Kelly’s upcoming memoir Settle For More has been under strict embargo until its release date—next Tuesday, November 15—but The New York Times got its mitts on a copy, as it always does. Jennifer Senior’s review illuminates what is almost certainly the most anticipated book of the last two months of 2016. (With apologies to George Saunders.)
Kelly’s book recounts her experience of being sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, who was forced out of the network after two decades in charge by a raft of similar accusations. “He made sexual comments to me, offers of professional advancement in exchange for sexual favors,” Kelly writes.
And here’s Senior’s recounting of Kelly’s description of the beginning of her conflict with Donald Trump, which began shortly before the first Republican primary debate in August:
Ms. Kelly writes that her problems started in August, the Monday before the first Republican presidential primary debate. She had just done a segment on her show, “The Kelly File,” that infuriated Mr. Trump. He refused to make his own scheduled appearance on her show unless she phoned him personally.
“I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you,” she says he told her, “and I still may.”
Then, the day before the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump was in a lather again, Ms. Kelly writes. He called Fox executives, saying he’d heard that her first question “was a very pointed question directed at him.” This disconcerted her, because it was true: It was about his history of using disparaging language about women.
Kelly took to Twitter shortly after the review dropped to insist that she is not suggesting that Fox executives gave Trump a debate question before the first debate—just that he had become broadly aware of its subject.
If that seems like an academic distinction, that’s because it is.
Kelly’s book—at least what we can gather from a short review in the Times—also seems to point at the identity crisis in Fox that arose from Trump’s rise and Ailes’s departure, and will surely only be deepened by Trump’s election. Back in August, New York’s Gabriel Sherman reported that Ailes first began reaching out to Trump out of fear for what he could do to Fox and its credibility. “According to two high-level Fox sources, Ailes’s diplomacy was the result of increasing concern inside Fox News that Trump could damage the network.” Ailes is gone now but the rift in Fox is still there. There are those like Kelly, who (aside from a puff piece “makeup” interview) see him as dangerous and those like Sean Hannity, who has worked as an unofficial arm of the campaign for months. And Trump already brought Fox to its knees multiple times during the primaries. He will go after the network again and, given the contents of Kelly’s book, maybe sooner rather than later.