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viernes, 2 de marzo de 2018

Celebrities rush to defend Megyn Kelly after media attacks

Battle-lines have been drawn and factions mobilized in what has become a war of words surrounding famed news anchor Megyn Kelly’s performance on NBC’s Today show. Team Kelly found themselves under siege after a New York Post story was published detailing the “toxic atmosphere” on the reporter’s morning talk show.

However, current and former colleagues close to Kelly have retaliated by coming to the defense of the 47-year-old pseudo-conservative journalist, posting supportive statements on social media and disputing the New York Post’s account of Kelly. Although her 9 a.m. ET show started out with abysmal ratings, the program is beginning to recover from its slump and attract new viewers after Kelly awakened the confrontational style of reporting that made her a ratings powerhouse at Fox News.

Character assassination

Kelly’s friends and co-workers were responding to a character assassination published in Page Six, the celebrity gossip magazine produced by the Post. Much of the disparaging commentary came from Iren Halperin, a 20-year veteran makeup artist who worked alongside Kelly in 2009 when she co-anchored America’s Newsroom With Bill Hemmer.

Halperin said that Kelly was “difficult and demanding.” “And if you didn’t do what she wanted, she would try to get you in trouble,” she told Page Six.

To illustrate her point, the beautician described a situation where Kelly showed up early to her appointed session with Halperin and attempted to kick her current client out of the makeup chair.

Halperin remembers what happened after she told Kelly to wait for her turn:

[Kelly] said, ‘No. I want to get done and want to get done now.’ Megyn snapped her finger and pointed at the reporter and said, ‘You, get out of the chair.’

“The next day my boss called me,” Halperin recalled. “Megyn went and lied to management and said, ‘[Iren] can’t come in on time because she has child-care issues.’” Halperin was a mother of three who claims that she typically came to work one hour prior to Kelly.

However, the veteran cosmetologist’s most lasting criticism came when she addressed Kelly’s newfound role as an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. The NBC host resuscitated her floundering show by focusing her provocative journalism style towards #MeToo activism and inviting disaffected women onto her show to bravely condemn sexual injustices and gender inequalities.

But Halperin says it’s all an act.

“She’s disrespectful,” she explained of her former client. “She’s not for women. She’s extremely mean and rude to women.”

Not so fast

Several of Kelly’s celebrity acquaintances have taken exception to the tabloid’s characterization of their friend and colleague, however. Today show host Kathie Lee Gifford, who appeared on Kelly’s time slot last week to memorialize the late evangelist Billy Graham, left a complimentary endorsement of her co-worker on Twitter:

Fox Business News anchor Melissa Francis also chimed in from Twitter, framing the Page Six hit-piece, written by senior features writer Dana Schuster, as an affront to female solidarity.

Other allies of the syndicated talk show host described acts of kindness from Kelly that may surprise people accustomed to her on-camera persona. Kelly developed a reputation for her hard-hitting, no-holds-barred brand of investigative journalism that some felt would make her a poor fit for daytime television.

However, Fox News weather anchor Janice Dean and Kelly’s personal assistant Abby Finan offered some touching testimonials that showed a kinder side to Kelly.

Sky is the limit

Although Kelly has experienced a rough debut with NBC, she is quickly finding her footing with the Today show as an advocate for women. Still, her ratings are down 30 percent from a year earlier, when Al Roker and Tamron Hall presented the show’s 9 a.m. time slot.

In an opinion piece appearing in USA Today, contributing writer Julia Wallace had some insightful advice for Kelly moving forward. Back in October, when Kelly’s ratings were at an all-time low, Wallace wrote:

There’s a great lesson here for Kelly and NBC. Everyone in TV has a personal brand. Kelly built a brand at Fox News as a tough-minded, independent and fearless woman. She gained worldwide notoriety when she took on then-candidate Donald Trump in a presidential debate.

For Kelly to turn it around, she and NBC need to reboot. Courtroom Kelly needs to be resuscitated. This is a chance for NBC to create a new model for daytime TV. Kelly can be successful only if she creates a new kind of show that highlights the brave and powerful warrior of 2016. Otherwise, she’s just like that famous failure of a product of 1985: New Coke.

Clearly, Kelly has made an impact on the entertainment industry — and not just as a successful female news anchor.

She has also made her mark as a friend, a role model and a decent human being.

With these attributes, the sky is the limit.