An interesting exchange, for two reasons, from an interview with Charlie Rose that’s set to air in full on Sunday.
ROSE: Some think about this, and they look at it, and they say, “Why her?”
KELLY: I think it’s very clear to him that he cannot control the editorial on my show, or from me, in a debate or other setting.
ROSE: Just that? That’s all it is?
KELLY: I wouldn’t want to speculate beyond that.
I think that bit at the end is Rose nudging her to say “It’s also because I’m a woman,” but Kelly won’t do it. After all, she’s not the only woman who hosts a show on Fox News in primetime — Greta Van Susteren anchors at 7 p.m. Then again, Trump’s been a fixture on Greta’s show for years, since long before he became a candidate. Greta’s sufficiently well disposed to him to have scolded conservative women in media (among them Katie Pavlich of our sister site, Townhall.com) for sending Trump an open letter this week asking him to fire Corey Lewandowski over the battery charge in Florida. She also told her viewers this week that she couldn’t in her wildest dreams imagine Lewandowski actually being convicted. Trump doesn’t lose sleep over how he might be treated on “On the Record” — or “The O’Reilly Factor” or “Hannity” for that matter. Kelly’s show is different, but if she claims without proof that Trump has it in for her because he doesn’t like women standing up to him, she’ll be dismissed as a whiner who can’t take criticism without whimpering about sexism. So, prudently, she declines.
The difference between Kelly’s show and the rest of the primetime line-up is the other interesting wrinkle here. Is there a note of implied contrast in what she says about Trump not being able to control her or the editorial line on her show? Greg Gutfeld complained the other day about internal strife at Fox News over Trump, but I raised an eyebrow at Kelly reportedly complaining to Rose on camera about Bill O’Reilly not doing more to defend her when Trump criticized her on the Factor:
O’Reilly asked Trump to reconsider missing the Fox debate in Iowa, but it was noted by many that he didn’t rush to defend Kelly when Trump attacked her during the interview.
Kelly called it a “dark moment” and said she would have done more to defend O’Reilly if the positions had been switched.
“I think Bill did the best he’s capable of doing in those circumstances,” Kelly said, which Rose said was “damning with faint praise.”
I’ll say. Did she also mean to suggest in the exchange quoted up top that Trump does, basically, control the editorial line on other Fox shows? Hannity in particular is taking relentless heat nowadays from anti-Trumpers on social media for turning his show into one of the friendliest platforms in major media for Trump. (Interestingly, Hannity’s friend Mark Levin has become one of Trump’s sharpest critics in conservative media on his daily radio show. Have those two ever been at odds over a candidate as much as they are over this?) It’s impossible not to notice the contrast in how Trump is handled on Kelly’s show at 9 and then on Hannity’s show an hour later. That alone probably partly explains why Trump has zeroed in on her. The entire primetime bloc of Fox News, the most watched network in cable, is extremely well disposed to him — with one very conspicuous exception sandwiched in the middle. Go figure that the lone obstacle to his total domination of the right’s favorite news channel would get under his skin.
As for what she says here about how he could be a much more effective candidate, that’ll probably piss him off too even though it’s so undeniably true that even his own fans in major media have been saying so this week. Here’s an early contender for quote of the year:
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who has frequently praised Mr. Trump’s insurgent campaign, said the front-runner had made a series of bewildering and irrational mistakes. Mr. Trump’s campaign, he said, had failed to evolve beyond the “personal gunslinger, random-behavior model” characterized by the candidate.
“None of the mistakes have been forced and nobody forced him to react negatively,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It’s almost as though he is so full of himself that he can’t slow down and recognize that being president of the United States is a team sport that requires a stable personality, that allows other people to help him.”