Via Red State, it’s worth noting, I guess, that this didn’t happen at Fox News studios. It was one of those interviews-slash-campaign-rallies out on the trail where it’s not clear whether Hannity’s hosting the candidate or the candidate’s hosting Hannity. Even so, Hannity’s graphics are all over the stage; it was broadcast as an episode of his show. And here’s the crowd, uninterrupted, booing the snot out of the reporter who airs before him on weeknights with neither Trump nor him making a peep.
When Hannity asked about Kelly, his pro-Trump studio audience booed her. *On Fox air.* (Hannity/Trump could've shushed the boos but didn't)
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 14, 2016
Hannity holds up his hand after the booing goes on a bit to try to quiet them down so Trump can answer, but watch how much Trump’s enjoying it. Big smile, until he finally says that he did meet with Kelly yesterday and that their conversation was cordial. That’s the cue from the Leader for the crowd to start cheering, which of course they do. Then Hannity segues into a hard-hitting bit in which he hands Trump a “terrible towel” and they grin and do a little local sports pandering. Anyway, remember that Kelly’s already annoyed at her colleagues on Fox, specifically Bill O’Reilly, for letting Trump use Fox’s airwaves to attack her without much pushback. How do you think she felt about this last night? Still think she’s going to re-up with FNC when her contract expires?
Actually, she might — and yesterday’s meeting with Trump provides a clue why:
Here’s the Fox News statement, in full:
“FOX News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes has spoken to Donald Trump a few times over the past three months about appearing on a FOX Broadcasting special with Megyn Kelly airing on May 23. Kelly requested a meeting with Mr. Trump, which took place at Trump Tower this morning. The results of that meeting will be revealed on tonight’s Kelly File at 9PM/ET. Kelly has acknowledged in recent interviews that Trump is a fascinating person to cover and has electrified the Republican base.”
Kelly has talked publicly about wanting to branch out a bit from the daily news-and-politics grind and do in-depth interviews with big names along the lines of Barbara Walters’s “10 most fascinating people” series. She’s getting her first hour-long special in May on Fox — not Fox News, but Fox. Broadcast TV, primetime. It’s a big deal. And in light of the past eight months, who would be single biggest “get” she could possibly land to hype her big network TV debut? Trump, of course. Fox News is telling you flat out in its statement that Ailes has been twisting Trump’s arm to appear on Kelly’s special next month and deliver mega-ratings. That’s his way, I assume, of showing her he’s willing to go the extra mile to make her happy and keep her inside the Fox tent. If he’s willing to eat sh*t for her with Trump to make her first big special a huge success, maybe she’ll stick around notwithstanding being zestily booed occasionally on the show hosted by the guy who follows her in the line-up.
Incidentally, if you missed Red State’s critique of Hannity’s handling of Trump yesterday, read it now. Hannity took exception to that on his radio show, insisting that he’s given all of the candidates equal time. (“I’m not a journalist! I’m a talk radio host.”) But equal time isn’t the point. Exit quotation from Red State editor Leon Wolf: “The reason Hannity is being criticized is that he is giving a ton of airtime to a not very good caricature of a conservative, and that he is doing absolutely nothing to expose a faker for what he is.”