Iowa in Absentia – Megyn Kelly’s “Minus-1 Debate”
Reveling in her star role in the making and management of the Iowa Republican Presidential Debate, Fox News’s diva prima donna, Megyn Kelly, star of the nightly Fox News show “The Kelly File,” eclipsed her two co-moderators, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, and jumped from her assigned role as co-moderator, to acting the part of a candidate and active participant herself, by engaging in argument with candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, during last night’s event.
For those who witnessed this spectacle in Des Moines, last night, never have they seen anything like this performance by Ms. Kelly, who acted as though she were a judge presiding over a show called the “GOP Gotcha Game,” as she went beyond her role as questioner and assumed the role of prosecuting attorney, all in a determined effort to make fun of front-runner Donald Trump’s absence, take down the other two front runners, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and prop up the Fox News preferred candidate, Jeb Bush.
When a reporter becomes the story, to the extent that a fair and balanced debate is in question, then a debate has been replaced by nothing less than a feature show, starring a reporter whose looks have, in essence, become a substitute for fair and balanced journalism. Given her tremendous following, thanks in large part to what men perceive as her overall attractiveness, and her over-the-top persona which has propelled Ms. Kelly’s weeknight show high in the ratings, she has taken her lofty position and used it to assume an active role in presidential politics, by picking for herself the winners and losers in the GOP nomination of 2016.
It is true enough that leading candidate Donald Trump has only magnified Kelly’s role in this regard, by first demanding she be pulled from the moderating panel, and then abstaining from participating in the debate, itself, when this demand was rebuffed by Fox News director, Roger Ailes. This led to the misguided perception that he was “afraid” to answer questions posed by Kelly when, in actuality, much more was at play here. It is no secret that Fox News has played an active role in seeking Trump’s marginalization, first by downplaying his candidacy and then by actively criticizing his stances on immigration, his often boorish behavior towards his GOP opponents, and his advocacy of a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. However, behind the scenes, there is much more at play in this tete-a-tete between Trump and Fox News, given the fact that News Corp’s (the owner of Fox News) Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch just happens to also be co-chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), a lobbying firm which advocates open borders.
As for the “debate” itself, Trump’s absence did manage to open up a venue for the “candidate wannabes,” Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ben Carson and John Kasich, to turn in what can arguably be said as their greatest performances, to date. In their respective dust-ups with Megyn Kelly, Marco Rubio managed to fare better than Ted Cruz, both of whom were asked questions about their stances on immigration, coupled with videos of each of them addressing the issue several years before- a first for a presidential debate (surely, it would be a cold day in hell, before any network, including Fox News, would give such treatment to Hillary Clinton in a debate). It is also suspect that the questions posed to Jeb Bush, were comparatively grapefruit-sized “softballs,” which the former Florida governor managed to hit out of the park. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had a good night as well, especially when he said, “Let’s cut out the Washington ‘bull,’ and fix these problems, instead.”
Despite what all of the pundits are saying concerning Donald Trump’s absence from Megyn Kelly’s “Minus 1 Debate”, it will be left to the Iowa voters to determine whether or not “the Donald” made the right decision in sitting this one out. He’s not the first to do so. Ronald Reagan decided not to participate in the Iowa Debate back in 1980, and he ended up trouncing Jimmy Carter in a landslide the following November. Certainly, Trump is no Reagan, but alas, it has become obvious that he is also no fool for Megyn Kelly and Fox News, either.
Let the voting commence!
-Drew Nickell, 28 January 2016
©2016 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved.