We should have seen it coming.
When Megyn Kelly told the New York Times a few days ago that her marquee interview with the closest thing we’ve had to an authoritarian president “doesn’t all have to be A-plus level[s] of difficulty,” and “I love covering the news, but I’m not a political person,” we should have seen it coming.
And frankly, we had it coming: If Donald Trump is the pinnacle of American entertainment, political or not, then the job of the cable news media, political or not, is to step out of his way, feeding on his crumbs, as Jon Stewart recently described it, like a remora trailing a shark.
And that’s what happened last night, in soft-lit conference room in Trump Tower. Donald live-tweeted the recorded event, for some reason. Perhaps because he made a deal with Fox. Perhaps because it was more compelling.
“I look forward to watching @megynkelly tonight, 8 PM ET. It will be interesting to see how she treats me—I think she will be very fair,” he tweeted — after the interview had taken place.
It was a fawning, gauzy thing, broadcast to keep the Trump mob happy, to keep the lights on at Fox, and to set up Kelly, whose contract is set to expire soon, for a cushy celebrity interview gig, where she doesn’t have to think about Donald Trump or integrity ever again, even after the cattle cars start on their way down to Mexico. The camera cut directly from Trump’s last answer to Kelly hawking her upcoming book, Settle for More.
Not that Trump could ever manage “opening up,” emotionally, no matter how hard Kelly tried to evoke some sense of regret or introspection about his sicking a million man internet mob on his every enemy. Trump said he didn’t “think it was healthy” to apologize for making fun of John McCain, Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz — or Megyn Kelly. “Bimbo?” she asked, when he said he hadn’t retweeted “the more nasty ones.” “Ooh, okay, excuse me,” Trump blushed, without apologizing, “Over your life, Megyn, you’ve been called a lot worse.”
Watch the whole thing, if you want. The actual interview only took 15 minutes. It will be required viewing on January 21st.
Photo and video: Fox/ Megyn Kelly
Copyright 2016 The National Memo