Monday I wrote about Megyn Kelly’s broadside against Jane Fonda and predicted that Kelly would face consequences for bringing up Fonda’s past as “Hanoi Jane.” Today, Fox News reports that NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is “furious” about Kelly’s commentary which was not closely reviewed by anyone at the network:
It would have been hard for [Noah] Oppenheim, the president of NBC News who oversees Kelly’s troubled hour of “Today,” to review Kelly’s script as he was in North Korea with “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt. North Korean state media reported that Oppenheim and his retinue arrived on Saturday, when Kelly was presumably still preparing her harangue.
“There was no meaningful executive review of Megyn’s script,” said an NBC insider. “She went rogue.”
Wednesday the Hollywood Reporter published a story on the reaction on television and in Hollywood:
Reaction inside and outside NBC News was swift and extreme. The View panelists — and guest host Ann Curry — tore Kelly apart. Joy Behar called her a “bitch”; minutes later, she apologized, rescinding the epithet. Wendy Williams accused Kelly of doing it “for ratings.” Inside NBC News, the characterizations included “outrageous” and “awful.” One person questioned the wisdom of using NBC News as a platform to “settle a personal score.”
Multiple talent representatives, none of whom would talk on the record, told THR that the Fonda monologue has made them think twice about booking their clients on Megyn Kelly Today. Others said it was the last straw. “Actors don’t trust her,” said one.
But even before this crisis ends, NBC News insiders are said to be “horrified” that Kelly has been asked to participate in the network’s State of the Union coverage. From the Daily Mail:
A source tells DailyMail.com that those involved in the special are horrified’ by the move and trying to get out of ‘working or appearing’ with Megyn.
The former Fox News host will be joining a line-up that includes Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, and Tom Brokaw, with appearances from NBC News chief White House correspondents Hallie Jackson and Kasie Hunt, 11-day White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and Obama speechwriter David Litt.
An NBC spokesperson tells the Daily Mail “Not only is there zero truth to this, but everyone is genuinely excited to see her jump back into political coverage.” That’s a little hard to believe given the widespread coverage of the shock her Fonda story created at NBC.
I think the truth of this situation is that Kelly bothers some people at NBC News for one reason: She used to work at Fox News. She represents an unwanted intrusion into the left-leaning media bubble that clearly seems to exist at NBC. If Kelly were a political progressive and had defended herself against ongoing attacks from a conservative actress, no one would be calling her a “b***h” for doing so. On the contrary, she would be applauded for standing up for herself. But because she comes from that network, she will always be the villain for some people at NBC News and elsewhere. That’s true even though many people on the pro-Trump right dislike her even more than the progressive left does.