Of course she’s not. But being the simple minded creatures that many men have proven to be, it won’t be long before that narrative springs up on some conspiracy web site and some kook starts to put his own version of two and two together. I can preview it fairly easily and it goes a little something like this:
As Megyn Kelly’s power has risen, so have the powerful men around her fallen. After they gave her everything she wanted at Fox News, she left and both Roger Aisles and Bill O’Reilly got taken down by sexual harassment charges. They lost millions of dollars and perhaps more importantly their reputations were destroyed. Then Megyn Kelly went to NBC. She was in an open power struggle with Matt Lauer and then- BOOM- Matt Lauer goes down. And just like the others, he loses millions of dollars and his reputation is destroyed. It’s HER! Megyn Kelly is the Devil In A Blue Dress- taking down rich and powerful men wherever she goes!
What is most durable about this kind of a narrative is how it can unify men of vastly different political persuasions against her. Sure the conclusion that she is an agent bent on destroying men sounds crazy- but it does not sound as far flung as some of the other conspiracy theories that have taken hold in certain corners of the country. Let’t not forget that a significant portion of the American public is STILL not convinced that Barack Obama is a natural born American citizen and that the government has a giant weather machine that creates natural disasters on-demand. But when it comes to the Megyn Kelly conspiracy, the facts are perfectly aligned with the record.
What is faulty is the analysis- not that that would bother the type of guy who is inclined to believe that the Sandy Hook Shooting was a government hoax.
But here is the reality: The meteoric rise of Megyn Kelly as a power-broker in media does coincide with the collapse of predatory maleness in the news media industry. It has far less to do with Megyn’s character or her ambitions, which are perfectly aligned with the opportunities that she has availed herself of. It has everything to do with the fact that there has not been a woman of her persuasion and profile to shoot so close to the top of such a male-centric industry and it moved the ground like an earthquake with many many aftershocks.
Megyn’s “persuasion and profile” are that she is an undeniably conservative leaning broadcast journalist who is objectively attractive, fiercely independent and legitimately scholarly. No she is no match for Rachel Maddow but she doesn’t have to be- and very few are anyway. She came off of the Fox News plantation and proved that she did not need to be shepherded through a lucrative career by Roger Aisles, Rupert Murdoch or Bill O’Reilly.
She blew up and grew into bigger opportunities at NBC. The fact that the rulers of the world she left behind were toppled in her wake is about their inability to leverage power responsibly and her rise just illuminates it. There is no evidence that Megyn has spent any time down on her knees in anybody’s office along the way, either. And she has detailed her experiences that prove it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Megyn Kelly cut through all of that and women in the industry saw that happen. And whether they like her or not (and most don’t) her feat made a difference in how other women wanted the game played going forward and saw what could be done. After more than a hundred years of trying, track athletes finally saw someone run a mile in 4 minutes. On May 6th of 1954 Britain’s Roger Bannister was the first human being to be clocked running a mile in 4 minutes.
But a funny thing happened just two months later: ANOTHER runner, Australia’s John Lady did it. After that, the floodgates opened and the 4 minute mile became the standard for elite runners. By 1964, it was being done in an American high school.
The point is, Megyn Kelly ran the 4 minute mile for women in the high profile workplace at least. Now women want to clear the deck completely- purge all of the bad actors who they have known to torment, objectify and suppress women in that world so that they can all really run and see when they can run their own 4 minute mile. It may not be on camera, but anywhere in that world or in any world tangentially connected to it. It is no longer a question of IF they can do it. It is a question of WHEN they will do it.
And instinctively men know that and many are getting worried about their own futures because of their own pasts. Its real. And when that worry hits a fever pitch, watch out for a lot of heat to come Megyn Kelly’s way.
Because she is already deeply unpopular with some people, that energy will be exploited to at least stop her from advancing the optics of a full blown estrogen tidal wave taking over the industry. She wants Matt Lauer’s chair- and she should because everybody wants it. And with all of the money that NBC is paying her already, she might just get it. Despite the fact that I do not personally like her, it would be the right thing at the right time for the right reason.