Does Media Matter’s Fever Pitch on Megyn Kelly Play Into Fox’s Hands?

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, according to Media Matters For America’s John Whitehouse. That might just be what Fox News Channel execs were hoping to hear.

“But the new face of Fox News primetime, Megyn Kelly, is a much more pernicious purveyor of political propaganda. Kelly has the unique ability to pluck misinformation and imbue it with a veneer of legitimacy that Sean Hannity has long since lost, if he ever had it at all.”

To be clear, we’re still just talking about rumors floated by The Drudge Report that Kelly might take over Sean Hannity’s 9 p.m. slot on the network. No one has confirmed this, but as Whitehouse notes, key players haven’t denied it. Speculation about Kelly’s future on the network has been brewing for some time.

It’s an old PR trick to leak big news like this to gauge public reaction ahead of an official decision, so this kind of foaming at the mouth might actually be exactly what Fox was looking for. (So way to go Whitehouse! Aren’t you supposed to be pissing these people off?) The network thrives not just on a riled up base, but also on a riled up opposition who, through wall-to-wall coverage of every move they make gives them a measure of legitimacy (much the same way MSNBC benefits from similar watchdogs on the right).

Whitehouse, while beating Fox News the quintessential evil drumbeat over at MMFA, actually does a good job at pointing out that Kelly isn’t the typical conservative hardliner that dominates Fox. In some instances, she shows glimmers of—shall we say, independent thought, and that she borders on being a decent person? Other times, not as much. But for example, “Megyn Kelly can cover gay rights in a way that is occasionally not abominable,” Whitehouse says. Trust us, that’s high praise coming from MMFA.

And maybe it’s that progressive streak in Kelly that caused someone over at Fox to feel the need to create this rumor in the first place, if that’s indeed what happened. Maybe they’re as unsure of Kelly in the network’s flagship spot as Whitehouse is, just for different reasons. Does a network whose leaders are politically motivated conservatives (and whose audience are the same, just more) really want to give someone who covers “gay rights in a way that is occasionally not abominable” and sometimes sticks up for women a a huge pedestal? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. The kind of reaction the rumor has generated is a good way to find out, though.

One thing we’re sure of though, no matter what Fox does, we doubt it will make Media Matters happy.