Megyn Kelly sold out to Trump

If you were waiting Tuesday night for the Megyn Kelly of the Fox News debates to grill Donald Trump over his slash-and-burn primary campaign, his ad hominem attacks on opponents and Kelly herself, or his inconsistent and often incoherent policy statements, you were sadly disappointed.

Instead we got the ambitious Vanity Fair cover girl doing her best Barbara Walters imitation, asking touchy-feely questions to the point where Oprah Winfrey might sue for copyright infringement.  There were no questions about the Trump University fraud case going to trial, trying to seize a widow’s home through eminent domain, his position on abolishing NATO, his love of single-payer health care, or his position that Planned Parenthood does good things.  As the Los Angeles Times so deliciously put it:

Megyn Kelly didn’t ask Donald Trump to headline her Fox special “Megyn Kelly Presents” so she could pin him down on foreign and domestic policy issues, or even confront him about the months-long troll attack he launched after she dared question him during the first Republican debate about his penchant for misogynistic language.

No, she invited him to costar in an hourlong infomercial for her new book….

We watched because we wanted to see Kelly, tempered by the Trump’s bitter attack and buoyed by near-national support, hold his question-dodging feet to some sort of fire.

Instead, we got a rehash of all that Kelly endured followed by a battle of the low-talkers in which Kelly, clearly prepped to avoid anything that might smack of hostility, searched for the source of Trump’s rage while she gently suggested that perhaps presidents should not be so mean, and Trump tried to appear as if he were answering her questions when indeed he was not….

Opening with the softest ball imaginable — When did it occur to you that you could be president? — Kelly initially pursued a theme of regret: Did Trump feel he had made any mistakes in the campaign? How did the death of his brother affect him? Had he learned anything from his divorces? Then she took things to a near-psychoanalytic place: Has Trump ever been wounded, or bullied?

Really?  This fluff was a far cry from the opening salvo in the first debate, when Kelly grilled Trump on his views on women – a grilling that caused Trump to skip a Fox debate to hold a fundraiser for veterans.  By the way, Mr. Trump, Megyn could have asked, why has so much of that money raised not yet reached veterans groups?

The ambitious Kelly is at a crossroads in her career, with her contract at Fox expiring a little more than a year from now.  She fancies herself as the next Diane Sawyer, for whom she has professed admiration, or the next Barbara Walters.  As Variety noted last June:

Her boss, Roger Ailes, reveals that he’s giving his star a series of primetime specials to air on Fox News starting early next year. These one-hour interviews with high-profile subjects in the news, including celebrities and sports figures, will look like her Duggars scoop with TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” reality stars Jim Bob and Michelle, who broke their silence about reports that their son Josh molested their daughters as a teenager. Kelly believes there’s an opening for this kind of long-form journalism on TV. “Barbara Walters has retired,” Kelly observes. “Diane Sawyer left her anchor role. Oprah has moved to the OWN network and is doing a different thing now. So why not me?”

Why not, indeed?  Maybe further ticking off a possible president might not fit into her plans.  The star of Megyn Kelly Presents would love to have prime, if not exclusive, access to a President Trump.  Tuesday night’s Megyn Kelly was not the one of whom Trump tweeted:

Crazy @megynkelly says I don't (won't) go on her show and she still gets good ratings. But almost all of her shows are negative hits on me! (10:14 AM - 19 Mar 2016)

Fret not, Donald.  No more “negative hits” from Megyn Kelly, or from anyone else at Fox News, for that matter.  Kelly was long a holdout, but now it would appear that the last body-snatcher pod has been slipped into the last office.  You’ve just had your “kumbaya” moment with Megyn.

Last Tuesday, she was certainly not the next Edward R. Morrow, or even the next candidate for 60 Minutes in its “gotcha” heyday.  There was not a single probing question on Trump University.  Why not?  The Trump University fraud case is serious business, one that speaks volumes about Trump’s business ethics and exactly how much “art” is in his “deals.”  New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman calls it a “straightforward fraud case.”  As the New York Daily News recently reported:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Sunday rejected suggestions that his office’s case against presidential candidate Donald Trump’s defunct “Trump University” was at all political.

“This is a straightforward fraud case. We never had any idea in 2013 the guy was going to run for president,” Schneiderman said on John Catsimatidis’ “Cats Roundtable” program on AM 970. “This is not a political case. This just a case where a lot of New Yorkers were ripped off.”

“There were thousands of folks who thought they were going to learn from real estate experts who were handpicked by Trump and that they would learn his personal secrets,” Schneiderman said. “Thousands of  people (who) paid as much as $35,000 to $45,000.”

Ironically, it was Megyn Kelly who grilled Trump on his “university” during the debates.  Megyn Kelly would grill him on his fabrications about the questionable activities of Trump University and its ratings by the Better Business Bureau.  As Newsmax noted:

Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly on Monday accused Donald Trump of a "head fake" when he said his Trump University was upgraded from a "D-minus" Better Business Bureau rating to an "A."

Trump first challenged Kelly during the most recent Republican presidential debate, at which she was a moderator. During a commercial break, Trump handed the moderators a faxed paper he said showed the school, which is the subject of a fraud lawsuit in New York and a class-actions suits from some former students, currently has an "A" rating.

Kelly noted Monday that the BBB denied sending the fax to the Trump campaign, and she added that the D-minus was never upgraded until after the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneurial Initiative and stopped accepting new students.

"Mr. Trump now accuses your humble debate moderator of dishonesty," Kelly said. "We stand by our reporting, which has been verified by multiple news organizations as well as the Better Business Bureau. Trump University had a 'D-minus' rating

Megyn Kelly can now be accused of a career-making head fake of her own, abandoning serious journalism to get a free ride on the Trump train on her way to fame and fortune.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

If you were waiting Tuesday night for the Megyn Kelly of the Fox News debates to grill Donald Trump over his slash-and-burn primary campaign, his ad hominem attacks on opponents and Kelly herself, or his inconsistent and often incoherent policy statements, you were sadly disappointed.

Instead we got the ambitious Vanity Fair cover girl doing her best Barbara Walters imitation, asking touchy-feely questions to the point where Oprah Winfrey might sue for copyright infringement.  There were no questions about the Trump University fraud case going to trial, trying to seize a widow’s home through eminent domain, his position on abolishing NATO, his love of single-payer health care, or his position that Planned Parenthood does good things.  As the Los Angeles Times so deliciously put it:

Megyn Kelly didn’t ask Donald Trump to headline her Fox special “Megyn Kelly Presents” so she could pin him down on foreign and domestic policy issues, or even confront him about the months-long troll attack he launched after she dared question him during the first Republican debate about his penchant for misogynistic language.

No, she invited him to costar in an hourlong infomercial for her new book….

We watched because we wanted to see Kelly, tempered by the Trump’s bitter attack and buoyed by near-national support, hold his question-dodging feet to some sort of fire.

Instead, we got a rehash of all that Kelly endured followed by a battle of the low-talkers in which Kelly, clearly prepped to avoid anything that might smack of hostility, searched for the source of Trump’s rage while she gently suggested that perhaps presidents should not be so mean, and Trump tried to appear as if he were answering her questions when indeed he was not….

Opening with the softest ball imaginable — When did it occur to you that you could be president? — Kelly initially pursued a theme of regret: Did Trump feel he had made any mistakes in the campaign? How did the death of his brother affect him? Had he learned anything from his divorces? Then she took things to a near-psychoanalytic place: Has Trump ever been wounded, or bullied?

Really?  This fluff was a far cry from the opening salvo in the first debate, when Kelly grilled Trump on his views on women – a grilling that caused Trump to skip a Fox debate to hold a fundraiser for veterans.  By the way, Mr. Trump, Megyn could have asked, why has so much of that money raised not yet reached veterans groups?

The ambitious Kelly is at a crossroads in her career, with her contract at Fox expiring a little more than a year from now.  She fancies herself as the next Diane Sawyer, for whom she has professed admiration, or the next Barbara Walters.  As Variety noted last June:

Her boss, Roger Ailes, reveals that he’s giving his star a series of primetime specials to air on Fox News starting early next year. These one-hour interviews with high-profile subjects in the news, including celebrities and sports figures, will look like her Duggars scoop with TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” reality stars Jim Bob and Michelle, who broke their silence about reports that their son Josh molested their daughters as a teenager. Kelly believes there’s an opening for this kind of long-form journalism on TV. “Barbara Walters has retired,” Kelly observes. “Diane Sawyer left her anchor role. Oprah has moved to the OWN network and is doing a different thing now. So why not me?”

Why not, indeed?  Maybe further ticking off a possible president might not fit into her plans.  The star of Megyn Kelly Presents would love to have prime, if not exclusive, access to a President Trump.  Tuesday night’s Megyn Kelly was not the one of whom Trump tweeted:

Crazy @megynkelly says I don't (won't) go on her show and she still gets good ratings. But almost all of her shows are negative hits on me! (10:14 AM - 19 Mar 2016)

Fret not, Donald.  No more “negative hits” from Megyn Kelly, or from anyone else at Fox News, for that matter.  Kelly was long a holdout, but now it would appear that the last body-snatcher pod has been slipped into the last office.  You’ve just had your “kumbaya” moment with Megyn.

Last Tuesday, she was certainly not the next Edward R. Morrow, or even the next candidate for 60 Minutes in its “gotcha” heyday.  There was not a single probing question on Trump University.  Why not?  The Trump University fraud case is serious business, one that speaks volumes about Trump’s business ethics and exactly how much “art” is in his “deals.”  New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman calls it a “straightforward fraud case.”  As the New York Daily News recently reported:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Sunday rejected suggestions that his office’s case against presidential candidate Donald Trump’s defunct “Trump University” was at all political.

“This is a straightforward fraud case. We never had any idea in 2013 the guy was going to run for president,” Schneiderman said on John Catsimatidis’ “Cats Roundtable” program on AM 970. “This is not a political case. This just a case where a lot of New Yorkers were ripped off.”

“There were thousands of folks who thought they were going to learn from real estate experts who were handpicked by Trump and that they would learn his personal secrets,” Schneiderman said. “Thousands of  people (who) paid as much as $35,000 to $45,000.”

Ironically, it was Megyn Kelly who grilled Trump on his “university” during the debates.  Megyn Kelly would grill him on his fabrications about the questionable activities of Trump University and its ratings by the Better Business Bureau.  As Newsmax noted:

Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly on Monday accused Donald Trump of a "head fake" when he said his Trump University was upgraded from a "D-minus" Better Business Bureau rating to an "A."

Trump first challenged Kelly during the most recent Republican presidential debate, at which she was a moderator. During a commercial break, Trump handed the moderators a faxed paper he said showed the school, which is the subject of a fraud lawsuit in New York and a class-actions suits from some former students, currently has an "A" rating.

Kelly noted Monday that the BBB denied sending the fax to the Trump campaign, and she added that the D-minus was never upgraded until after the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneurial Initiative and stopped accepting new students.

"Mr. Trump now accuses your humble debate moderator of dishonesty," Kelly said. "We stand by our reporting, which has been verified by multiple news organizations as well as the Better Business Bureau. Trump University had a 'D-minus' rating

Megyn Kelly can now be accused of a career-making head fake of her own, abandoning serious journalism to get a free ride on the Trump train on her way to fame and fortune.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.