Megyn Kelly just reminded the world that she doesn’t know how to google the answers to simple questions. Instead, she asks them on live television.
After a massive backlash, Megyn is super sorry about defending blackface and seems to actually understand the topic.
But despite her apology, it looks like she’s still not off the hook — even with her own colleagues at NBC.
News anchors are supposed to report and discuss the news. In general, they really should not be making the news.
But that’s what Megyn did, in the worst way, when she defended blackface Halloween costumes in a discussion with an all-white panel.
She has apologized and explained how the backlash opened her eyes, and NBC’s Today had a group of her own collegues discuss the controersy.
Morgan Radford participated in the discussion along with Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Craig Melvin.
Al Roker says that her internal email is not a sufficient way of saying that she’s sorry.
“The fact is,” Roker says. “While she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.”
Roker explains how, as a black man, this is very personal to him.
“This is history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and to denigrate a race,” Roker says. “It was not right.”
“I am old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy, where you had people in blackface playing two black characters, magnifying the worst stereotypes about black men.”
He refers to nightmarish caricatures of black men, performed by white men, that were used as weapons to ridicule real black people.
“And that,” he explains. “Is what the problem is. That is what the issue is.”
Craig Melvin doesn’t mince words when he talks about Megyn’s segment.
He calls her defense of blackface both “stupid” and “indenfensible.”
There are people in this world who might understandably not realize the historical implications of blackface.
A millionaire television anchor who can and should read up on any controversial topics that she plans to address on television has no such excuse.
Melvin also points out the fact that Jim Crow laws are named for a blackface minstrel character, a fact we mentioned recently when discussing whiteface.
Despite reports of an alleged feud, Savannah Guthrie clearly felt uneasy about throwing a colleague under the bus.
“It is uncomfortable, obviously,” Guthrie says. “Because Megyn is a colleague at NBC News.”
But it is that working relationship that made it so vital for NBC to have a panel discuss Megyn’s controversial remarks.
For the public, it’s about education and illumination of an important topic.
For NBC, and we don’t mean to sound cynical, it’s about making it clear that the organization as a whole does not defend blackface.
Roker and Melvin both made excellent points, which you can see and hear in the video that we’ve attached.
But it was Morgan Radford who arguably put the best spin on this situation.
She acknowledged the historical weight of blackface while also presenting Megyn’s words as a “learning moment.”
Megyn, Radford says, “really gifted us the opportunity to have this conversation and a public discourse.”
“We now have the courage and we have the platform to have conversations like this,” Radford notes.
She says that these talks are important “even when they’re uncomfortable because we can see they’re still necessary.”
It probably does not help that Megyn Kelly has a history of making wildly controversial remarks about race.
She made these comments primarily while working at Fox News, where white nationalists like Tucker Carlson thrive.
Megyn may be best known for having claimed that Santa Claus, a fictional character based upon a Turkish man, is white. As if she had met him.
She also claimed that Jesus, a Middle Eastern Jewish man, was a white man.
Her suggestion that blackface was acceptable when she was growing up — in the 1970s — dredged all of that back up.
But, as we said, Megyn did apologize, first in an email to colleagues and then to her viewers.
“The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep,” Megyn acknowledges.
“I’ve never been a ‘pc’ kind of person,” she says. “But I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age.”
In general, labels like politically correct are useless, and hurled around by people who want to dismiss any struggles that are not their own.
It appears that Megyn is learning a little more about the world.
We wish that she, as the highest paid television anchor on the planet despite her ratings, would actively educate herself before getting backlash.