Hell hath no fury like Fox News scorned

Hell hath no fury like Fox News scorned

by digby

I don't feel sorry for Megyn Kelly. She's a right-wing hack and she made her bed. Still, this is pretty astonishing:

For 18 turbulent months at NBC, when Megyn Kelly stumbled, her former employer was lurking in the shadows—eagerly waiting to kick her while she was down.

Soon after Kelly departed her highly rated prime-time perch at Fox News in early 2017, Fox News’ notoriously ruthless public-relations and communications arm began encouraging outside reporters to cover negative stories about Kelly—a practice that continued right up to the “blackface” comment that proved to be her downfall.

Multiple sources tell The Daily Beast that top Fox flack Irena Briganti’s team suggested other media outlets write not just about Kelly’s “blackface” remarks, but about several other missteps throughout her NBC career.

According to two sources familiar with the situation, when Megyn Kelly Today showed initial signs of terrible ratings at NBC, the Fox News comms apparatus flagged those numbers for media reporters.

Late last year, when Kelly endured an online backlash for asking a Will & Grace fan if he was influenced to become gay because of the show and its lead character—and when Will & Grace star Debra Messing subsequently criticized Kelly—Fox PR quietly pushed the news to entertainment and media scribes.

Another instance: Hollywood Reporter journalist Jeremy Barr tweeted last week that Fox PR gave him “a tip” to try to deter him from reporting on a different story about a current Fox News host, telling him he should instead cover the “NBC/Megyn stuff” that was just starting to explode.

According to three people with direct knowledge, Briganti deeply resented Kelly, in large part because she privately blamed Kelly for leaks that painted the top Fox flack as an enabler for former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes amid the sexual-harassment scandal that ended his career.

Fox News said in the statement that the allegations were “wildly inaccurate and patently absurd.”

It denied urging reporters to jump on Kelly’s Will & Grace gaffe, saying the blunder created an “instant firestorm” that required no contribution from Fox News. It said that any conversations about Kelly’s ratings were in the context of Fox News beating her show.

As for Barr’s tweet, Fox said he “mischaracterized” the exchange and that a PR rep was just pointing out “that there was bigger news on the media beat to cover” than the story he was pursuing.

“The Daily Beast is relying on outdated information from former employees,” the statement said. “The PR department here defends and protects the Fox News brand and all of its talent on a 24/7 basis. There is no war whatsoever and no resentment against anyone who formerly worked at the network, including Megyn.”

“Irena has been wrongfully tagged with this narrative—no one is resentful here and everyone moved on two years ago. If anything, Irena (and the entire PR team) actually feel sorry for Megyn.”

Fox said its current PR team was being blamed for tactics employed by Briganti’s predecessor, who left in 2013.

Yet just last year, Kelly publicly accused Fox News of attacking her. During a segment about former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s history of alleged sexual harassment, Kelly noted on NBC that Briganti was “known for her vindictiveness,” and had shopped stories about alleged victims of Ailes.

“To this day, she pushes negative articles on certain Ailes accusers, [including me],” Kelly said.

A former senior Fox employee said Kelly had a point.

“Megyn Kelly was one of the single biggest beneficiaries of Fox News comms when she worked there. It was turned on her the very moment she packed up for… the competition,” the ex-staffer told The Daily Beast.

Trump TV allows Shep Smith to be a bit of an apostate. But Kelly betrayed not only Trump, she betrayed Roger Ailes. There's no going back for her.

If the GOP ever completely turns on Trump I'd guess she runs for office.