THE TWITTERSPHERE was set ablaze with hundreds of tweets containing the terms “Megyn Kelly” and “breadwinner” after the Fox News anchor eviscerated—with passion, poise, and those pesky things called facts—two of her smarmy and smug (and male) colleagues, who had claimed that working women are destroying American society.
Earlier in the week, Pew released a study that found women earning more than men in 40 percent of American households, sending some conservative pundits into a tizzy.
“Liberals who defend this and say it’s not a bad thing are very anti-science,” Erick Erickson told Lou Dobbs. “When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world ... the male typically is the dominant role.”
“We’re watching society dissolve around us,” offered Dobbs to his all-male panel.
Kelly, a mother of two now pregnant with her third child, had her own take on the matter. “Who died and made you scientist in chief?” she shot back at Erickson, as he and Dobbs tried clumsily to defend themselves on her afternoon show. “You believe that women who choose to work ... are imposing a worse future on their children,” Kelly said, and offered up a litany of academic studies to disprove her guests’ theories. “I was offended.”
With a history of challenging her more belligerent co-workers, Kelly has been called “Fox News’s voice of reason” and was trusted to co-anchor the network’s 2012 election coverage. The former lawyer made headlines in August 2011 for defending her maternity leave and again on election night 2012, when she took on Karl Rove as the GOP godfather tried to convince himself that Barack Obama had not won reelection: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?” she asked.
But Kelly is not the Breathalyzer to monitor Fox’s erratic driving. She has cracked offensive jokes about Native Americans, wondered whether a woman beaten to death over a parking space deserved to die, and accused Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown birth-control activist, of a “sense of entitlement.” Indeed, after giggling about Native Americans, Kelly said, “I’ve been drinking again.”
In exposing the misogyny of her male interlocutors, Kelly pointed a question at them: “What makes you dominant and me submissive?” And if her history of bold stances—both reviled and revered—was any indication, they should have known the answer: nothing.