"Has anyone in his life ever hurt him emotionally? Is he setting a bad example for America’s children, whose parents are constantly reminded not to become bullies? These are things one can imagine Walters asking in a soft-focus setting. Trump, to no one’s surprise, came with his usual array of incomplete sentences, unfinished tangents and an obfuscating lack of specifics. Entirely too much time was given over to Kelly and Trump rehashing their spat, with editing so choppy that you couldn’t even trust the hidden meaning in their eye-contact and attempts at frenemy rapport. It’s certainly not news to anyone at this point that the only thing Trump is good at talking about are his ratings, his number of social-network followers and the size of the crowds at his appearances. Granting this interview, of course, will simply serve as another way for him to measure his popularity."
WaPo's TV critic Hank Stuever didn't like Kelly's show any more than I did.
As Stuever observed, Kelly seems to be trying to fit the niche long occupied by Barbara Walters, who has a knack for getting into the emotional particularities of her subjects. Walters has her style, her way of warming up celebrities and extracting choice psychological nuggets. But Kelly doesn't know how to create a semblance of an atmosphere of warmth. How could she disarm anyone? She doesn't listen to the answers and try to figure out how to nudge into whatever interior space her interlocutor has given a hint might exist.
Stuever blames Trump: He's only "good at talking about... his ratings, his number of social-network followers and the size of the crowds at his appearances." I say it was Kelly's job to draw him out, and she didn't do it. Trump offered her some leads, saying more than once that he sees himself as "a person." What did that mean to him? Why was that worth saying? It was rather obvious that Kelly's idea was to turn any indication of sensitivity into a challenge about why he's so mean to other people, so she never got access to whatever might be sensitive about him. I'd love to hear him analyze where she missed her opportunities and why she's no Barbara Walters, but he's going to be needing to use her going forward, so there's no reason why he would.
ADDED: When I say "I'd love to hear him analyze where she missed her opportunities," what I'm picturing is a version of "The Apprentice" for apprentice journalists vying for a network celebrity interview slot and tasked this week to interview a presidential candidate. In the end, there's a meeting, where Trump confronts them all with incisive analysis of what they did wrong and right. He'd do that really well, but that's unlike anything he can be giving us in the context of the real campaign.
AND: Here's the video: