One year ago, Megyn Kelly was the biggest rising star in the media. But ever since she turned to NBC for her show Megyn Kelly TODAY, things just haven’t gone right. After her show’s first week, Complex called her new show a disaster.
“…Let’s just say the first week didn’t go as smoothly as planned, opening with 2.93 million viewers and dropping to 2.4 million viewers by Thursday, according to Nielsen.”
Breitbart, a conservative website that used to celebrate Kelly, even took joy with her problems. In one article, they called her “toxic” and gleefully reported how the former Fox News star was dragging down NBC’s lucrative Today franchise before referring to her as “vapid.” Breitbart also was one of the first sites who reported how a top male writer for Kelly was fired after he complained about the toxic environment to which he had been subjected.
For months, it’s been one PR problem after another for Kelly. Last week, Kelly made a statement about her problems with Jane Fonda, who chastised Kelly after the host asked her about plastic surgery.
“When she first complained publicly after the program, and repeatedly, I chose to say nothing, as my general philosophy is what other people think of me is none of my business,” the Washington Post quotes Kelly as revealing, adding that Kelly was angry that Fonda kept repeating the “poor me” mantra.
Then, Kelly showed clips of Fonda in her famous “Hanoi Jane” pictures, which some saw as a low blow since the beef between Kelly and Fonda has nothing to do with Fonda’s Vietnam War controversy.
Tim Teeman of the Daily Beast thinks that this clip proves Megyn Kelly is trying to set up a Fox News-like atmosphere on NBC.
“A peeved journalist who didn’t get the scoop about an actress’ plastic surgery decided to attack the same actress for a controversy that is over 45 years old. It was hardly like for like, and Kelly’s attack seemed strange, overwrought and bizarrely nasty.”
Teeman adds that Kelly is acting desperate because the original vision of her show has not worked out. Even Wendy Williams got into the action. A clip on her website shows Williams chastising Fonda, even asking if her show is still on. She criticizes Kelly for using her Jane Fonda feud for ratings in the same way Jerry Springer used to do.
However, Megyn Kelly is being defended by the Boston Globe‘s Joan Vennochi, who notes that although Kelly isn’t perfect, the vitriol against her is out of proportion to her alleged crimes. She believes Kelly should be praised more for taking on Donald Trump when she was at Fox News. Vennochi also argues that if people could constantly hold Kelly’s past against her, they should be able to do the same with Jane Fonda.
Vennochi is a rare journalist who has taken a step to defend Megyn Kelly, who finds herself a pariah among her former conservative viewers and liberal audiences who remember she was a star at a conservative network. It’s not a good position to be in, but Kelly will try her best to find a balanced footing.