In a recent interview with Newsmax, former debate opponent Megyn Kelly shed light on former President Donald Trump’s undeniable prowess as a “ratings machine.” Kelly didn’t hold back, expressing her views on Fox News’ handling of the initial two debates, suggesting they deserve a figurative double middle finger.
Kelly dissected the surge in viewership that accompanied Trump’s appearance in the inaugural Fox News debate of August 2015, pointing out the remarkable 25 million viewers who tuned in. “Say what you will about Trump. You cannot argue the guy’s a ratings machine. There’s proof positive of it in every corner.”
Kelly didn’t shy away from sharing her belief that Fox News’ strained relationship with the former president could impact its viewership potential. “Without him, I think they’ll suffer,” she said.
“And he’s interesting to talk about, even if he’s not there, so that will be somewhat of a boon to them. It would be worse if he were not even in this race, ratings-wise.”
The conversation took an intriguing turn as Kelly delved into Trump’s rationale for taking issue with Fox News’ treatment of him. She noted that Trump’s decision to pass on the first two debates hosted by Fox News and Fox Business was a gesture of disapproval for what he deemed an unbalanced approach. “This is definitely a middle finger by Trump to Fox News and Fox Business, which have the first two debates,” she continued. “And he’s said he doesn’t think that they treat him very fairly, and he doesn’t want to go and really boost their ratings.”
With the first 2024 GOP presidential primary debate just around the corner, Kelly painted a rather lackluster picture of what to expect. Trump’s absence, according to her, would lead to a debate lacking the intrigue and excitement that marked the 2016 campaign. “I think it’s going to feel a lot like 2012,” she said. “It’s like before we had Trump. We had to do this with regular candidates who weren’t that exciting to watch…”
Ironically, Kelly’s remarks echoed her own history with Trump, as she was the first debate moderator he had taken issue with. Reflecting on the current scenario, she didn’t shy away from critiquing Fox News’ apparent favoritism towards certain candidates. “Can anyone deny that Trump has been, I mean that Fox has been in the bag for [Ron] DeSantis for the past year? It’s obvious to anybody who’s turned on the channel for two minutes,” she said. “And so why shouldn’t he be angry? I’d be ticked off, too. The only reason they’re now giving Trump any sort of fair shake is because he bent them to his will.”