Capital District native, and Bethlehem Central alum, Megyn Kelly paid home a visit this past week, and shared insight into a tumultuous journalistic career affected by the words and actions of President Donald Trump.
The bulk of Kelly’s journalistic career was spent with Fox News. In the eyes of the left wing liberals, she was often viewed as a cheerleader for the political right. The popularity of her show, The Kelly Files, often found her satirized by Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” Just ten years after starting with Fox News, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014.
A volatile exchange between her and Trump helped define last year’s presidential race. The reaction to Trump’s presidential bid was initially viewed as incredulous by the media. However, over time, he continued to gain popularity as a man who “tells it like it is.” His support never waned, even with disparaging headlines of him shared stories that often spelled disaster for past presidential candidates (see Gary Hart, to a lesser extent.) Kelly, as moderator of Fox’s broadcast of its presidential debates, stopped being a cheerleader for the right.
“You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
An open-ended question received as an attack by the man it was directed towards. As of January, Trump took his place in the Oval Office, and Kelly jumped to NBC, reportedly receiving death threats from those who took exception to her apparent opposition to Trump.
Trump has since coined the phrase “Opposition Party” to describe journalists like Kelly, those whose articles outright denounce his statements and those who simply ask questions from the White House press corps. This includes the The New York Times, long regarded as the national “newspaper of record,” archiving the news and facts of today. Less than 24 hours after taking oath, the President called journalists “the most dishonest human beings on earth.” The Fourth Estate. A moniker long used to describe the media as a voice of society — associated along with the other three estates; the common class, the church and nobility.
The press is held responsible for being the watchdog to our governments, and more recently, to the corporations that have grown to such power as to influence the former. Editorials, like this, have always possessed a political slant. That’s not new. When communities supported two or more newspapers, papers were identified by that slant. But, all efforts are made to provide news as objective as possible.
What has changed is the editorialized presentation of news on television and radio. Talking heads on 24-hour news channels, provide analysis and opinions on news items. Pundits earn their names for those opinions, and subsequently, their audiences. The problem is from people who too often receive their news exclusively from the Bill O’Reillys and the Wolf Blitzers of the world — sharing opinion and not fact.
If by following the ethics and standards of our trade we have earned our name as the Opposition Party, then so be it. However, we do not oppose the position of the president. We do not oppose the Constitution of the United States. We do not oppose our earned responsibility as our society’s Fourth Estate. We do, however, oppose the subversion of democracy from whomever that may be. Yes, you can provide examples of hacks who called themselves journalists. They exist in every trade. We understand the weight of our responsibility, and hold each other accountable. We commend Ms. Kelly for standing strong in her position as a journalist. We all operate within the rights of our Constitution’s First Amendment, to ensure — not abuse — the rights of everyone else. Otherwise, we would not have a democracy. That’s the way it is.