By: Joe Saunders
“Please don’t pretend you’re a journalist.”
Liberals are loving Megyn Kelly these days.
But with less than two weeks left to the Nov. 8 election and her Fox News contract up for renewal, Kelly is getting heat from America’s right like never before over her on-air blow-up this week with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
And a skewering by conservative champion Mark Levin had to push Kelly’s reputation among conservatives even lower.
In a radio tirade the day after Kelly’s tangle with Gingrich, Levin accused the Fox News personality of using a prime political moment to push her private agenda of securing a better job in the news media – possibly with a network that isn’t so strongly identified with conservative politics.
The story making the rounds Thursday that Kelly will be joining Kelly Ripa on Disney/ABC’s “Live With Kelly” on the day after the election is only feeding speculation that Megyn is looking for greener pastures. To conservatives like Levin, she is deliberately attacking Republican nominee Donald Trump — and one of his most conservative surrogates — to raise her own profile.
“If this is the future of Fox, Fox will be dead,” Levin said flatly.
Check out his take on Megyn Kelly here.
To a fair viewer, even a Kelly fan, it was pretty clear that if the anchor didn’t actually provoke the confrontation with Gingrich, she welcomed it as soon as it started. And the snide, eye-roll when Gingrich said the media are “obsessed with sex” didn’t make her look like the grown-up in the room either. (Would have gone over well at MSNBC, though.)
But maybe she was looking for a fight with the Trump side on purpose, sort of like those Democrat dirty tricksters sent to Trump rallies in hopes of provoking a flying-fists confrontation.
The preceding segment of Tuesday’s “The Kelly File” featured Megyn engaging in an unnecessarily combative – bordering on baiting – interview with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence.
The Indiana governor was apparently unruffled, but Gingrich was clearly nettled by the time he got on, and referred to it almost immediately in his interview with Kelly. That led to the confrontation that’s had political and journalistic circles buzzing all week.
During his Wednesday show, Levin criticized Kelly’s coverage of the presidential campaign from its beginning last year, when she questioned Donald Trump during the first primary debate in August about his relationships with women.
“I have no brief against Megyn Kelly,” said Levin, who was a vocal supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican primary campaign.
“She set a fuse. She was so obsessed with Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump and things that were said back and forth, she set the stage for what became month after month of vicious personal, nasty attacks, and she’s doing it again,” Levin said.
And he dropped the hammer full-force on her credibility.
“She is auditioning, in my opinion, for a bigger forum … whether it’s ‘Good Morning America’ or the ‘Today Show’ or even CNN — and a huge payday. Fine,” Levin said. “But please don’t pretend you’re a journalist.”
That had to hurt – with Kelly’s reputation among conservatives, if not her feelings. It probably didn’t help her contract negotiations with Fox either, in which she’s apparently angling for a $20 million deal.
“She’s full of drama, attention getting, it’s all about her,” Levin said.
But if Kelly really is using the election to raiser her own value for the rival networks that are undoubtedly interested in securing her services, she’s playing her cards about perfectly. One look at the liberal coverage of her lately — like this fawning Washington Post story about Kelly’s day-after-election show — reveals they see her as an ally now.
Because conservatives might be a loyal and intelligent audience, but liberals are where the real money and celebrity is — just ask the Clintons, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, George Clooney and the whole Hollywood crowd.
And liberals are loving Megyn Kelly these days.