Fox's Kelly clings to self-debunked attack on the White House's Kagan "propaganda"
Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL
Megyn Kelly has her talking points, and she's sticking to them.
Kelly devoted not one but two segments of the May 13 edition of America Live to a White House video of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan talking about her life and legal career. Kelly kicked off the first segment by asserting that the White House "pull[ed] an end around the media" by releasing the video, huffing that "reporters and the public are not getting to hear much of what she has to say unless it's vetted by the White House." Kelly introduced a clip from the video by saying, "Here is a bit of what they are calling the propaganda the White House has released." Kelly did not identify the "they" that are supposedly calling the video "propaganda."
Kelly then hosted correspondent James Rosen, who seemed to shoot down her premise that shielding a Supreme Court justice from the press is somehow a new idea: "This is the White House cutting out the middleman, so to speak, a complaint that's been voiced about every White House dating back to the Nixon era. What's different about the Obama team's approach is how good they are at it, and how they are using the new media of their day." After Rosen cited other examples of Obama use of new media, Kelly returned to the video, claiming that "Even Andrea Mitchell over at NBC" complained about it, she said, adding, "I mean, NBC is, you know."
In the second segment, Kelly mocked the video as a "probing, in-depth exchange," even though there's no actual "exchange" going on since no one else appears in the clip. Kelly then brought on Fox News contributor Liz Trotta -- who last we saw playing media analyst by bashing Newsweek for "shoving liberal opinion down [people's] throats" -- to join in her complaining. Kelly then managed to contradict her own outrage, saying, "You never get to talk to the Supreme Court nominees. I mean, now I've covered Roberts, Alito and Sotomayor personally, and they never have a sit-down interview with the press. It's not done."
If media interviews of a Supreme Court nominee are "not done," why is Kelly devoting so much time to complaining no one has interviewed Kagan?
Perhaps realizing that she just destroyed her own argument, Kelly shifted tactics: "What's weird here is that the WH sat down with its own nominee and then put this out as propaganda. And that's why journalists are upset," adding: "The thing about it is that they put it out there, the American public doesn't say to themselves, is that the White House conducting that interview? They say, oh, that's the Supreme Court nominee, let me learn a little more about her. They walk away duped. It's not a fair and balanced exchange, it's show." Kelly later added that "they make it look with the theatrics like it's a real interview. It leaves you with a different impression."
Actually, not so much. While Kagan does appear to be answering questions asked by someone off-camera, that person is neither shown nor heard in the video. Indeed, the only person whose voice is heard in the video is Kagan's. At no point does it pretend to be a "real interview." Further, given that a WH.org logo appears in the top right of the screen throughout the entire video and it concludes with a large White House logo, there's no question that the video came from anyplace other than the White House.
Trotta gets in her licks as well, claiming that Kagan is being "reprogrammed" for her upcoming hearings, adding: "They've already got her wearing pearls, for heaven's sakes." When Kelly suggested that it's possible that Kagan did wear pearls before her nomination, Trotta sniffed: "I don't think so. But anyhow, I guess there might be an exception to that, but it runs contrary to the images that you've seen before."
The irony here is that while Kelly was howling about the Kagan video not being "fair and balanced," there was nothing fair or balanced in her treatment of it. Trotta has a clear right-wing bias that Kelly failed to identify (though her smearing of Kagan as "another liberal demagogue that is an instrument of the Obama administration" made that bias arguably self-evident). No one from the White House, or any other Obama or Kagan defender, appeared in either segment to offer their view on the issue.
Kelly also stuck with her basic thesis -- the Obama administration's treatment of Kagan is unprecedented -- even though it was contradicted by not only the correspondent she questioned but by her own words.
In short, it wasn't a fair and balanced exchange, it was a show. Wait, where have we heard that before?