On Friday evening, former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was the featured guest on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
During the segment, Kelly and host Bill Maher covered multiple topics, including sexual harassment at Fox, how the media is “broken,” honesty in reporting, and cancel culture.
Regarding the movie “Bombshell,” which depicted the alleged sexual harassment faced by female Fox News employees under late CEO Roger Ailes, Kelly said the she sees the film as a “force for good because it helps shine a light on how it’s done,” and “how women who may not be that well connected” like herself and Gretchen Carlson, faced the same issue.
Maher interjected: “You had that in common. You both had to twirl for Roger Ailes.”
Kelly explained that the “twirl,” as well as “worse things” that happened to her, aren’t necessarily about the acts themselves, but about being demeaned and controlled.
Maher moved on to media, asking Kelly what she means when she says that the “media is broken.”
You know it’s true, right? The media is so messed up. It’s disheartening to me, and I’ve felt this way for a long time – not just since Trump. And I know Trump’s rhetoric is too strong – “enemy of the people” and all that, and I know why he says it. There [are] still amazing journalists out there doing great work, but the media is completely biased.
At this point, Maher tried to claim that the media isn’t really politically biased because Fox News exists, to which Kelly noted that the reason Fox grew in popularity was because it was the singular outlet that represented “the other side of the coin.”
Maher then claimed that the media is truly biased toward “money and conflict because that’s what sells.” He then cited the alleged disappointment he saw in the media when the recent Second Amendment rally in Virginia turned out to be peaceful.
“That’s what I think the media bias is, more than politics,” Maher said.
Kelly shot back, saying that even though she believes that there was a “liberal slant in the media” prior to President Trump, it has developed into something much greater since he took office:
Take CNN – he came in there and said, “CNN is completely biased to the left, they’re lefties, they’re completely against me,” and my take on it was in the beginning, he was wrong. CNN wasn’t that way. I used to watch CNN all the time when I was at Fox. When I was getting ready for the “Kelly File,” I’d have on CNN, and I’d watch a lot of their shows, and I liked a lot of the anchors over there.
However, suggested Kelly, CNN has now become “the thing Trump said they were,” and are “indistinguishable from MSNBC.”
Maher pushed back, saying it’s “very hard to cover a guy like Trump who does awful things.” Kelly agreed, but then Maher added that such coverage would make anchors or networks “look left-wing.”
Kelly disagreed, telling Maher that one can remain journalistically non-biased even in the face of a difficult president:
I totally disagree with you. When I was doing “The Kelly File” at primetime 9 p.m. on Fox News, he was attacking me for nine months straight, right? Saying outrageous things. It took everything in me to go out on the set night after night and not make it personal, and not have a vendetta against him, and not be overly harsh on him because of what he was doing to me and my family – but I did it. It’s doable. You just have to remember, it’s not about you! It’s about the audience and the truth.
Later in the segment, the two spoke about political correctness and “cancel culture.”
“I was angry for you, honestly,” Maher said of NBC firing Kelly after her comments about blackface. “Because this cancel culture – it’s so funny, when they do polls, they find like 80% to 90% of the people in this county hate this s***.”
Maher asked: “Who are these perfect people who have never made any mistake?”
I mean, my own take on it is, the country’s going through something right now, you know? Marginalized groups are rising up and trying to find positions at the table, equal positions, and that’s a good thing. The difference is in approach. How do we do it? And I understand this fight because as a woman and somebody who’s, you know, been in the position I was in that we talked about, I have also felt marginalized at times, and like I don’t have an equal footing, but the question is, do we do it with grace and humanity and understanding that people make mistakes and that we’re all imperfect and we’re gonna screw up … and kindness and an understanding that we’re all only here for a limited time and we can’t expect a perfect score?
“What’s galling is that the people who hate bullying are always bullying,” Maher said. “If you even talk about this, it’ll only make it worse. That’s bullying. The people who love diversity, except of opinion. There’s only one true opinion.”
Kelly noted that “the Right” has been saying the same thing about ideological diversity, to which Maher said that the Right engages in the snowflakery as well.
Speaking of the “woke” group, Maher stated: “They’re gross because all they care about is getting a scalp on the wall. They don’t care if you’re really a racist, which you’re not. They don’t care about a million things … and they always want to find the worst version of what any person is.”
Kelly agreed, adding that the way it used to be was younger generations taught older generations to see the world in a new way instead of having the older generations “cancelled because they didn’t immediately agree or start talking about the issues in the way they wanted.”
“We have to get back to talking to each other so there’s buy-in, so people feel heard, and we allow for disagreement, respectful, kindness,” Kelly concluded.