Over the past couple of days, there has been a lot of uproar over Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about Fox News host Megyn Kelly during and after the first Republican presidential debate.
Let’s get one thing clear: There is certainly no excuse for Trump’s sexism. His personal attack on Kelly is as pathetic as his stance on various other issues, such as Latin American immigration.
However, is it sensible to put on a pedestal a television news pundit who has a questionable record when it comes to reporting facts, just because of Trump?
In her first comments since The Donald’s offensive tirade, Kelly opened her program on Monday night by addressing the issue.
“I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism, so I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor,” she told viewers on her show, The Kelly File. “This is a tough business and it’s time now to move forward.”
While it’s a good thing to watch Kelly taking the high road, there’s just one big problem with her response: Can we really call her work on Fox News “good journalism”?
A brief look at her track record suggests no, of course not.
Megyn Kelly is often thought of being a more progressive commentator – “the sane one” – on her otherwise notoriously conservative news channel. But that could be a false assumption considering the times when she:
Tried to push faux scandal about New Black Panther Party
Despite a lack of evidence its “active” presence, the New Black Panther Party has been one of the most favorite faux scandals for Fox News hosts, especially Kelly. In 2010, the website Media Matters counted 45 segments about the NBPP that Kelly's show ran in just two weeks.
Claimed Santa and Jesus were “white”
In 2013, Kelly declared on her Fox News show that both Santa Claus and Jesus were white while discussing a piece in Slate about a black vs. white Santa. She said, "Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable it doesn't mean it has to change."
However, after much outrage over her controversial comments, she (sort of) backtracked, saying the segment was intended as a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek discussion.
Said a victim of sexual abuse by a cop was “no saint”
Earlier in June, while discussing a sexual abuse case in McKinney, Texas, in which a police officer Eric Casebolt assaulted a 15-year-old girl, Kelly suggested the victim was partly to blame.
“The girl was no saint, either,” the host said of Dajerria Becton. “He had told her to leave, and she continued to linger. When a cop tells you to leave, get out.”
Predictably, there was a backlash, and yet again Kelly responded by saying that her comments were taken out of context.
Fox News has a history of retracting incendiary statements with (non) apologies with utter disregard for possible consequences. And Megyn Kelly is no different.
In fact, in her case, it’s usually a clarification instead of an apology. And “good journalism” isn’t supposed to be like that.
Trump’s sexist attacks on Kelly are no doubt vile – but so is Kelly’s race-baiting on her network. Let’s not forget that.