A journalist should never become part of the story. This is the first rule of news reporting, and it is a rule so elementary that even those without a journalistic bone in their body know about it. And yet, once again, #Fox News darling #Megyn Kelly has found herself the center of attention for her recent verbal sparring match with former House Speaker #Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich interview sparks conservative firestorm
During Tuesday's now-famous interview, Gingrich became highly agitated after Kelly used the term "sexual predator" in a question about Donald Trump, and at one point declared that the Fox News host was "obsessed with sex". Megyn Kelly then cut the interview short, but not without first wishing Gingrich luck in dealing with his "anger issues".
After her dust-up with Trump during the GOP primaries, right-wing media were quick to circle the wagons in defense of Megyn Kelly; Fox News even went so far as to issue a public statement supporting Kelly, applauding her performance as debate moderator and lambasting Trump in the process. But things are different this time. This time, it seems even conservative pundits are sick and tired of running to Megyn Kelly's defense.
Conservative talk show host Mark Levin, who, at times, has been highly critical of Donald Trump, went on the offensive after the Gingrich interview aired:
"She is auditioning, in my opinion, for a bigger forum . . . whether it's 'Good Morning America' or the 'Today Show' or even CNN... and a huge payday. Fine. But please don't pretend you're a journalist."
Kelly's bizarre shift in personality took place during the first GOP primary debate, when she asked Trump about his treatment of women. While many applauded Kelly for asking the "tough questions", others took to Twitter in order to slam Kelly's journalistic integrity. This appeared to be the precise moment when Megyn Kelly decided to make herself the center of the story.
Kelly's quest for legitimacy
There's no doubt Kelly's ego was being stroked by the network; her one-on-one interview with Trump after the smoke cleared from his "blood coming out of her wherever" remarks wasn't aired on Baby Fox (Fox News), but on the Mother Network, after much ballyhoo. As Kelly's ego blossomed, so did her feuds with other high-profile conservative talking heads like Sean Hannity.
So, what has gotten into Megyn Kelly lately?
The answer may very well be that Kelly, who sees herself as a hard-hitting journalist rather than a commentator, may be hellbent on making herself the center of the story not to satisfy her super-sized ego, but to grease the wheels for a possible jump from Fox News to a more "reputable" outlet like CNN. It has been reported that Megyn Kelly is in active contract negotiations-- reportedly seeking a $20 million salary from Fox News.
But I wouldn't recommend holding your breath while waiting for Fox to renew her contract, because my impression is that Megyn Kelly isn't interested in the money; what she wants more than anything else is to be able to say that she's a "serious" journalist while keeping a straight face. And therein lies the unfortunate moral to this fable: If you want to make a name for yourself as a serious journalist, all you have to do is keep making yourself the center of the story.