I know that Megyn Kelly is who she is — the biggest example of white feminism at work — and I know this is really not saying much, but she’s the most sane person on Fox News right now, someone at least willing to call out Donald Trump and his incoming administration. At the very least, that stands in stark contrast to Sean Hannity and the anchors of Fox & Friends, who have essentially been part of Donald Trump’s marketing arm.
To that end, the future direction of Fox News is actually important. Because we live in an echo chamber where 90 percent of the voices we hear come from like-minded people, it’s important to have someone at Fox News willing to stand up to Trump, because many, many, many conservatives get all of their news from Fox. If Megyn Kelly leaves or is ousted in favor of Hannity and O’Reilly, there’s no voice of dissent remaining on television’s most watched news network.
The battle over control of the network has been brewing for much of the year. Hannity and Kelly have been at each other for months, while O’Reilly and several others (Geraldo) defended Roger Ailes when all the sexual harassment charges surfaced. Megyn Kelly remained silent, and she was attacked for her silence.
Now that Ailes has been fired, however, the men defending Ailes seem to be taking another approach: It’s over. It’s settled, they say. It’s time to move on, and any further attacks on Fox News will be seen as disloyalty.
O’Reilly and Kelly are out promoting books right now. In Kelly’s book, she talks about Roger Ailes sexually harassing her, and during an interview on CBS’s morning show while O’Reilly was promoting his children’s book Give Please a Chance (“please” don’t buy books from Bill O’Reilly, children), he was asked about Kelly’s accusations.
O’Reilly: “I’m not that interested in this.”
Gayle King asked: “No?”
O’Reilly: “No— I mean, it’s over for—”
O’Donnell: “In sexual harassment? You’re not interested in sexual harassment?”
O’Reilly: “I’m not interested in basically litigating something that is finished, that makes my network look bad. Okay? I’m not interested in making my network look bad. At all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.”
O’Donnell: “Is that what she’s doing?”
O’Reilly: “I don’t know. But I’m not going to even bother with it.”
He followed it up with a very condescending “Factor tip of the day” last night devoted to “loyalty,” which seemed very pointed.
“If somebody is paying you a wage, you owe that person or company allegiance. If you don’t like what’s happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave! I’ve done that. And then take the action you need to take afterward, if you feel aggrieved … There are labor laws in this country. But don’t try to run down the concern that supports you by trying to undermine it. Factor tip of the day: loyalty is good.”
That’s not only disappointing, that’s dangerous and misguided. It also doesn’t sound that dissimilar to Donald Trump, Jr.’s thoughts on sexual harassment in the workplace. Again, it’s not on Kelly to fix the situation. It’s on the network.
All of which is to say, if Fox News is the voice singing to the chorus of the right, it seems more important than ever to have Megyn Kelly provide that voice.