest reminded Kelly that Reynolds was in fact held at gunpoint by an officer at the time. The night before, Kelly had hosted Fuhrman to comment on the death of Alton Sterling at the hands of a police officer in Louisiana. Fuhrman concluded on the show that Sterling “has to take responsibility” for his own death. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 7/7/16, 7/6/16]
Kelly questioned whether it was “appropriate” for a black protester to glare at a cop during a peaceful protest. On the November 24, 2015, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly denounced a young African-American protester photographed glaring at a police officer during a peaceful protest in Chicago following the announcement of charges against a police officer for the first-degree murder of an African-American teen. When guest Richard Fowler questioned why the young man’s actions were a problem, Kelly commented that it was “not a question of what [the protester’s] constitutional rights are. It’s a question of what’s appropriate.” [Fox News, The Kelly File, 11/24/15]
Kelly questioned whether education, marriage, and employment are “valued in the black communities.” During The Kelly File’s September 4, 2015, “Black Lives Matter Protests” special, Kelly questioned whether education, marriage, and employment are “valued in the black communities, in the inner cities.” Kelly also bemoaned the “anti-cop,” “them versus us” culture where “it’s cool” to “be somebody who doesn’t necessarily prize being there for your family.” [Fox News, The Kelly File, 9/4/15]
Kelly on incident where police officer violently manhandled a black teen: "The girl was no saint either." On the June 8, 2015, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly questioned whether a white Texas police officer's excessive use of force while arresting a 14-year-old black girl at a pool party was a "race thing,” asking, “What is the evidence that it is a race thing, as opposed to excessive force thing?" Later, despite calling the police officer’s takedown “brutal,” Kelly partially faulted the 14-year-old, claiming, "The girl was no saint, either." [Fox News, The Kelly File, 6/8/15]
Kelly on Sandra Bland's arrest: "Even if you know the cop is in the wrong, comply and complain later." On the July 23, 2015, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly and Fox regular (and now potential Trump Department of Homeland Security official) David Clarke found fault with black motorist Sandra Bland's response to the white police officer who pulled her over, with Kelly saying, "Even if you know the cop is in the wrong, comply and complain later." [Fox News, The Kelly File, 7/23/15]
Kelly warned that Obama planned to force communities that are "too white [and] too privileged" to embrace diversity. On the June 11, 2015, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly warned that the Obama administration plans to force "too white [and] too privileged" communities to embrace diversity "whether the communities want it or not":
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): They don't want, quote, “unequal neighborhoods.” Unequal neighborhoods. They think too many communities are too white, too privileged, with too many big McMansions. And they want to diversify the communities whether the communities want it or not. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 6/11/15]
Kelly claimed racist emails circulate at most companies in an attempt to downplay DOJ's Ferguson report. During the March 9, 2015, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly downplayed a Department of Justice (DOJ) report that found racial bias and stereotyping in the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri. Kelly said it is unfair to "tar the entire organization" as racist because "there are very few companies in America" where "you won't find any racist emails [or] any inappropriate comments." [Media Matters, 3/10/15]
Kelly: "I'd like to know the proof" that the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner had “anything to do with race.” On the December 4, 2014, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly discussed nationwide protests in the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown with National Urban League president Marc Morial, asking several times for "evidence" that the deaths of Garner and Brown had "anything to do with race”:
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): All right. So, let's start with this, what is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?
KELLY: I get that. You're entitled to your opinion on that and to push for an additional investigation. And that's absolutely your right. But to say that this is a racist situation as Al Sharpton has suggested, as Mayor de Blasio has suggested, as many others have suggested, requires evidence.
MARC MORIAL: What would it take for you to acknowledge -- what would it take for you to acknowledge that race is an issue? Maybe you don't want to acknowledge that race is an issue.
KELLY: I'd like to know the proof. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 12/4/14]
Kelly: "Santa just is white" and "just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change." During the December 11, 2013, edition of The Kelly File, Kelly infamously insisted that Jesus and Santa Claus were "white," brushing past then-Fox host Jedediah Bila's suggestion that a non-white Santa Claus figure makes non-white kids feel included in holiday celebrations. Kelly continued, “Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” adding, “Jesus was a white man too.” [Fox News, The Kelly File, 12/11/13]
Kelly devoted 45 segments over two weeks to pushing a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration was intentionally allowing voter intimidation. During the summer of 2010, Kelly repeatedly tried to scandalize an investigation about a New Black Panther Party member who stood outside a polling station on Election Day 2008, allegedly intimidating voters. Kelly devoted 45 segments, totaling more than 3.5 hours, to the investigation in a two-week time frame. Kelly claimed that her sources would shed light on the Obama administration's "decision to not pursue serious charges against members of the New Black Panther Party" and said that "politics and race" were potentially to blame. [Media Matters, 6/30/10, 7/16/10, 7/22/10]