Tensions between major news organizations are coming to a boil, and it seems no brand will escape unscathed.
Megyn Kelly, who rose to prominence on Fox News before making a short-lived jump to NBC, exchanged sharp words this weekend with ABC News' chief political analyst in a heated Twitter back-and-forth.
The testy conversation unfolded a few days after Kelly made her return to Fox News to appear on Tucker Carlson's program, where she called for an independent investigation into NBC's handling of the Matt Lauer fiasco.
Matthew Dowd wrote the initial message that drew Kelly's ire: "I really don’t want to hear from either Matt Lauer or Megyn Kelly," Dowd mused in a since-deleted tweet. "Can’t they just fade away and enjoy their large pot of money." (After her show was yanked from the NBC lineup in October 2018, Kelly still managed to walk away with her full $69 million contract payout.)
That sentiment didn't sit well with Kelly, who icily replied, "Yes, I could just sit back and 'enjoy my money,' but instead I've chosen to speak up for women being harassed and abused who have been muzzled by NDAs. Sorry you find that so annoying."
Dowd countered that Kelly seems to have much more contempt for NBC than Fox News, which has its own well-documented history of sexual harassment and misconduct toward women.
Yes, I could just sit back and “enjoy my money,” @matthewjdowd, but instead I’ve chosen to speak up for women being harassed and abused who have been muzzled by NDAs. Sorry you find that so annoying. https://t.co/Fy86s5QTsF— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) October 19, 2019
.@matthewjdowd - umm, there is a whole movie about me standing up for the women at Fox. & I put Trump accusers on the air. Also my job as a reporter was not to “stand up” for Blasey-Ford. It was to report fairly on her w/o taking a side. You should try it sometime. https://t.co/lLnOCSrm0I— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) October 19, 2019
Dowd was referring to Fox's questionable history of handling workplace sexism: The network has been home to multiple alleged perpetrators, including Bill O'Reilly (whose contract was renewed even after he shelled out $32 million to settle one of multiple sexual harassment suits) and Eric Bolling (whose lewd behavior led to his ouster after 10 years on the air).
Kelly replied that there is a "whole movie about me standing up for the women at Fox" — the upcoming film "Bombshell," in which Kelly is played by Charlize Theron —and added, "By the way, I devoted an entire chapter of my book to the harassment scandal at Fox and discussed it on virtually every network. It was a NYT #1 Best Seller. You should read it!"
Although the initial targets of the exchange were Fox News and NBC, ABC also took a few hits after Dowd said his network's credibility trumps Fox's. While that type of comment would typically go unchallenged, ABC is currently under scrutiny for inexplicably broadcasting video footage of a Kentucky gun range and labeling it as violence in Syria. CNN made a point of calling out the error on Sunday.
Here's hoping that at least CBS will be able to sit this one out.