April 17, 2016

CNN's Reliable Sources, hosted by Brian Stelter, featured a typical roundtable discussion about how Donald Trump is dividing Rupert Murdoch's media empire. The very public feud between one of their prime time stars, Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump, which began during the first GOP Debate in August, has caused some palpable tension. This spurned the recent meeting between Trump and Kelly, in an effort to clear the air between the two. This was remedied by the network after some of Fox's viewers booed the mention of her name at a recent Hannity/Trump Fox News town hall.

As per usual, the discussion features three R.S. regulars: Jane Hall, Frank Sesno and Michael Oreskes, all veterans of the media business. The
Ex-Fox News employee and professor at American University, Jane Hall praises Megyn Kelly for her professional accomplishments, operating on the assumption that Kelly is first and foremost a journalist, regardless of the format of The Kelly Files.

STELTER: It seems to me she's doing genuine soul searching about what she wants to do next, and she's giving these interviews saying she might leave FOX really kind of thinking out loud about what she might do.

HALL: Well I think so too. Having known her when I was on Fox 'News' she is a journalist, and she has always been somebody who is interested in the story. I mean even when she was attacked vociferously by him, I think she has tried not to react in kind. And yet at the same time, I would assume she's savvy enough to know that an interview with him would be QUITE an interview on Fox.

Sticking to the topic of the rift within the Murdoch empire, Stelter resorted to Bloody Bill Kristol on Twitter to capture the schism in the GOP and its network.

Frank Sesno, a PBS and CNN veteran, sees Megyn Kelly's situation a bit differently. He thinks Kelly and Fox will continue their relationship.

SESNO: I'm watching her and I'm watching this thing play out and I feel like I'm watching the news version of House of Cards.

HALL: (laughing) Tell us about that.

SESNO: Well, she goes on with Colbert for example and very coyly, reminds the audience, that when she's on the air at 9, the person before her, O'Reilly, the person after her, Hannity; those are both taped shows, she's live. And that makes it a little bit better.

She has a great time slot and Sesno believes she won't give that up. The AP's Oreskas addresses the issue of punditry versus journalism next. Somehow, Megyn Kelly fits the latter more aptly.

ORESKAS: There's a split here between journalism and political advocacy. Megyn Kelly is a journalist I don't think there's any doubt about that. She's a very good journalist.

Sesno concurs again, citing as an example of how she came down hard on Trump at that first debate. These panelists are certainly not the first to tout Kelly's journalism 'bona fides.'

During an April 3 interview of the Fox host on CBS Sunday Morning, host Charlie Rose described Kelly as "a self-described independent with a reputation for asking tough questions to anyone, Democrat and Republican alike." Rose further added, "her legal skills, along with a willingness to take on some of America's big name conservatives, quickly made Kelly a rising star" at Fox News.

But Kelly's record of rampant misinformation and conservative advocacy from behind the anchor desk was left out of the interview, and the accompanying write-up on CBS' website.

The way that Fox News proceeds with how they will frame the debate over Trump's impact upon the GOP's future is extremely critical. In fact, these pundits understand that Fox News is the direct communication arm of the GOP, and Megyn Kelly, alleged 'journalist,' is one of their assets. That's fairly obvious.

What's most surprising about these media veterans, and Stelter, is their inability to differentiate a pundit from a journalist and lend artificial credibility to someone who proselytizes the memes of the Republican Party as a consummate professional. A few tough questions leveled at a bloviating maniac should not erase years of obvious bigotry and partiality.

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