Tag Archives: Fox News

InCity Book Review

From Stephen Colbert:


Settle for More

By Megyn Kelly, (2016, Harper Collins, 340 Pages, $29.99.)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

Historians writing about the 2016 presidential election will inevitably spend a great deal of time on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s sparring with then-candidate Donald Trump. Just as likely, they will rely heavily on Kelly’s book Settle for More in describing this political combat. This is a good book, well written, an easy read, chockfull of insider information and tidbits.

Megyn Kelly is a beautiful woman. The problems arising out of this beauty, Kelly’s struggles for acceptance in the work place, and the genesis of her career goals are carefully portrayed. Kelly is judicious when describing her love life. One can tell this book was written by a parent who kept in mind that her children would be reading it: Kelly did not include in this biography anything her offspring would be embarrassed to read.

Good parents

Megyn Kelly had good parents. Her father was an Irish Catholic who nurtured his daughter’s intellect. Kelly’s mother was a second-generation Italian-American who encouraged her daughter to be herself and who made her feel loved. In this supportive environment, Kelly’s self-assurance and incredible work ethic took root.

Kelly describes being bullied while in middle school. As she recounts this episode, Kelly went to school one day and was suddenly boycotted by her classmates. She spent many a lunch period eating alone. The few friendships developed during this time, Kelly kept for the rest of her life. Then one day the bullying inexplicably stopped, and Kelly found the same people who deeply rejected her, voting her the “most popular” classmate. The wounds from this episode were deep. They resurface later in the book when she recounts her struggles with Trump, when the popular anchor suddenly finds herself the object of incredible hostility.

Copying episode

Kelly finished college and entered the Albany School of Law. Oral advocacy was her favorite approach to the law. Moot court, where students argue in front of a panel, her favorite course. She was awarded the “Best Individual Advocate Award.” “I knew, almost as soon as I got to law school, that I could stand up and make an argument,” recalls Kelly.

In 1992 Kelly graduated from law school and went to work at Bickle and Brewer, a big city Chicago law firm. It was there that Kelly had what to her was a key event in developing her resolve to confront gender discrimination – the “copying episode,” which was described in a chapter entitled “Legally Blond.” She found herself the only attorney in the firm a senior partner asked to copy his briefs, a time-consuming task. “It bothered me a little at first, and then it bothered me a lot,” writes Kelly.

Kelly recounts her trepidation and fear at confronting the senior partner, telling him that she was not going to do any more of his copying. Angered, the senior partner went to attorney Bickle, the highest-ranking lawyer at Bickle and Brewer, to complain. Bickle told the man: “Not only is she right, but if you ever ask an associate of this firm to waste her time doing your secretarial work, it’ll be the last thing you do at Bickle and Brewer.”

Kelly’s willingness to stand up to power in the face of a personal injustice was significantly enhanced.

Career change and Donald Trump

Like many lawyers, Kelly found herself dissatisfied with the practice of law – the long hours, working weekends, the occasional exultation of victory, and the agony of defeat. She had long desired a career in broadcast journalism and thought of getting a journalism graduate degree and developing a resume. Kelly found her new career instead by networking. She met a woman who worked part time at a television station. She told Kelly to forget the graduate degree and hard copy resume. What Kelly needed, the woman told her, was a video resume showing her covering stories.

The rest is history. Because of Kelly’s talent and strong work ethic and an occasional stroke of luck, Kelly before long found herself at Fox News hosting the “Kelly File.” Her battles with Donald Trump are probably still fresh in the average reader’s mind and do not have to have to be recounted here.

Kelly is again judicious in her description of sexual harassment by Fox News founder Roger Ailes.

She says enough to let the reader know the harassment took place, without saying more than necessary to make that point.

Her biography concludes immediately prior to the November 8, 2016, election. We probably will at some point see a “Settle for More II.” In the meantime, political aficionados and amateurs alike will find this a fascinating look at the intersection of the political world and broadcast journalism.


By Steven R. Maher

In a November 1, 2016, interview on Fox News’ Kelly File famous appellate attorney Alan Dershowitz said it was more likely that Donald Trump would be indicted for his ties to the Russians and Trump University than Hillary Clinton would be indicted over the email imbroglio. The exchange was reported by the Week, a Republican leaning website.

The Kelly File is a daily TV show hosted by Megyn Kelly, who came to national notoriety during the first Republican debate by asking Trump whether calling women pigs, slobs and dogs meant Trump lacked the temperament to be a President.

“Not going to happen”

“Let’s just say she gets indicted, which is a far step away from where we are right now,” Kelly said to Dershowitz.

“It’s not going to happen,” said Dershowitz.

“But people are wondering how it would affect the election,” continued Kelly. “Let’s say she wins on Tuesday, and then she gets indicted, can she still be president?”

“Yes, but let’s turn it around,” Dershowitz said. “Let’s assume she loses on Tuesday and then on Dec. 1 Comey announces, ‘There’s nothing in any of these emails, they’re simply duplicates.’ He becomes the villain of the piece. He should not be having an impact either way.”

Kelly then asked Dershowitz if FBI Director James Comey did the right thing by announcing his intention to reopen the Clinton email investigation.

“I think he did the right thing by making a statement, I think his statement was wrong,” Dershowitz said. “What he should have said is this: ‘I don’t know what’s in these emails, I haven’t seen them, the 4th Amendment precludes any of us from looking at them. I’m going to look at them now, but don’t infer anything, don’t change your vote based on my announcement — it is a technical announcement designed to inform Congress.'” He added that Comey is “a man of great integrity,” but he just set a dangerous precedent that could be exploited by “a J. Edgar Hoover in the future.”

“That’s my point”

Kelly asked Dershowitz if Clinton could pardon herself if she was elected and then indicted.

“She can’t pardon herself, she’s not going to be indicted,” Dershowitz said. “It’s more likely that Trump will be indicted for his Trump University, for his relationships with Russia, for all of that.”

“He’s not going to be indicted for any of that,” Kelly replied.

“Of course not, that’s my point,” concluded Dershowitz.


InCity Times book review

Killing Lincoln

By Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

I watch Bill O’Reilly almost every night. O’Reilly is the host of “The Factor” one of Fox TV’s most popular shows. He is an egomaniac who uses his show as an extension of his personality. O’Reilly also displays an affection for big words, which he then clings to like a toy.

Politically speaking, O’Reilly can best be described as a right Irish Catholic militant. If you want to know what kind of mentality produced the IRA, picture several hundred Bill O’Reillys growing up in a society which discriminated against them, denied them opportunity, and ridiculed their religion. O’Reilly’s TV show sometimes resembles a group of bomb throwers, using words instead of explosives. Rarely do we get such a display of the primitive bog Irish psyche.

But sometimes O’Reilly gets an issue right, which I why I watch his entertaining show. It’s also a good way to get in one hour the conservative take on America. I like watching Chris Matthews and then Bill O’Reilly, getting two sharply contrasting points of view.

Comprehensible writing

One of the products O’Reilly has been promoting on his show is the book he co-authored “Killing Lincoln.” I never felt motivated to read “Killing Lincoln,” because I thought O’Reilly would use the book to display his intellectual erudition (The word “erudition” is the type O’Reilly likes to use on “The Factor.” “Erudition” means knowledge derived from reading books.)

Also, this writer does not like reading about the American Civil War. I never understood the obsession some Americans have about the civil war. It was a tragic event, with Americans killing each other by the hundreds of thousands. It must have been a terrible thing to live through. The romanticization of the antebellum south, a society based on slavery, seemed appalling.

Then my sister Sharon, a retired high school principal in Houston, Texas, called me up one day to recommend “Killing Lincoln.” Sharon is the family liberal, educated at Anna Maria before joining the Peace Corps.
I saw “Killing Lincoln” on the display rack in the Worcester Library a few days later and grabbed it.

I literally could not put this book down. There was none of the multi-syllable nonsense one expected from O’Reilly. It is written in clear concise English understandable to any reader, no matter what their level of education.

What makes this book so comprehensible is the way it is organized. The chapters are short, sometimes only a single page. They allow the reader to absorb a factor in the overall story, digest its meaning, and then move on. Instead of wedging a thick stack of photographs into the middle of the book, O’Reilly incorporated them into the narrative, allowing the viewer to use the pictures to visualize the participants acting in the unfolding tale.

Gem of a book

The story picks up near the end of the civil war, as union forces try to surround the remnants of Robert E. Lee’s “Army of Northern Virginia”, as it attempts to escape to the Carolinas and take refuge in the Appalachian Mountains, which it would use as a base to wage guerrilla war against the north. With all the attention grabbing drama of a high-speed action thriller, the narrative builds to a climax as Lincoln’s assassins prepare, carry out, and try to escape after the actual assassination.

Like many other prominent Americans who were died violent deaths (the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X), many suspicions and myths have grown up about a conspiracy to murder Lincoln by members of the union government. These are much like the conspiracy theories that the CIA murdered John F. Kennedy. O’Reilly does not go beyond the historical record, but he does record strange happenings involving members of the federal government, without saying outright that it was a conspiracy.

“Killing Lincoln” is a gem of a book. It’s how history should be written – fast paced, easy to absorb, and fun to read.

There’s no business like show business!

By Jack Hoffman

I originally decided to write about bin Laden’s sex life and all the fear that this horny dude has caused not just the US, but Europe and throughout the Middle East. But today we live in this 24-hour news cycle and having a short mind set sorry, Binny boy, you aren’t even obituary news page anymore.

So as your very diligent and informative columnist, I just can’t resist on reporting the front-page news– maybe some from the second page.

Newt Gingrich, that infamous Fox News fat pig/commentator who told his second wife, sorry, first wife on her death bed, he wanted a divorce. All the while he was grabbing one of his aides who became wife number two or three. This dude wants to be president of the USA! I can’t understand how republicans get away with so much infidelity – especially with hookers, other men, and who knows what else. And they still have the chutzpah to run for political office and some get elected. All the while John Edwards, the sole democrat, gets banished into the woods of Carolina for knocking up a fan/vidoegrapher of his.

The head of the IMF (International Money Fund) Dominique Strauss-Kahn (don’t you just love that name?) was fingered in a sexual attack and what else with a NYC hotel maid. This was not a Maid in Manhattan story. All my Jewish friends want to know if he is a member of the tribe. – Yes it’s true – It’s in the Jewish genes and that would be a great defense. With all that money, why not ring up one of the hundreds of female “escorts” advertising some good sex in the yellow pages?

Now the big one — Maria Shriver and Arnie — the Erich Segal novel gone badly awry. This nation could announce we’re in another war and still that famous love story would be number one. Without getting into the whole horny guy who some wanted for president. It’s always fascinating to me how Hollywood and sex can knock anything off the front page.

Now comes a good one: it answers the questions on why republicans are just so fucked up, especially those running for president, or suggesting it, e.g. Donald Trump. Now that’s also a number one story. Rick Santorum, one of the darlings on the right, and the Tea Party – are they still in business? And just about every republican gave most of the credit for the bin Laden massacre to Bush. So Santorum states it was the enhanced interrogation that led to el rancho Laden.

John McCain gets up on the Senate floor and says all that nonsense is bull-shit. So Santorum fires back: What does McCain know about enhanced interrogation? Yikes!

Let’s just say for the time being President Obama wins the election by default, stupidity, or just not knowing what’s out on the street. I will write later on how right-wing radio has lost one of its wings and is slowly falling out of favor.

From the news services, al Qaeda has a new leader. Does this mean more weapons to be built and a delay in US troops leaving Afghanistan?

Did they really build 20 buildings in Washington to deal with terrorism?

Nothing is for nothing

By Jack Hoffman

The first time, and only time, I went to a basketball game at the new Boston Garden- excuse me, Bank North Center – it was a complete culture shock. On every empty space of the venue was an ad for, you name it. But what impressed me the most was this massive electronic scoreboard high above the rafters covered with more ads than information about the game that was being played. The ads were so prominent I wasn’t sure if McDonalds was playing Dunkin Donuts!

Watch a baseball game, hockey or basketball game – you name it. On every pitch everywhere the puck is and wrapped around the scorers’ table an ad flashes for, once again, you name the product.

The Patriots have even scrimmaged with Reebok plastered on their practice shirts. How about those drivers who continuously drive around a circle at speeds up to 200 mph in a car painted with one of your famous consumer products and an advertiser who spends literally millions of dollars to see their name stitched on the drivers’ clothing. We are so influenced by consumer imagery we just about forget what we are paying hundreds of dollars to watch – a sporting event.

Advertising, or shall we say image making, has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Check out Go Daddy a subscription service for going online. Their product is being sold by 6-foot-tall blonds with cleavage that could be easily attributed to the local plastic surgeon.

Beer commercials that play on the boys’ libido with once again blonds on a beach with pronounced cleavage. How about the Cadillac that can go 190 mph without the wipers being blown away? Wait a minute! How many cars are traveling at 190 MPH?

Advertisers, networks and all the rest that sell lots of this crap have gotten so bad they have bastardized the actual event, the movie we want to watch, the news we try to absorb and more. Oh, let’s not forget Janet Jackson’s nipples. I still want to meet someone who actually saw that nipple. And you still think that was a wardrobe challenge? If some of these advertises are playing on your libido I suggest tuning into HBO after 10 PM.

A local news show that can’t wait to see some victim crying and hear the buxom newscaster ask just how do you feel? See how many blonds will Fox “News” use? Well, wait until 6:24 p.m. and if you like watching commercials they run 4 minutes straight of your favorite products. I timed a 4-minute segment and 75% of the commercials were for cars. So much driving on a test track I can’t remember one car advertiser from another.

Image is so important to some advertisers that Staples bought the naming rights to the new sports center in LA for $100 million for 15 years. Is it really worth it?

Now we go to a movie and arrive just in time to be greeted by a slew of commercials and coming attractions that consume 15 to 18 minutes of get ‘em up aliens and some more stupid animations. This is not a kiddy audience or a kiddy movie we paid 10 bucks to see.

Just a friendly tip: arrive 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.
Isn’t it interesting that the best news network or the most informative programs are the ones on PBS and on the radio at NPR? Problem is so much private funding is needed to keep these gems on the air/airwaves we are now being bombarded with “pledge week” that once lasted a week to the now almost once every month.

Would I rather pay $40 per month and watch all the movies I want or an extra $15 per month to watch important sporting events? I joked when Disney 10 years ago paid $1 billion for ESPN. I asked: How much fly fishing can we watch? Well, in any case I wish I could pay a couple of bucks extra to watch a pawn shop show or some dangerous occupation like catching crabs in snow storms without being interrupted by an ad for some other action show.

The question is: Will we the audience be willing to pay extra money to be entertained without being pitched some product/service we don’t really need?