Media

NBC Hires Megyn Kelly, Racist Attitudes and All

Kelly might have done some battle with Trump and Ailes, but her views on race are thoroughly Fox newsy.

Photo Credit: Matt Gagnon / Creative Commons

Megyn Kelly, the Fox News stalwart who once reported that both Jesus and Santa are verifiably white, is leaving the network for a new role at NBC, according to the New York Times. Kelly has become one of Fox News’ two most popular and highest paid personalities (the other is Bill O’Reilly) since she landed at the right-wing outlet 12 years ago. The Times reports that Kelly will be multitasking in her new position at NBC, which will include “a triple role in which she will host her own daytime news and discussion program, anchor an in-depth Sunday night news show and take regular part in the network’s special political programming and other big-event coverage.”

Kelly’s departure was not unexpected. In a book released earlier this year, the Fox News host wrote that ex-Fox News head honcho Roger Ailes had, on numerous occasions, offered to help her career in “exchange for sexual favors.” Those allegations came after Gretchen Carlson, another high-profile Fox News star, filed a lawsuit against Ailes claiming years of harassment. A number of other women also stepped forward with similar stories, indicating a pattern of abuse likely dating back decades. Ailes stepped down in July of this year, only to reappear soon after as an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump had made headlines just months before for targeting Kelly and inspiring his supporters to follow suit. The GOP candidate launched his anti-Kelly effort because he didn’t like a debate question Kelly had posed about sexist insults he'd made to numerous women. Trump responded by later calling Kelly a “lightweight” and a “bimbo,” and by making a menstruation joke saying Kelly had “blood coming out of her whatever.”

According to reports, Kelly is being paid $15 million for her last year at Fox News. While there has been no official report from NBC about the hire, and thus no numbers along with it, the Times suggests she likely received a modest raise. While the Times cited anonymous sources in its report, NBC’s Paul Farhi and CNN’s Brian Stelter have both sent tweets saying additional sources have confirmed the news.

It’s worth remembering that Kelly, while she did not deserve the ugly sexist rhetoric sent her way by Trump and others during the presidential campaign, has been a key contributor to the right-wing echo chamber's deft use of racist fearmongering in all things. She has dedicated an inordinate amount of time to propagating the absolutely made-up idea that New Black Panthers are a massive group of militants coming to upend good white peoples’ lives. Kelly once maligned a 15-year-old girl abused by a cop twice her size as “no saint.” She has tossed around words like “thug” to describe unarmed black shooting victims of cops. Her insistence that Santa Claus, a fictional character, is white, is a good indicator of where Kelly stands on race, and how her ideas have influenced her reporting.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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