The recent flattering coverage of her move to NBC leaves out the ugliest episodes of her work at Fox.
Megyn Kelly had a good 2016. Between her news-making stint as a Fox News debate moderator, a flattering profile in Vanity Fair, and a lucrative book deal, she cemented her reputation as a talented and no-nonsense journalist—one of the most highly paid in the industry. And now she’s making the jump to NBC News, where she will anchor a Sunday evening news show, host a daytime show, and cover major political events. “Megyn is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career,” said NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack in a statement. “She’s demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we’re lucky to have her.”
Another thing Kelly has demonstrated is racist demagoguery, which defined much of her tenure at Fox News.
In 2010, for example, Kelly devoted hours of coverage to the New Black Panther Party, a small group on the fringe of American politics, because two members of the NBPP were charged with voter intimidation after standing outside of a heavily black polling place in Philadelphia in the 2008 election. Those charges were later dropped, but the incident became the basis for a wide-ranging conspiracy disseminated by conservative writers, websites, and—most prominently—Megyn Kelly. Along with Republican activist J. Christian Adams, then a frequent guest of Kelly’s, the Fox News host spun a disturbing tale of voter intimidation and anti-white racism sanctioned by an Eric Holder–helmed Justice Department that she claimed wouldn’t investigate black Americans accused of criminal activity. “Well, think about that. Think about that. … Now you’re going to have instances like this where Black Panthers and others can go to the polling stations and do this if they so choose. And they just basically are gonna get a pass because while it’s not an official thing, it’s been made very clear to all the rank-and-file voting rights attorneys in the DOJ those cases are not to be pursued,” Kelly said during one broadcast before suggesting that Holder was, in fact, involved in a plan to protect the NBPP.
Over the course of two weeks and 45 separate segments, Kelly and her colleagues at Fox News aired video from the Philadelphia incident—where the NBPP members in question shouted insults at white Americans—connecting it to the Obama administration in an effort to paint the president as hostile toward white Americans, part of a broad conspiracy to intimidate white voters. Writing for the Atlantic at the time, Dave Weigel called it a “minstrel show” meant to inflame and exploit racial tensions.