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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Media got Megyn Kelly wrong

The news media's coverage of President Trump is so terribly wrong that there is only one thing worse.

Its coverage of Megyn Kelly.

She markets herself as a glam feminist inquisitor -- the dominatrix of journalism -- who crushes conservative men. Her debate question of Donald Trump in August 2015 is legendary.

Legendarily lame.

He schlonged her.

Roll the tape, as they say on TV.
KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind, and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.
TRUMP: Only Rosie O’Donnell.
He turned Kelly's question around in three words: Only Rosie O’Donnell.

Kelly had beclowned herself. In doing so, she got into a feud with Donald Trump. Only one person walks away unharmed from such a feud: Donald Trump.

Their kiss-and-make-up interview months later was a ratings bomb. None of her supporters like her, and his detractors did not care.

But GQ and the rest of the media love her. Just like they love Anderson Cooper. To read the press gush over him, you would think he tops the ratings.

No, Bill O'Reilly does. Cooper finishes third in his time slot -- among the three cable news outlets.

But what are facts when it comes to the media covering the media?

In January, NBC announced it had lured Kelly away.

I wrote on January 5: "The biggest media mistake of the year so far (which already is one/seventy-third gone) is NBC hiring Megyn Kelly from Fox News. Replacing her with Tucker Carlson is brilliant."

(The headline had a pretty good pun in it.)

But the media praised the move.

From CBS:
“It’s a loss for Fox,” said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s  Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture, who called Kelly a “bona fide news celebrity.” He added that “There has been a lot of animosity between Megyn Kelly and Fox, and I have a feeling that they aren’t terribly surprised” by her decision.
Moving to NBC News will greatly increase the size of Kelly’s audience. Fox News averaged 2.4 million viewers in prime time, the most of any cable network in 2016. However, “NBC Nightly News” attracted more than 9 million viewers during the week of Dec. 19, topping rivals ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney (DIS) and CBS (CBS), the parent company of 
That was a weird comparison since she will not anchor NBC's nightly news. The more likely comparison is the "Today" show, which averages 4.4 million viewers.

The New York Times also praised the move:
For Megyn Kelly, the shift from Fox News to NBC — where she will host a daily daytime show and a Sunday newsmagazine program — will be a test of whether she can connect with a broader audience in a different format and reach another level of television stardom.
But her move, announced Tuesday, has broader implications for the television news industry, raising new questions about the future of Fox News, where she was a countervailing presence in an opinion lineup heavy with right-leaning ideology, and of NBC News, which has been a longtime bĂȘte noire for conservative press critics. And it comes as all news organizations gird for a new era of media coverage that arrives Jan. 20 with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump.
I love that, "raising new questions about the future of Fox News."

It has one. Recent layoffs and the shift of staff to rent eight more floors of the NYT building raises questions about the future of the newspaper.

So how did all this work out for Fox News?


Two weeks after Tucker replaced Megyn, some results are in.

From the Washington Examiner:
In losing Megyn Kelly, Fox News appears to have fallen upward to higher ratings at a lower price.
"Fox News's Tucker Carlson is nearly doubling the ratings of his predecessor, Megyn Kelly, when compared to the same time period last year, according to Nielsen Media Research," reports The Hill. "'Tucker Carlson Tonight' is up 95 percent in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers covet most compared with the same period in 2016, when 'The Kelly File' occupied the 9 p.m. ET time slot. Carlson has averaged 775,000 viewers per night in the category, while Kelly averaged 398,000 during the same time period, Jan. 11–22."
That Kelly can be so easily eclipsed is a bad omen for NBC. It is a testimony to the effectiveness of Carlson, but it also hints at the hollowness of the buzz around her. Much of that buzz derived from her status as a subversive at a conservative-leaning network, talk that will dissipate once she's at NBC. Plus, Fox News viewers don't appear to miss her too terribly, and there is little reason to believe they'll follow her to NBC.
It is too early to tell if I am right.

But I am.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. That was a nice piece of prediction. It felt like the right call when I read it, but I wasn't smart enough to write the insight.

    But I do love it every time you go against the conventional wisdom and get it right. Kinda of makes you wonder where the wisdom in all the conventional thinkers.

    Especially when the Examiner calls out all the times that this move hasn't worked, it makes you wonder why anyone thought it would? Or maybe they didn't think they were so eager to right the narrative?

    Kinda like football. How many times does an overrated star move from a good team to a bad one, and do badly, while an underrated person moves to a winning team - and starts doing well? Sometimes its the right person on the right team. Kelly ain't on Fox's team, or our team. She's on her own team. Sports is filled with overrated self-centered "stars". So is TV.

    I like Tucker, though. And he came in underrated and is over-performing. That's how you make money. And he is way more fun. Winning while having fun. Kinda like this blog.

    PS- And that was a good pun.

    1. Thanks. It is not a matter of smarts. It is a matter of time. I sit around all day writing.
      Good analogy on football.
      I was thinking baseball. From the perspective of a Cleveland Indians fan, NBC signed Keith Hernandez.

    2. I was thinking of the pro sports analogy too, like the players who leave the NE Patriots to chase bigger money from other teams, to their own regret when they never get back to play in the Superbow(e)l.

      And speaking of the SB, which I just was, I'm expecting the half-time show to go all SJW, so I won't be watching any of it. I'll catch the final score and the highlights on TV, and watch the best commercials when they get posted on YouTube.

  2. Blond woman privilege won't carry you too far without a mentor like Roger Ailes.
    Trump grabbed her by her privilege and slammed her bloody, bleeding out of her whatever, leaving stains on the walls bigger than those left on that blue dress Bill Clinton has been wearing for the past twenty years.

  3. Love your close, Big D. Akin to the title of Charles Barkley's book:

    I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It

  4. The NYT spends a lot of time daydreaming about BO these days.

  5. "fallen upward"...?

    How did Newton and Einstein miss that little gravitational wrinkle?

    Why did NASA waste all that money on the Saturn V when they just could've "fallen upward" to the Moon?

    1. I had to read thru 3 times to find this:
      "In losing Megyn Kelly, Fox News appears to have fallen upward to higher ratings at a lower price." Balloonists cut off sandbags to rise higher. Megan was a sandbag.

  6. Tucker is great. The best thing in television news at the moment. I knew he'd do really well.

  7. Tucker is kicking ass because he is interesting, and doesn't know how to pitch softball.

    1. Gives a whole new meaning to "There's something I want to bounce off you."

  8. Don,
    wonderful perceptive article as is your book which I have read twice. Kelly, of course, comes from a dyed in the wool Dem family so her performance is/was no surprise.

    I suspect Tucker got his own show and then a plum time slot because he was one of the few during the election run up to see what was really going on.

    Now I can't wait for the follow up with Trump in the White House

    PS> If you have not read "Trump the Press" read it now. Most fun I've had reading a book.

  9. We mustn't forget that Megyn Kelly is an AMATEUR, not a professional, journalist.

    She was not a professionally trained journalist (i.e., she does not have a degree in journalism).

    Additionally, I have no doubts that Megyn Kelly's bosses at Fox News told her that her three most important priorities were ratings, ratings, and ratings.

    Sadly, as an amateur, she did not know HOW to make that happen, especially at the national level of news. So, whatever she did was ad hoc.

    So, Ms. Kelly ended up asking questions of Donald Trump at the first Republican candidates' debate that sounded salacious if now down-right obscene, branding her forever, at least in my mind, a lightweight.

  10. To carry Don's football analogy further, his Cleveland Browns cut Taylor Gabriel who is a star with the Atlanta Falcons who are going to the Super Bowl. How's Cleveland doing?

    Fox babes don't do well when they leave Fox. Whatever happened to Paula Zahn and Kiran Chetry? Fake News Media NBC just wasted a bunch on Kelly just like CNN did on Chetry, whom I adore and really miss now that her career is over.

  11. Tucker had better get a big raise ... he is a valuable person at Fox.