May 18, 2016

"[Megyn] Kelly arrived with questions, a few of them somewhat good: Has Trump made any mistakes in this campaign, anything he wishes he could take back?"

"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:

43 comments:

Luke Lea said...

Has he made mistakes? I think Trump looks at it the way a quarterback does. Of course there were mistakes and things he would do differently no matter the margin of victory. It is in the nature of the game as he sees himself playing it.

traditionalguy said...

He Unwounds himself quite effectively. Now just wait until you try to turn your head.

amielalune said...


You know what, Ann? I don't CARE if he's been hurt emotionally; I don't care about what he considers to be his mistakes (unless they are important and there's something he can do to change them now), or about the touchy-feely aspects of his life or of any other politician. I only care about what they think about various topics and what actions they plan to take as our hired representative.

Journalists ask those questions of the GOP for the same reason they ask every single question -- to take the response out of context and/or to get a headline. Anyone with half a brain knows that. Had he mentioned any "mistakes", MSDNC would at this moment still have a 10-member panel talking about them.

And don't give me that "it's what WOMEN care about." Oprah and Kardashian-followers, maybe, but certainly not most women.



bagoh20 said...

So what we are looking for is the crying moment when Trump breaks down and tells us how he was bulled and abused as a child, so we can all have the daytime TV moment and let that kind of emotional wasteland occupy our entire lives and control our nation and destiny. Maybe on inauguration day we can have a big reveal where Trump and Hillary announce their wedding, and we all watch breathlessly as she tries on dress after dress, while Trump struggles with rehab.

The apocalypse is way overdue. I mean at least a near extinction event is clearly deserved here. The Dodo never got away with this crap. You breeders need to explain what the hell you are thinking creating more of these creatures only to wander around aimlessly in this biggest loser reality TV world we have built for them. By all means fornicate, but use protection.

Laslo Spatula said...

Megyn: "Have you made any mistakes in this campaign, anything you wish you could take back?"

Trump: "Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do. And saw it through without exemption."

Megyn: "Can you give us some details on these regrets?"

Trump: "Yes, there were times -- I'm sure you knew -- when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall. And did it my way."

Megyn: "But what would you say to critics who say your temperament might be a problem fo many in America?"

Trump: "For what is a man, what has he got -- If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way."

I am Laslo.

amielalune said...


Laslo:

Bravo! Once again, I bow to the master. :)

rhhardin said...

News is done for women.

rhhardin said...

Trump wants the women's vote, but without losing the men's vote. Slight apology for nothing to Megyn Kelly is as far as he dares go.

rhhardin said...

Trump should run as a man.

AprilApple said...

Bagoh - LOL - you've got our pop culture code cracked.

Ann Althouse said...

It is the Barbara Walters type of show for whoever likes that sort of thing. I didn't watch BW... or I mean I only watched it enough to know the type of show that it is. MG was trying to do a show like that. I am judging her by how well she accomplished what she set out to do. That means something apart from whether you like to watch that kind of thing.

EDH said...

Indeed. Megyn Kelly appears way too busy trying to insert herself into the story to conduct the kind of interview that would either make news or reveal something new about Trump.

EDH said...

Ann Althouse said...
MG was trying to do a show like that. I am judging her by how well she accomplished what she set out to do. That means something apart from whether you like to watch that kind of thing.

"MG"? Freudian slip? The way Kelly spells her first name, I subconsciously tend to call her Me-Gyn.

glenn said...

But, But, she's got high cheekbones and stuff.

CStanley said...

I've been turned off by their whole "feud" and generally think Megyn Kelly is OK but overrated and Donald Trump is a blowhard, I didn't tune in but just decided to watch the clip. I felt Kelly was trying too hard (predictably) especially to steer it in the direction of Trump acknowledging that he is a bully. I did find Trump's responses kind of interesting and felt since she had taken the interview in that direction, some follow up would have made it better. Trump seemed to imply that treating people as victims is as much of a problem as is bullying itself (saying something along the lines of "Just fight back.") I may be reading too much into that, but I think it would have been worth exploring what he meant by that in the context of kids being bullied.

I also found the whole thing interesting because he represents one type of old school masculinity and she presents herself as a strong woman. I liked the exchange they had about her coming to Trump Towers, especially when he acknowledged that he would never have come into "enemy territory" like that and acknowledging that he considers this a negative on his part. It was a nice bit of them displaying insight about gender as it relates to power and interpersonal disputes.

William said...

Sometimes she wants to be Tim Russert and sometimes she wants to be Oprah. Her soul is riven by these two conflicting drives. Which will finally triumph? How will her marriage fare under such intense pressure. I hope Barbara Walters interviews her so we can fathom he complexity of this fascinating woman.

amielalune said...


William:

You are making a joke, but that is the next logical step for them. That is, if Barbara Walters is still alive.....

Gusty Winds said...

I thought the editing was surreal.

Did anybody else catch the part she was talking about him needing to be sensitive with his influence and she said twice in a row, "but you're so powerful, you're so powerful.

It was almost fawning.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why would Kelly try to be like Walters? As for impressions:

Walters:Kelly::willow tree:tank

Be the tank, Kelly. You're never going to be the willow tree.

mockturtle said...

Megyn Kelly is a second-rate journalist who wouldn't be where she is today if she weren't incredibly beautiful.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You enjoy the Marc Maron interviews, right Professor? Does he do a good job of drawing Tout his interview subjects out? Do you think he'd be successful at interviewing Trump?

cubanbob said...

Laslo that was superb! Hats off! If Trump actually started replying that way he would be on his way to his coronation.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I have to say "have you made any mistakes" is not a good question and if the WashPo critic thinks it is I question his judgement, a bit.

"Have you made any mistakes" is about as softball a set up as I can think of--it's essentially saying "go ahead and reframe some things that might look bad in a way that makes you look and sound better now."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

bagoh20 said...Maybe on inauguration day we can have a big reveal where Trump and Hillary announce their wedding, and we all watch breathlessly as she tries on dress after dress, while Trump struggles with rehab.

Nailed it. Season 2 has Hillary questioning her own sexuality (lots of flirtation w/Huma or some other attractive female aide, doubts about Bill's fidelity, talk with LGBTQ friends, etc) and Trump spending too much time running some new business.

Bravo or Lifetime would carry that sucker in a heartbeat.

JAORE said...

"But, But, she's got high cheekbones and stuff."

And very nice stuff it is.

MK seems to think highly of herself, though she is clearly ahead of many journalists when it comes to intelligence.

So many careers built on pretty for the camera on all networks. Fox seems to make a strict practice of it.

Of all the Fox bimbos, Shepard Smith is my least favorite.

Howard said...

Megyn and Fox kiss the ring.

Brando said...

Megyn knows who pays her bills. It isn't "journalism" any more than the New York Times is practicing "journalism" for the Clintons.

We're in an era where our next president will be working not with independent reporters but propaganda mouthpieces of their own choosing. This is the culmination of a long shift.

ndspinelli said...

Being a professional interviewer of people, the MSM are HORRIBLE interviewers. To be a good interviewer, you must put your ego aside and LISTEN. You calmly and covertly size up the person you are interviewing. They don't know what you're doing. The best place to interview someone is in their home. You can get valuable clues about them. And, they are comfortable. One of the best interviewers on TV is Brian Lamb.

Howard said...

Blogger ndspinelli said...

Being a professional interviewer of people, the MSM are HORRIBLE interviewers. To be a good interviewer, you must put your ego aside and LISTEN. You calmly and covertly size up the person you are interviewing. They don't know what you're doing. The best place to interview someone is in their home. You can get valuable clues about them. And, they are comfortable. One of the best interviewers on TV is Brian Lamb.


Brian Lamb is a great one. Charlie Rose is better than most, but is too "in love" with his guests. All his vulgarity aside, Howard Stern is really good at getting people to be themselves.

Meeeea said...

Laslo--nicely done! And here I was cursing you this morning--I had a Dr. appt., my hair in a pony tail, was obsessed the entire time wondering if he reads Althouse/was he looking at my pony tail. If I'd have known him better, I would have said "swoosh swoosh" just to see if there was any reaction!

mockturtle said...

Yep. Laslo's post was a winner!

Freeman Hunt said...

who wouldn't be where she is today if she weren't incredibly beautiful

In fairness, it is television news. Almost none of them would be there if they weren't fairly good looking. That's what television mostly seems to be about. "Look at this attractive face! Now, this one! Now, this one!"

mockturtle said...

Of all the Fox bimbos, Shepard Smith is my least favorite.

He doesn't even have high cheekbones!

Ann Althouse said...

"You enjoy the Marc Maron interviews, right Professor? Does he do a good job of drawing Tout his interview subjects out? Do you think he'd be successful at interviewing Trump?"

I can't picture Maron able to interview any conservative. He so emotional himself, with exaggerated reactions. I don't think he would even try to do it.

But Trump has been interviewed by Howard Stern, who is a genius at drawing people out.

Howard said...

Why did Megyn get that unfortunate haircut after the Trump blood dustup? Did she want to tone down her attractiveness because it confirmed Trump's complaints?

mockturtle said...

I think Megyn's new hairdo looks great and much more professional. It hasn't changed her personality, though.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I can't picture Maron able to interview any conservative. He so emotional himself, with exaggerated reactions. I don't think he would even try to do it.

That's a shame. (I haven't listened to WTF but I liked most of Maron's standup back in the day [he had a Comedy Central Presents back in the late 90's]).


I clicked through the YouTube video with the sound off. The opening/introduction with the soft focus camera and the all-white background was very Barbara Walters-esque. Kelly's haircut is severe but flattering--she has a very pretty face. That dress color worked. The clips showing her from the debate made me laugh, though--her eyeshadow that night was ridiculous!
Trump has bad posture in an odd way--his shoulders are usually up but he cranes his neck forward and down, almost as though he's taller than the person he's talking to. It looks strange when he's sitting down. The set was nice (good views) but talking across the corner of the table seemed strange.

buwaya said...

Missed that before Laslo, perfect.

SukieTawdry said...

Just what the world needs, a new Barbara Walters. Kelly resembles a wax figure.

mockturtle said...

In fairness, it is television news. Almost none of them would be there if they weren't fairly good looking. That's what television mostly seems to be about. "Look at this attractive face! Now, this one! Now, this one!"

This seems to be true of women but what about men? I can't think of one good-looking man on Fox News and only one--Lester Holt--in all of TV news. Now that's a double standard!

BN said...

Sometimes, after watching t.v. for a few weeks, when I'm just walking around, I am amazed at how "ugly" everyone is.

I blame t.v. For that...

And almost everything.

BN said...

I mean, have any of you ever seen a super model woman cop in real life?

I keep looking for them in the real world, but alas, no. I never have.

walter said...

Hmm..
bit of overealous deletion going on...
Umm...
Trump that bitch!
Better?