As a warm-up for her new show Megyn Kelly Presents, intrepid reporter and Donald Trump frenemy Megyn Kelly again proved she doesn’t suffer fools — or at least people acting foolishly — gladly. Turns out Kelly is happy to let perpetrators of nonsense hang themselves — without ever using her skill for the barbed inquiry, the quick retort, the introduction of reason. Kelly will sometimes just use a clarification request — that great passive-aggressive weapon — to frame the conversation. (It’s passive because it concedes authority to the speaker who must clarify, aggressive because she knows damn well the speaker can’t.)
Kelly’s style in this mode is a service to viewers, and she’s very good at it. Interviewing Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick on Fox, Megyn Kelly let Patrick talk almost ceaselessly as his charges against permitting trans people to use the bathroom of their choice collapsed around him. When, after his flailing, she still professed not to appreciate his argument, Patrick said she was missing his point. “I don’t think I’m missing anything,” Kelly replied. When Patrick talked about allowing men in women’s restrooms, Kelly asked him to clarify: “Allow men in the ladies’ rooms, or allow trans women in ladies’ rooms?” When the distinction is pretty much lost on him, Patrick is immediately put in the opposite position Kelly’s in. He can’t reasonably say: I don’t think I’m missing anything.