In a surprising development, Megyn Kelly said something racist on NBC today. And of course, by that we mean it’s surprising it took her this long. Of course she adamantly thinks it’s fine for white people to dress up in blackface, as she argued on-air today. This is the same Megyn Kelly who once insisted on Fox News that Jesus Christ and Santa Claus had to be white, seemingly unaware that Christ definitely was not white, and Santa definitely was not real. So why didn’t NBC see this coming?
The short answer is that NBC probably did see this coming, at least this part of it. Megyn Kelly consistently produced strong ratings on Fox News, and NBC must have concluded that she could do the same on its network. If she could be profitable to NBC for a few years, then hey, so what if she eventually said something horrible that brought the whole thing crashing down? After all, profit margins and the resulting executive bonuses are about this year, not about next year, or the year after. These things are always, sadly, about money.
The only surprising thing here is that NBC didn’t realize Megyn Kelly was going to be a ratings flop. By any measure, she’s not producing results no matter what time slot or format they move her to, and she’s turned out to be a money-losing investment for the network. She was always one of the smarter and more capable people on Fox News, but that’s an incredibly low standard to begin with. There’s a reason that when once-popular TV news personalities start to become less viable (Lou Dobbs, Geraldo Rivera), they always move to Fox News, and not the other way around. Kelly was an all-star in the Fox gutter, but she’s subpar by real world standards, and NBC is learning that the hard way.
The mere act of writing about Megyn Kelly always ends up being uniquely controversial. Some liberals always tell me I’m being too kind to Kelly when I defend her against Donald Trump’s sexist attacks. A few other liberals always tell me I’m being sexist when I point out that Kelly is a bad person who’s bad at her job. But both those things – her status as a victim of sexism, and her status as a dishonest and racist person – can both be simultaneously true. In any case, you have to wonder how much longer before NBC seeks to buy its way out of Megyn Kelly’s massive contract. She may have just handed them the excuse they’ve been cynically looking for.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report