Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stewart on Megyn Kelly's transformation

Jon Stewart had a brilliant piece on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's surprising change in attitude following her return from maternity leave.
Welcome back. As you know, I watch, uh, I wa--I watch a lot of, uh, uh, Fox News, because I hate my own head. Uh, but my favorite n--Fox News personality, and this is true, hands down: uh, Megyn Kelly, the host of America Live. It runs in the afternoons, and, uh, Megyn went on maternity leave three and a half months ago, and Fox tried to pull a fast one, replacing her with, uh, this lady [clip of Martha MacCallum] for a little bit, and then, in some cases, this other lady [clip of unidentified anchor]. Come on, Fox, you think you can sneak just any pretty blonde lady into Megyn Kelly's chair and we won't notice? [Stewart looks uncomfortably at head shots of the three anchors] All right, it did take me a couple of days to notice. By the way, I happen to know it isn't "anchor lady harvest season" until October.

Well, good news, my friends: Megyn Kelly, back in the studio this week [clip of Kelly with shorter haircut], new hairdo, but the same "take no prisoners!" attitude. Watch her take on this talk-radio host who had the nerve to make a crack about her while she was off the air:

[8 August 2011]
[Kelly] Here's what you said --
[Mike Gallagher] Now let me put on --
[Kelly] -- on your rating--on your radio show --
[Gallagher] Yes.
[Kelly] Stand by.
[from Gallagher radio interview with Chris Wallace from 27 May 2011]
[Gallagher] Megyn's on--still on maternity leave, right?
[Wallace] Yes.
[Gallagher] Boy, that's a--
[Wallace] What do you mean, you--you complaining? She's--
[Gallagher] Well--
[Wallace] She's bonding with her baby.
[Gallagher] What a racket that is. I mean, men don't get to bond--
[Wallace] What a racket?
[Gallagher] Well, how much time does she get off to have to sh--
[Wallace] Probably three months.
[Gallagher snorts derisively]
[Kelly] Would you care to explain those remarks, Mr. Gallagher? Maternity leave? It's a racket?
[Gallagher] Well, are you going to disagree that there isn't -- now, again, I'm a, I'm on my knees--
[Kelly] Oh, you're standing by--are you doubling down?
[Gallagher] --in, in, in apology--
[Kelly] No no no -- are you not taking those remarks back? Is maternity leave, according to you, a racket?
[Stewart, apparently imitating Joe Pesci from Goodfellas] How is it a racket? Does it make you laugh? Is my special bond with my baby here to amuse you? You tell me how it's like a f---ing racket, you son of a bitch! How is my maternity leave a racket?! [pauses] (You f--- my wife? No. Different movie.)

[normal voice] Megyn Kelly is badass. That guy -- that guy was calling maternity leave "a racket". He was saying that women shouldn't get paid for -- and Megyn Kelly was just like, "Raahhr!" Never get between a mama grizzly and her maternity leave. She's making quite a spirited argument, that workers are entitled to certain benefits and that society has an interest in protecting these benefits -- which is great, and really weird. [looks puzzled] Wait, because that's not the -- Fox Megyn Kelly that I thought I knew.

[15 April 2010 interview with Rep. Ron Paul]
[Kelly] Do you think that there's ge--any, um, getting the tentacles that government has--has placed into our lives out [edit] or are we just stuck with these massive entitle--pr--ment programs that we have now?
She used to hate entitlement programs, mandated benefits and things like that. See if you can spot the difference between Megyn Kelly coming off of maternity leave and, and some of her earlier work.

[8 August 2011]
[Kelly] What is it about getting pregnant and carrying a baby nine months that you don't think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place, hmm?
[13 October 2010]
[Kelly] --the entitlement, you know, that sense of entitlement [edit] -- that they've been built into the cake, you know, they're in the system, and so to try to take them away now, it's like trying to take Social Security away. Once it's in--
[John Stossel] Very tough.
[Kelly] --how do you get rid of it?
[8 August 2011]
[Kelly] -- United States is the only advanced country that doesn't require paid leave.
[16 February 2009]
[Kelly] -- free markets should dictate.
[guest] America is still --
[Kelly] The free market should guide.
[guest] No no no --
[Kelly] That's the way it works in Ame--in American society.
[8 August 2011]
[Kelly] If anything, the United States--
[Gallagher] I--I--
[Kelly] --is in the dark ages when it comes to maternity leave --
[11 February 2009]
[Kelly] -- lot of our viewers don't see it that way: they see it as a, the first step toward socialism, they see it as c--the creation of a welfare state --
[8 August 2011]
[Gallagher] Well, do men get maternity leave, Megyn? I, I--
[Kelly] Yeah --
[Gallagher] --can't believe I'm asking you--
[Kelly] Guess what, honey? They do.
[Gallagher] --this 'cause you're just gonna kill me--
[Kelly] Yes, they do. It's called--
[Gallagher] No--really?
[Kelly] --the Family--
[Gallagher] Real--
[Kelly] --Medical Leave Act. If men would like to take--
[Gallagher] Right.
[Kelly] --three months off to go take care of their newborn baby, they can.
[12 June 2008]
[Kelly] Correct me if I'm wrong, Lee, but don't they call it "maternity leave" for a reason? [edit] How is it discriminatory to give less time to the man who didn't have the baby?
[Stewart pauses uncomfortably to look at audience] I know what happened: when you cut your hair, it sapped your conservative strength, like a right-wing Samson. That means Rachel Maddow's just ten scissorsless weeks from a Fox contract!

See this--this is the problem with entitlements: they're really only "entitlements" when they're something other people want. When it's something you want, they're a hallmark of a civilized society, the foundation of a great people. "I just had a baby, and found out maternity leave strengthens society. But since I still have a job, unemployment benefits are clearly socialism."

To put it more simply:

[George Carlin standup footage]
Have you noticed that their stuff is s--t and your s--t is stuff?
Once again, George Carlin says in a sentence what took us three and a half minutes.

So either Megyn Kelly has inadvertently exposed the hypocrisy at the heart of conservative demonization of unions and the working class, or -- oh my God, it's worse than we thought: Megyn Kelly is suffering from postpartum compassion.

It'll pass.
Here's the clip.

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