Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s arrival at NBC News, where she is to replace hosts Tamron Hall and Al Roker on the third hour of the Today show, has triggered anger from the National Association of Black Journalists, which claims the network is engaging in “whitewashing.”
“NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing,” the group complained in a statement.
It added that Hall and Roker’s strong ratings deserve “praise, not punishment,” and then took a swing at Kelly, claiming that she has “a well-documented history of offensive remarks regarding people of color.”
“On The Kelly File, her Fox News show, the host said then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University pandered to a ‘culture of victimization,’” the group wrote.
The association neglected to mention the context of Kelly’s statement. Kelly had at the time been speaking with conservative commentator Michelle Malkin about a racially charged and widely panned speech that the former first lady had delivered a few days prior.
During the speech, then-first lady Michelle Obama repeatedly complained about the “frustrating” racism she and her husband had experienced while serving as the first black couple in the White House.
“We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives,” Obama said then.
The statement by the National Association of Black Journalists also failed to mention that Hall reportedly turned down a multimillion dollar deal this week to both remain on the Today show and also keep her program on MSNBC.
“NBC News very much wanted Tamron to stay, she was offered a multi-million dollar/multi-year contract and she chose to go,” a source familiar with the discussions between NBC and Hall told the Daily Mail.
The network has since issued a rebuttal statement to the association.
“NBC News has a long and proven history as an industry leader in newsroom diversity,” the network said in a statement. “We will continue to engage in the running dialogue we’ve had for many years with the National Association of Black Journalists and other advocacy groups to advance those goals.”
Some might argue that if NBC wants to truly promote diversity, it ought to stop associating with a group that defines itself by race.
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