Ever since a profile of FoxNews host Megyn Kelly went up at the NYT last week, she has been subject to almost as much debate among the Left as Jonathan Chait. The NYT writer, as well as other liberals, celebrated her occasional forays into heresy by her questioning some ridiculous bullshit being offered by one of her male guests. Most recently, this involved standing up to Mike Huckabee’s views on gender that would have seemed regressive in 1920. Her most legendary moment came when she hoisted the porcine Karl Rove on his own retard during election night 2012. This sort of thing is otherwise unheard of on the favorite channel of bitter old white men.
On the other hand, as people like Amanda Marcotte remind us, these episodes are still fairly uncommon during one of her typical workdays on the network. After all, anyone who draws a paycheck from Roger Ailes is expected to do his or her part in pushing his disinformation, such as the manufactured stories on the New Black Panthers or Benghazi (the latter of which was disproven by House Republicans.) Like Hannity, O’Reilly, Wallace, and all the rest, Kelly toed the line like a good soldier on these fictional narratives handed down from on high, lest she find herself searching for a new network to work for… which would have been more problematic than you think.
Now, it is true that Kelly has an undeniable charisma so lacking in FoxNews’ usual lineup of crusty pale men + fembots. And her rare moments of calling bullshit on her own side tell us that she knows to some degree that the inmates are running the asylum. But that doesn’t change the fact that her stories, her regular guests and her payroll are all shared among the usual suspects on that network… and therefore, she may never offer substantive heterodoxy from the party line. One wonders if she would have had a more remarkable impact at a different network…
… but to ask the question is to answer it. Where else, exactly, could she have possibly found a hosting gig? Jeff Zucker’s sinking ship over at CNN? The leftist answer to her own network at MSNBC? CNBC, whose other hosts’ ratings are all dwarfed by reruns of Shark Tank? There are surprisingly few options for a would-be news host — especially if they are conservative and are therefore shut out of the more plum spots hosting The Today Show or This Week. So it’s no big surprise she stuck it out at the network that regularly plasters all its main competitors, combined. Even if she had to wrap herself, and her integrity, around a few unpleasant rules devised by one of TV’s most unpleasant men. But for a regular paycheck, how many people would be any different?