- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Megyn Kelly’s sudden decision to leave Fox News to host three shows on another network is a complicated one, drawing mixed reviews from marketing and media gurus. Her most ardent Republican fans, meanwhile, may simply turn away.

“Republicans and Trump voters are not following Fox News‘ former star anchor to her new home base at NBC News,” says Laura Nichols, an analyst for Morning Consult, the pollster. “Thirty-six percent of male Democrats said they are more likely to watch Kelly on NBC News, compared to 29 percent of Republican men who said they are less likely to do the same.”

The poll found that 29 percent of voters who sided with Hillary Clinton are now “more likely” to watch Ms. Kelly on NBC, while 26 percent of those who voted for President-elect Donald Trump said they are now “less likely” to watch her — including a quarter of the GOP women respondents. These feelings may intensify over time. It could be many months before Ms. Kelly actually goes on camera and makes her NBC debut, according to People magazine, which cited ongoing contract negotiations, programming details and other formalities that are still under discussion.

How does Ms. Kelly stack up against other NBC anchors? In the popularity derby, the poll found Matt Lauer had the highest popularity with 41 percent, followed by Lester Holt (37 percent) and Ms. Kelly (34 percent). Savannah Guthrie garnered 27 percent, Tamron Hall 23 percent. “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd was in last place with 22 percent.

YEAH, ABOUT THAT FAKE NEWS

The term “fake news” has been brewing in the media mix for weeks. But it appears to have reached a crescendo this week after one news organization in particular embraced and published unverified smears against President-elect Donald Trump. Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell has a succinct reaction.

BuzzFeed’s story is clearly fake news. Any media outlet that does not produce a news story that declares BuzzFeed’s story as fake news is giving aid and comfort to fake news, and furthering its proliferation. This fiasco is exactly why the media’s ratings are in the toilet,” Mr. Bozell says. “It’s exactly why Donald Trump said the election was rigged, and it’s also why Donald Trump hasn’t done many press conferences. BuzzFeed should stick to cat gifs for the foreseeable future until they figure out how to do journalism. And President-elect Trump shouldn’t conduct any more press conferences unless and until the news media start treating him fairly.”

But wait. Here’s proof of the authentic danger of fake news: It gets louder in the retelling. A related Newsbusters.org study found that ABC, CBS and NBC spent a combined 44 minutes on the “malicious hit piece” on Wednesday alone, with more to come.

THE HEARINGS: WHO’S UP THURSDAY

A brief interlude of straight news to clear your head: A Senate Armed Services Committee hearing will review the nomination of retired Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis to be defense secretary at 9:30 a.m. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hear the nomination of Rep. Mike Pompeo to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency at 11 a.m. Both will be covered live and without gaudy trappings from the ever-vigilant C-SPAN.

CNN EXPLAINS ITSELF

Another news organization went with the aforementioned report against Donald Trump, and they remain in fighting mode.

“CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations,” the network noted in a formal statement.

Mr. Trump, who refused to take a question during a Wednesday press conference from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, called the network “terrible,” the report a “hoax” and the reporting itself “fake news.” The incoming president has not stopped working even for a moment. With his transition team, Mr. Trump continues the serious business of readying his new administration.

CNN, meanwhile, continues to stand by its reporting, saying it “represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, and challenged the Trump transition team to review their account and “identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.”

And one more thing. CNN will air a live town hall on Thursday with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, hosted by anchor Jake Tapper, who has been in the thick of the controversy. Interesting? Awkward? We’ll see. Airtime is 9 p.m.

KELLYANNE’S OTHER CALLING

The annual March for Life — the world’s largest annual pro-life demonstration — is scheduled to take place in the nation’s capital on Jan. 27, when the incoming Trump administration is exactly one week old. Among those leading the charge: President-elect Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who joins such high-profile folks as Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, radio host Eric Metaxas and Bishop Vincent Matthews of the Church of God in Christ, who advocates for adoption in the African-American community.

“Kellyanne beautifully embodies the 2017 March for Life’s theme, which is ‘the power of one,’” observed Jeanne Mancini, president of the organization.

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent of American voters disapprove of the way Congress handles its job; 75 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of independents and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

55 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party; 17 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 85 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party; 90 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent overall are optimistic about “the next four years with Donald Trump as president”; 89 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree,

2 percent overall trust the federal government to “do what is right” almost all of the time; 1 percent of Republicans, 1 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Quinnipiac University Poll of 899 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 5-9.

• Dicey predictions, flippant factoids to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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