The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense


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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Debate That Shouldn't Die

The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense.

Here's the Nonsense:  The disagreements between Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly and Fox News are much ado about nothing.  Nothing big happened and it's time to move on.


Here's the Horse Sense:  What happened in this situation is huge and to ignore it is to show either ignorance or hypocrisy, maybe even both.


If you think the disagreements about Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly and Fox News are over, then you're sadly mistaken.  Even if they quiet down in the media, the fact that the public isn't holding people accountable reflects on the broken moral compass of our nation.  Hypocrisy reigns supreme, even in the conservative movement.


I realize that to most people this will fall on deaf ears.  Most people, even conservatives, feign moral principles.  But when push comes to shove, they make excuses and don't take a stand.  And when we don't stand for moral principles, we are guaranteed ultimate failure because conservatism is built on a moral foundation that cannot be separated from what the conservative movement is about.


Many people are still feeling that either:


A.)  Donald Trump was wrong in his dealings with Megyn Kelly at Fox;  or, 


B.)  Even though they may not like what Megyn Kelly did (or more likely don't know about her misrepresentation of the truth, but think it was just an inappropriate question), they are willing to look the other way and move on without holding anyone accountable.  


There is a sense of fear on the part of many that they cannot abandon Fox News because it's their main, if not sole, source of news.  But if Fox and Kelly are allowed to get away with what she did, then we can never trust anything from them again.  For if someone will be dishonest about one thing, there is no reason you can trust them in anything else.  A dishonest person is not just dishonest in one area.  It will inevitably overflow to other areas of their life.


This is not about Fox News being conservative.  They've proven many times that they are not.  And their ideology is not the point.  The point is ethics.  Whether conservative, moderate, or liberal, we need to hold journalists and their organizations to a high ethical standard.  And I don't see anyone doing that with Fox.


Let's go back to what happened between Kelly and Trump to understand exactly what I'm talking about.  (I presented this in my previous post but was fortunate to receive a copy of an email sent to the Sam Malone Show in Houston.  The email author's name is Pamela and she provided more complete information about what happened on Trump's Apprentice show than I'd gotten through Mark Levin's radio show for my last post.  I've never seen the show so Pamela's added information is very helpful.)


When Kelly asked Trump about his saying that a contestant on his Apprentice TV show getting on her knees would be a pretty sight, it was worded to imply that a sexual meaning was behind the comment.  However, that was a gross misrepresentation of what happened.  


On his show people are divided into teams and given situations where they are to create a business and make it successful.  In this situation the contestant was on her knees begging people to buy the product.  Trump wasn't there, he never is when they are running the businesses they create.  He meets with them in a room to go over a video of what they did and discuss it.  In this case he was with them in a room and was told about the contestant getting on her knees to beg people to buy.  That's when he said that would be a pretty sight.  He went on to inform the contestants that it was an inappropriate way to sell the product.  There was nothing sexual involved or implied.  But Megyn Kelly decided to take an episode from season 6 (out of 14 seasons) and twist what happened to make it sound like it was salacious.


The point here is that Fox News and Megyn Kelly had to know full well what was in that Apprentice episode and yet they still decided to use it in way that misrepresented what happened.  It was so many years ago that no normal person would immediately remember the situation.  It put Trump on the spot in front of a national audience and all of his competitors.  No matter how he responded or what happened, Kelly had to assume that it would look bad for him and she'd be seen as having scored a victory against the number one candidate in the polls.


If you don't believe that that's how she felt, you might change your mind when you learn what the LA Times reported about her rehearsal for the debate:


"Indeed, when Kelly rehearsed a question for another candidate — delivered in the staccato style that adds to her reputation as a tenacious interrogator — a producer at the table said, 'He’ll go berserk.' That’s a compliment for Kelly, who smiled."


Sure sounds like the attitude of someone who is driven by ego and power.  Contrary to what Ms. Kelly may think, the debate wasn't about her, it was about the candidates and the issues.  They are for the benefit of the voters, not for moderators to score victories with gotcha questions.

But clearly the Fox hosts wanted it to be about them and proceeded to take 31.7% of the time for their own talking.  And Kelly's smile during the rehearsal at the idea of making a candidate go berserk says a lot more about her desire to be the center of attention than about doing the job of a moderator.

But as bad as this is, what's really upsetting is that there are conservatives who are letting Fox off the hook and continuing to watch and support the network.  They are nothing short of hypocrites if they will give Fox ratings by watching without Fox apologizing for the deception put forth by Ms. Kelly at the debate.

This is not a minor issue.  Turning on your TV to watch Fox without them having apologized does nothing but help their ratings and send the message that they don't have to own up to what was done.  

Americans should be outraged at Fox's misrepresentation of facts in an attempt to damage or even destroy a candidate (and that would apply to ANY candidate).  What happened is simply Fox trying to control which candidates will be in the race.  But few Americans will stop long enough to even think about the implications of that.  

Unfortunately most Americans, even conservatives, don't think deeply enough about these issues.  And because few will be outraged, even fewer will stop to think about the hypocrisy of letting a journalist get away with such a deceptive act and continuing to watch the network without holding them responsible for their distortion of the facts.  

The Sheryl Atkisson's of journalism who have the integrity to stand up and leave a good job at a major network are few and far between.  She left a very good career at CBS and has since exposed the ethical problems she encountered there.  

Sad to say that I'll bet no one at Fox News has the integrity to walk out over what Megyn Kelly did.  Fox News not only owes an apology to viewers, they also should be taking severe disciplinary measures against Kelly and anyone else who knew what was going on.  My view is that this is an offense worthy of dismissal, not just some form of reprimand.  But I have no doubt they will opt on the side of protecting her as they see her as getting them ratings.  And by not taking action to correct this, they are proving their own lack of integrity.


We have seen no effort on the part of management to apologize or to correct her.  The only small effort we've seen is a story from Breitbart that Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, has called Donald Trump and asked him to come back on their network.

Megyn Kelly has not apologized, but rather we find, as Western Journalism reports, that she is calling her actions "good journalism." Pamela, the listener to Sam Malone's show in Houston that I mentioned earlier, was right when she said in her email that this is no different than NBC editing George Zimmerman's cell phone call to the police about the Trayvon Martin shooting.  And it is no different than Dan Rather creating a false story about George W. Bush.  And no different than the mainstream media reporting the "Hands up, don't shoot" story that wasn't true.  Megyn Kelly and Fox News have shown that they have no better ethics than their mainstream competitors, whose ethics conservatives continually complain about.

We cannot expect a network to be solidly conservative unless it's owned by conservatives.  Rupert Murdoch is no conservative.  At best he's an establishment Republican.  His sons, who are starting to take over the operations of his businesses are supporters of Democrats like Hillary Clinton.  The second largest stock holder in News Corp. is an Arab prince who has his own influence over what Fox News does.  (For those who aren't aware, News Corp. is the parent company of Fox News.)

It should have been a clear sign that something was wrong when CNN and MSNBC sided with Megyn Kelly and then Hillary Clinton did, too.  Those people are the poster children for deceit and Ms. Kelly appears to have just joined their ranks... although given what happened at the debate, it makes you wonder if she's been a party to anything else like this in the past.


But even with those facts, it doesn't matter that Fox News is not conservative.  What matters is that Fox, through Megyn Kelly, acted unethically and owe Americans an apology and efforts be made to see to it that it doesn't happen again.


This is a debate that shouldn't die because ethics must always be at the forefront for conservatives.  We cannot allow unethical actions to be supported or we are undermining the very values upon which America was founded.

Will Fox apologize and make sure it won't happen again?  Probably not.  They are driven by money and money comes from ratings.  Since most conservatives aren't willing to give up this particular network, Fox will continue to do well.  Conservatives who will watch them will continue to be hypocrites by supporting them.  And those same conservatives will have to ask themselves whether what they're hearing on Fox is accurate, or just another manipulated set of facts.