A controversial tweet from a fan of top contender for Republican Party presidential nomination Donald Trump depicting Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly in a meme and calling her a “bimbo” has gone viral. The meme features photos of Kelly posing provocatively in a small black dress and high heels. The meme included the captions “Criticizes Trump for objectifying women” and, below the photos, “Poses like this in GQ magazine.”
The meme spread soon after it was retweeted by Donald Trump himself and has since been retweeted and ‘hearted’ thousands of times.
Kelly had previously attracted the ire of Trump during the first GOP debate after she asked him pointed questions about his track record of making derogative remarks about women, their appearance, and their behaviour. Trump has recently refused to participate in the next Republican debate organised by Fox unless the network removes Kelly from the event…
Instead of attending the debate, “We’ll have an event here in Iowa, with potentially another network, to raise money for wounded warriors,” campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said. “And Fox will go from probably having 24 million viewers to about 2 million.”
Many observers are of the view that this threat may actually hold water considering the bonanza viewership Trump’s appearances have consistently delivered to the media in recent months.
The bigger discussion that seems to surround the fracas between Trump, the Fox network, and the bigger community of commentators who have become increasingly polarised by Trump’s unique and unprecedented manner with which he is bidding for the presidency of the mightiest nation on the planet is around the female “objectification” angle that has come centre stage as a result of this recent social media circus.
Did the Megyn Kelly meme provide the long-overdue real frame in this debate?
Specifically, the word hypocrisy seems to be the order of the day here. It is common knowledge that Fox News consistently hire babe-ish female reporters and television personalities who appear in Fox programmes caked in makeup and decked in attire not too different from Kelly’s GQ photoshoot wardrobe. Indeed, there is an underground cottage industry across social media exchanging images and screen caps of female Fox personalities doing what they do best.
Perhaps then this latest spectacle could be a seminal epiphany to the public on why Trump has become such a formidable figure in US politics. Trump’s increasing ability to thumb his nose at Big News Media and the “civil society” it (now even more-arguably) presumes to represent is, itself, an outcome of the industry’s own failure to live up to its own lofty journalistic ideals. Indeed, increasing competition — specifically now that the rise of the Net as a source of “news” is progressively crushing traditional media’s hundred-year-old business models — has forced traditional news outlets to rely more and more on lurid tabloid journalism to boost ratings.
An interesting space to watch, even, is how the venerable Huffington Post recently made an editorial decision to add a note to all Trump coverage calling him a ‘serial liar,’ ‘racist’…
“Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, birther, and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.,” the note says. It first appeared Wednesday night on an article about Trump’s feud with Fox News, Politico reports.A Huffington Post spokesperson told Politico that the note will be added to all coverage of Trump. “No other candidate has called for banning 1.6 billion people from the country! If any other candidate makes such a proposal, we’ll append a note under pieces about them,” the spokesperson explained.
But look past the pompous rhetoric of this text and it is easy to come out with a more jaded interpretation of this move on the part of the Huff’s editors. It really comes across as a measure of desperation — an online news outlet under pressure from shareholders to increase clicks that simply cannot not cover Trump but needing to resort to a denial caveat to justify its continued coverage of a subject its editors (so they say to their readership) find unsavory. That’s a fistful of words describing the Huff’s editors’ lame effort to tell us “We think Trump is a prick but we need him to keep our heads above water.”