Megyn Kelly's Politics Aren't Easy To Peg

by Elizabeth Strassner
Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In a time when the country is increasingly polarized, Megyn Kelly is the rare journalist with fans on both sides of the aisle. It was long speculated that many networks were clamoring to hire Kelly, so it wasn't exactly surprising when it was reported on Tuesday that Kelly will be leaving Fox for NBC after her contract ends with the former this summer. This marks a big departure for Kelly, who rose to fame at Fox. Since the network she is most associated with is considered one of the most traditionally conservative, many have wondered if Kelly herself is conservative.

According to a 2014 Washington Post analysis of a Pew Research Center study of viewing habits, Fox News tended to have a conservative audience, while NBC News' viewers leaned slightly toward the liberal. But Kelly is already quite familiar with speaking to audiences across the spectrum. In fact, she earned significant credit from left-leaning viewers for her willingness to question Donald Trump about his treatment of women during a presidential debate in 2015, and the way she stood up to Newt Gingrich when he accused her of being "fascinated with sex."

So is Megyn Kelly a conservative or a liberal? Sean Hannity famously accused her of being a Clinton supporter last October. Some network anchors wear their political allegiances on their sleeves, but Kelly keeps quieter about hers. In June of last year, she told Variety she was an "independent" who had voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past.

Kelly earned praise from liberals for challenging Trump, and Sally Kohn, who had appeared on The Kelly Files many times, wrote about why she is such an appealing cable news figure for the Daily Beast:

In an increasingly two-dimensional world of us-versus-them hyper-partisanship and a media landscape that feeds into it, Megyn Kelly is more than meets the eye. She is a complicated, complicating figure—forcing a reductive medium to be more, and mediating against overly reductive politics.
She is also, by the way, forcing a whole swath of liberals to re-think their generalizations about Fox News.

At the same time, Willa Paskin at Slate argued that Kelly's popularity amongst liberals is more the result of selective attention:

Every single day, Kelly demonstrates her devotion to Fox News ideology. But because the only tidbits that regularly reach non-Fox News watchers are viral videos of Kelly doing something rare for a Fox News anchor—pointing out that all liberals are not violent, say, or arguing maternity leave is good—liberals can harbor the fantasy that Megyn Kelly might be that mythical being: A Fox News anchor to disagree with only some of the time.

Now that Kelly is set to host her own daytime show Monday through Friday, as well as her own Sunday night news show, viewers may gain more insight into her politics.