Megyn Kelly: Anti-Kavanaugh Media Fueling ‘Backlash’ Against Dems

While the rest of Thursday’s network morning shows ignored new polling data showing an enthusiasm surge among Republican voters ahead of the midterm elections, NBC anchor Megyn Kelly not only reported the bad news for Democrats, but pointed to biased and irresponsible media coverage as one reason for the public “backlash” against liberal lawmakers.  

During a discussion of the FBI completing an inquiry into allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Kelly called out her press colleagues: “Can we just talk for a minute about the media? Because what we’re seeing right now is the latest polls show that the Democrats may have overplayed their hand in this whole thing.”

 

 

The host detailed various reports showing political momentum for Republicans:

The polls show, this is Axios, a big article, “A surprising and widespread surge in GOP voter enthusiasm stemming largely for support for Kavanaugh.” Josh Holmes, former aide to McConnell, says, “The Kavanaugh debate has dropped a political grenade in the middle of an electorate that had been largely locked in Democrats’ favor for the past six months.” An NPR poll just out now finds, “The wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that had defined this campaign, the 2018 midterms, to this point, has disappeared.”

Kelly then concluded: “And I would submit to you it’s in part because of what we’ve seen – how we’ve seen the Democrats try to maneuver Dr. Ford and others as political weapons and some in the media who have run with these reports....the pile on and the reporting about, you know, him throwing ice and him calling his 18-year-old buddies a bunch of drunks....There’s a backlash.”

PBS In Principle host Amy Holmes added: “And Megyn, it was predictable that it could be a rallying cry for Republicans. I predicted this last week and Senator Lindsey Graham has said he has never seen an event that has been more unifying for Republicans.” She then observed: “And in the NPR polling, what’s interesting it has been very activating for conservative women who have seen this process unfold and said, ‘We cannot have this in our country where we presume guilt instead of presuming innocence.’”

Kelly blasted those trying to convict anyone accused of misconduct without corroborating evidence:

I’ve said this from the beginning, “believe women” may sound like a nice slogan, but it is utterly inconsistent with the fundamental principles of our justice system. Utterly inconsistent. Women are entitled to an open mind and a fair hearing, not to a presumption that their accusations are true. Men get due process as well....And I reject the attempt to shame anyone as sexist or misogynistic if they choose instead to use their common sense and make up their own minds based on the facts, based on the evidence.

Former NFL player and co-host of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior Akbar Gbaja-Biamila was on the panel, and joined in the criticism of the news media:

Well, and because of social media, because of just the quick response in the way even media is handling this and the way they cover it, it’s just the minute you make an accusation, immediately, just like you said, you’re presumed guilty. And it’s almost like you have no fighting chance, especially if you’re on the receiving end of it. You don’t have a fighting chance now. You’ve got to do stuff to prove it. And by then, they don’t cover it with the same intensity. And that’s part of the issue.

Seeming to once again take her own network to task, Kelly declared: “It’s like, as Julie Swetnick’s claims have collapsed against Brett Kavanaugh, where’s the media talking about that? About the litany of problems this woman’s had when it comes to truthfulness and so on.”

Earlier on Thursday’s Today show, correspondent Peter Alexander hyped Democratic complaints that the FBI’s Kavanaugh inquiry “did not go far enough.” At the beginning of the panel discussion on her show, Kelly actually critiqued Alexander’s assertion in that report that President Trump’s recent comments pointing out flaws in Ford’s testimony were “potentially complicating Kavanaugh’s confirmation”:

I don’t know if Peter Alexander’s right with his comment that Trump’s remarks on Ford potentially complicate Kavanaugh’s nomination. Of course those three senators whose, you know, vote we’re all waiting to hear, are gonna say that was inappropriate. Of course they are. But that doesn’t mean anything about how they’re going to vote.

Here are excerpts of the October 4 discussion on Megyn Kelly Today:

9:03 AM ET

(...)

AMY HOLMES: And you know, for all the back and forth about President Trump’s remarks, it’s not going to be about President Trump, it’s going to be about Judge Kavanaugh, and those three Republicans and how they feel about voting yes or no, and particularly what their constituents are telling them about that vote.

MEGYN KELLY: Yeah, I don’t know if Peter Alexander’s right with his comment that Trump’s remarks on Ford potentially complicate Kavanaugh’s nomination. Of course those three senators whose, you know, vote we’re all waiting to hear, are gonna say that was inappropriate. Of course they are. But that doesn't mean anything about how they’re going to vote.

(...)

9:06 AM ET

KELLY: Can we just talk for a minute about the media? Because what we’re seeing right now is the latest polls show that the Democrats may have overplayed their hand in this whole thing. The polls show, this is Axios, a big article, “A surprising and widespread surge in GOP voter enthusiasm stemming largely for support for Kavanaugh.” Josh Holmes, former aide to McConnell, says, “The Kavanaugh debate has dropped a political grenade in the middle of an electorate that had been largely locked in Democrats’ favor for the past six months.” An NPR poll just out now finds, “The wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that had defined this campaign, the 2018 midterms, to this point, has disappeared.”

And I would submit to you it’s in part because of what we’ve seen – how we’ve seen the Democrats try to maneuver Dr. Ford and others as political weapons and some in the media who have run with these reports. And even Difi [Dianne Feinstein] cross examined Kavanaugh about this completely discredited third accuser Julie Swetnick, who’s got a list of problems. And I think people are getting that Ford is one thing, but the pile on and the reporting about, you know, him throwing ice and him calling his 18-year-old buddies a bunch of drunks, as though it’s like “Aha!”

AKBAR GBAJA-BIAMILA [CO-HOST, AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR]: I got you.

KELLY: There’s a backlash.

HOLMES: And Megyn, it was predictable that it could be a rallying cry for Republicans. I predicted this last week and Senator Lindsey Graham has said he has never seen an event that has been more unifying for Republicans. And in the NPR polling, what’s interesting it has been very activating for conservative women who have seen this process unfold and said, “We cannot have this in our country where we presume guilt instead of presuming innocence.”

KELLY: That’s the thing. I’ve said this from the beginning, “believe women” may sound like a nice slogan, but it is utterly inconsistent with the fundamental principles of our justice system. Utterly inconsistent. Women are entitled to an open mind and a fair hearing, not to a presumption that their accusations are true. Men get due process as well. [Applause]

GBAJA-BIAMILA: And that’s very fair. We’ve seen that tip. We’ve definitely seen that tip and the pressure from men as well. But just to be fair is what you’re saying. And I totally agree, yeah.

GADI SCHWARTZ: But I think there’s some blame that goes to the Democrats as well, coming forward before the nomination hearings and saying that they’re going to oppose anybody, payback for Merrick [Garland]. Before we got to any of this, before any of this came out. And so, automatically it was a political issue, as opposed to looking at the facts of a case or looking at the allegations that have come forward.

KELLY: It was amazing to listen to Kirsten Gillibrand, the senator from New York, get out there and say, “These Republicans don’t have an open mind,” at the hearing. She came on NBC and said, “They don’t have an open mind.” Before the hearing started, she said, “I believe Christine Ford. I do not believe him.” And same thing with Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, was out there saying the same thing, like, “They don’t have an open mind.” She was the one who was out there – The New York Times actually said, “It sounds like you’re not open minded.” She said, “I’m not.” I mean, it’s like, so could you spare me? Right?  

HOLMES: But Megyn, there’s a larger danger, and it’s the #MeToo movement morphing into “believe women.” #MeToo is about asserting your dignity, your solidarity with other women. “Believe women,” that’s a command. That is you – that’s almost getting into sort of religious territory of you must believe women. But look, there are people who fake cancer, there are people who fake a lot of things in life. And we need to look at the facts before we make those decisions.

KELLY: Absolutely right. And I reject the attempt to shame anyone as sexist or misogynistic if they choose instead to use their common sense and make up their own minds based on the facts, based on the evidence.

GBAJA-BIAMILA: Well, and because of social media, because of just the quick response in the way even media is handling this and the way they cover it, it’s just the minute you make an accusation, immediately, just like you said, you’re presumed guilty. And it’s almost like you have no fighting chance, especially if you’re on the receiving end of it. You don’t have a fighting chance now. You’ve got to do stuff to prove it. And by then, they don’t cover it with the same intensity.

KELLY: No.

GBAJA-BIAMILA: And that’s part of the issue.

KELLY: That’s the thing. It’s like, as Julie Swetnick’s claims have collapsed against Brett Kavanaugh, where’s the media talking about that? About the litany of problems this woman’s had when it comes to truthfulness and so on. No. We’ve been covering it here. What do people say?  “You’re victim shaming.” Come on. We are allowed to look at the credibility of an accuser. And that doesn’t – and we as women need to be careful because if there’s a presumption of guilt in all cases, how are we going to get people to listen to us in the next case?

HOLMES: And Megyn, there’s another danger of this. And we’ve seen it on college campuses in terms of anecdotal evidence, and that’s the racial angle. And on college campuses, disproportionately young men of color are accused of these crimes and then are put in a situation where they can’t defend themselves. So we need to be very careful about how we walk down this road.

KELLY: Absolutely. What happened on college campuses is sort of a harbinger of what’s been going on in the country. Where we swung the pendulum so far back against men, took away their due process rights. They don’t have the right to cross examine, they don’t have the right to an attorney, they don’t have the right to evidence. They don’t have the right to see e-mails, for example, that a woman accusing them has sent, maybe saying it was consensual. They don’t have that right. Or they didn’t under President Obama when he was trying to do a good thing but overcorrected. Something I said on the air and his former education secretary Arnie Duncan called me a liar. Guess what, Arnie, why don’t you come on this show and say that? We’ll have a debate. [Applause]  

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