Megyn Kelly: I haven't decided if I'm staying at Fox News when my contract is up

Normally I’d write off a hedge like this as an employee protecting her leverage before contract negotiations, but I don’t know. She’s complained publicly more than once about O’Reilly not sticking up for her in his interviews with Trump. She’s been getting death threats ever since Trump started attacking her and meanwhile the guy who follows her in the Fox line-up is known as the biggest Trump fanboy in cable news. She’s a serious person and a hot commodity in her business. Why would she stick with Fox now that it’s morphed into Trump TV? And even if Trump’s campaign falls apart tomorrow and it morphs back into a “conservative” network, how can she go forward having seen the other anchors’ true colors?

Let’s put it this way. If she’s at Fox next year, they’re going to let her do as many Barbara-Walters-style long-form interviews as she wants.

Your contract is up after the election. Have you decided if you’re staying at Fox News?
I haven’t.

You might not stay?
Never say never. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes. I really like my show, and I love my team. But you know, there’s a lot of brain damage that comes from the job. There was probably less brain damage when I worked in the afternoon. I was less well known. I had far less conflict in my life…

What about co-hosting a morning show like “Today”?
You have to wake up so early. The alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. When I did “America’s Newsroom,” which started at 9 a.m., I remember saying to the makeup artist at the time, ‘If you could only know the afternoon me, you’d like me so much better.’ Listen, this is a fickle business. What if they called me and fired me tomorrow? I have to keep my options open.

She did say that she felt supported by Fox News against Trump, but I take it that’s a reference to management, not to her colleagues. One thing I’ve noticed about Kelly in interviews is that she comes back a lot to the theme of solidarity among journalists when someone’s trying to intimidate one of them, as Trump’s been doing to her. That’s a theme in her complaints about O’Reilly; it’s a theme that came up when she criticized CNN for airing Trump’s charity event for vets the night he bailed on the Fox News debate; and it’s a theme that recurs in this new interview with Variety, when she says Team Trump’s attempts to cow her and Michelle Fields into silence “raises real First Amendment issues.” Imagine someone who feels besieged for doing her job gazing at the line-up that surrounds her and finding mostly Trump chums like Greta Van Susteren, O’Reilly, Hannity, and Eric Bolling. Such is the state of discord at Fox over Trump, in fact, that Greg Gutfeld, co-host with Bolling of “The Five,” took to mocking his colleagues on Twitter a few nights ago after Greta aired an hour-long townhall with Trump:

Fox’s difficulties mirror the GOP’s difficulties in coping with Trumpism. If Trump fades, especially before the convention, much of the bitterness between Trumpers and anti-Trumpers will be papered over in the name of “unity” and healing. Hannity will be a rock-ribbed dogmatic tea-party conservative again. Kelly can go back to criticizing politicians without fear that one of their crazed fans is going to try to kill her. All will be right with the world. If Trump wins, though, it’s unclear whether these unstable coalitions can be maintained. How would Fox operate for four years with Kelly doing a serious critique of the administration at nine and Hannity doing Hannity things at ten? How does “The Five” operate with one of its hosts all but admitting openly that two of the key players in primetime are playing softball with the president? Fox would try to hold together with a stable of Trumpers and anti-Trumpers since both of those constituencies will remain well represented on the right, but there’d be so much bitterness. As the man himself would say: Sad!

Via the Free Beacon, here’s what’s currently airing on weeknights immediately after a show whose host has been demagogued by Trump pretty much weekly for the past six months.