×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Megyn Kelly Masters the Fox Defense: Play the Victim

Host's response to the 'Santa is just white' comment is straight out of the Fox playbook

Megyn Kelly might be the new kid in the Fox News primetime lineup, but she’s mastered the oldest trick in the network’s playbook – namely, playing the victim.

On Friday, Kelly used the first 18 minutes of her program, “The Kelly File,” to discuss the “firestorm of controversy” unleashed, as she put it, by her statement earlier in the week that Santa Claus and Jesus were both white – the former expressed as a reassurance to any children who might happen to be watching.

Yet Kelly’s ultimate explanation for the hubbub – which was driven as much by the sheer comedy of her earnestness, given the subject matter, as anything else – was the following: “Fox News, and yours truly, are big targets for many people.”

That’s true, of course, but returning again and again to that response – that Fox is being attacked by “vile” people who are “smear merchants,” as Bill O’Reilly is fond of describing the channel’s critics – is a defense mechanism helpfully designed to squelch any further discussion.

Because if the people who are criticizing you are bad – even evil – then you needn’t worry about whether they might have a point in suggesting you said something callous, or at the very least, spoke inarticulately. You are shielded, practically inoculated.

Kelly did host a couple of African-American guests to discuss the matter this time, although she didn’t help herself much by rather cavalierly noting in regard to the question of what Jesus actually looked like, “As I’ve learned in the past two days, that is far from settled.”

Honestly? Before Wednesday she had never heard that Jesus might not have resembled Jeffrey Hunter in “King of Kings?”

Yet that’s about as close to a correction as Kelly, as one of Fox’s established stars, is apt to get. Because the built-in advantage of the “We’re targets” defense is that it means never having to say you’re sorry.

More TV

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    WarnerMedia Pulls Out of Audience-Targeting Alliance Open A.P.

    WarnerMedia is going its own way when it comes to helping advertisers find specific groups of TV-watchers. The company, a founding member of the audience-targeting media alliance known as Open A.P., said Friday it would withdraw from the group, citing its desire to pursue its own strategy under owner AT&T. AT&T purchased Time Warner in [...]

  • BLESS THIS MESS - "The Chicken

    Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With 'Bless This Mess'

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday. The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City [...]

  • superstore renewed season 3

    'Superstore' Showrunner Justin Spitzer Steps Down as He, Gabe Miller, Jonathan Green Renew Overall Deals at UTV

    “Superstore” executive producers Justin Spitzer, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green have all renewed their overall deals with Universal Television. In addition, Miller and Green will take over showrunner duties on “Superstore” while Spitzer — who also created the series — will shift to develop new projects for the studio beginning with the 2019-2020 season. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content