Sunday 24 September 2017

President-elect tried to buy me off with gifts, says Fox News anchor

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly

Lynn Elber

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly said Donald Trump tried to give her gifts, including a free stay at one of his hotels, as part of what she called his pattern of trying to influence news coverage of his presidential campaign.

In her memoir 'Settle for More', to be released tomorrow, Kelly says Trump may have got a pre-debate tip about her first question, in which she confronted him with his critical comments about women. Her book also details the insults and threats she received after Trump's tirades objecting to her reporting.

Kelly, host of Fox News Channel's 'The Kelly Report', said Trump routinely attempted to gain favourable treatment from other journalists and commentators. "This is actually one of the untold stories of the 2016 campaign: I was not the only journalist to whom Trump offered gifts clearly meant to shape coverage," Kelly said. He also attempted to woo them with praise, she said, adding, "This is smart, because the media is full of people whose egos need stroking."

When it became obvious that some reporters were "in the tank" for Trump, she alleges in one chapter, "certain TV hosts" would work with the candidate in advance on occasional Trump criticism so they would appear unbiased.

Resisting Trump's attempts to buy her goodwill with an offer to comp her "girls' weekend" stay at his New York City hotel or fly her and her husband to visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was an easy ethical decision, Kelly wrote. Harder still was rejecting the ratings bonanza that the colourful GOP contender could deliver with his "unscripted, unguarded" approach that made for great TV but was the equivalent of "television crack cocaine".

She and her producer agreed they had to provide balance and be judicious in their coverage, asserting this was not a "directive to cover Trump negatively or to ignore him".

It was at the first GOP primary debate last August that Kelly questioned Trump about derogatory comments he'd made about women. The day before, Trump had called Fox News executive Bill Sammon to say he had heard that Kelly's first question would be a pointed one aimed at him.

Irish Independent

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