There’s been an ongoing storyline in the NBA, with star players unique among their competition — “unicorns.” They usually are known with single names: Giannis, Jokic, Porzingis, Luka, Embiid.
The media has “unicorns” too. Glenn Beck was one, with his unique brand of showmanship and chalkboards. Rachel Maddow is one, with her heavily-researched monologues in primetime. Jake Tapper, a journalist who was as tough (but fair) with the Obama administration as the Trump administration.
Megyn Kelly is a media unicorn too — a rare combination of impeccable interview skills, but disarming relatability. And last night Kelly returned to TV more than a year after her NBC exit, in an interview with another media unicorn, Tucker Carlson.
Carlson, like Kelly, has spent time at NBC (Tucker had an MSNBC show). Unlike others at Fox News, he takes nontraditional, un-Trumpian stances sometimes (like support for AOC and Elizabeth Warren, mainly around trade and the economy). The interview was fascinating, and a window into the gaping hole left since Kelly’s Fox News exit and NBC stint.
Very few display the thoughtfulness and intellectual honesty of Kelly — while pulling no punches. “The question is open whether they put dollars ahead of decency,” she said when asked about NBC’s Weinstein decision-making. And of NBC’s decision to air the Julia Swetnick interview: “They went to air with that story with far less trepidation than they showed in going to air with the Harvey Weinstein story.”
She addressed the post-Trump media’s hypocrisy. “It was passive, and now it’s active,” she said about the lack of objectivity now. “I just don’t think the mainstream media has any connection to flyover country.”
But there’s also a self-awareness — and humility — that many in her position lack (she once took on her trolls on her NBC show). The insular, Twitter-loving “Acela Media” will always have knee-jerk vitriol reserved for anything Fox News — but particularly Fox News’er-gone-mainstream, like Kelly.
But that world is not real life. “Just as awful as the media can be, actual humans are awesome, and loving and kind and helpful,” she said, as she talked about spending the year with her kids and family, and, notably, away from the media.
Likewise, Kelly’s return to TV brought more than 4 million viewers — the most on cable news, and all of cable TV, last night.
Megyn Kelly stepped back into the media world last night with Tucker Carlson. But she will, no doubt, soon be back. And the media world will be better for it — another unicorn at the top of their game.