New York Times media reporter John Koblin noted a media skirmish between NBC host/former Fox News personality Megyn Kelly and “Hanoi Jane” Fonda in Business Day: “In Echo of Fox Days, Kelly Lashes Back at Fonda.” Guess who the Times goes after?
Both the headline and text treat Kelly like the attack-dog aggressor regrettably reverting to Fox News form, even though Kelly clearly has Fonda accurately pegged as hypocrtiical regarding the former star’s willingness to discuss her plastic surgery.
In an unusual broadside during NBC’s morning hours on Monday, Megyn Kelly blasted Jane Fonda, the 80-year-old Hollywood eminence who has been critical of the NBC host in recent months.
It wasn’t even 10 a.m.
“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,” Ms. Kelly said, giving NBC viewers a glimpse of her old Fox News persona. “However, Fonda was at it again last week, including right here on NBC, and then again elsewhere. So it’s time to address the ‘poor me’ routine.”
The Kelly-Fonda skirmish began in September, when Ms. Kelly asked about her use of plastic surgery in the first week of “Megyn Kelly Today.” Ms. Fonda seemed thrown by the question, and the clip of the interview went viral, becoming symbolic of Ms. Kelly’s rocky transition from hard-hitting cable news prime time anchor to sunny morning host.
Ms. Fonda has brought up the interview twice in the last week -- during a “Today” appearance with co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, and in a Variety interview over the weekend.
Kelly responded Monday with a collection of clips showing Fonda talking about her plastic surgery in interviews.
Ms. Kelly also invoked Ms. Fonda’s nickname from the cultural wars of five decades ago -- “Hanoi Jane” -- adding that it had been bestowed upon the actress because she had tried to “shame American troops.”
Koblin left out some of what Kelly said about Fonda:
....Look at her treatment of military during the Vietnam War. She posed on an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down our American pilots. She called our POWs hypocrites and liars and referred to their torture as 'understandable.'....
Naturally, Koblin harrumphed that Kelly’s 9 a.m. show, Megyn Kelly Today, was neither the time nor place to criticize a celebrity.
At 9 p.m. on Fox News, where Ms. Kelly made herself into a household name before leaving the cable network for NBC a year ago, such a contretemps would have come and gone. But in the typically warmer and chattier environs of “Today,” where Hollywood goes to plug its wares, Ms. Kelly’s rebuke of a major celebrity stood out and suggested that NBC’s 9 a.m. hour had undergone a change.
He also threw in some anti-Kelly gossip at the end:
Ms. Kelly’s on-air criticism of Ms. Fonda occurred days after a report surfaced that a former “Megyn Kelly Today” employee described her show as a “toxic” workplace.
Koblin prefers liberal hosts like the virulently anti-Trump Stephen Colbert.