Late Night: Jon Stewart calls Fox’s Megyn Kelly a hypocrite

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Last night on ‘The Daily Show,’ Jon Stewart celebrated the triumphant return of his favorite Fox News personality, Megyn Kelly, after a lengthy maternity leave.

While Stewart was happy to have Kelly back, there was something a little different--and it wasn’t just her new, shorter hairstyle. Upon her return to ‘America Live’ this Monday, Kelly grilled conservative radio host Mike Gallagher, who had called her maternity leave ‘a racket.’


For Stewart, Kelly’s stance was more than a little ironic. ‘She was making quite a spirited argument that workers are entitled to certain benefits and that society has an interest in protecting these benefits, which is great...and really weird. Wait, ‘cause that’s not the Fox’s Megyn Kelly that I thought I knew.’

Stewart rolled the tape, which intercut Kelly’s enthusiastic defense of maternity leave with her previous attacks on ‘entitlement’ programs and mandated benefits more broadly.

Even by the standards of ‘The Daily Show,’ it was pretty devastating stuff: ‘New’ Kelly claimed that the United States, as ‘the only advanced country that doesn’t require paid leave,’ is ‘in the Dark Ages,’ while ‘old’ Kelly was a staunch advocate of the free market who decried the ‘welfare state.’ ‘That’s the way it works in American society,’ she said. (To be fair, it’s not clear whether ‘old’ Kelly was specifically talking about maternity leave in these clips, but as far as Stewart is concerned, it doesn’t matter; maternity leave is an ‘entitlement’ just like health insurance or Social Security.)

Most devastating of all, ‘new’ Kelly seemed to have no problem with men who take leave to spend time with their newborns; ‘old’ Kelly thought the idea was nonsense. ‘How is it discriminatory to give less time to the man, who didn’t have the baby?’ she wondered.

So how to explain Kelly’s apparent about-face? Stewart presented a hypothesis: ‘They’re really only ‘entitlements’ when they’re something other people want. When it’s something you want, they’re a a hallmark of a civilized society, the foundation of a great people. ‘I just had a baby, and found out that maternity leave strengthens society, but since I still have a job, unemployment benefits are clearly socialism.’

He concluded, ‘Either Megyn Kelly has inadvertently exposed the hypocrisy at the heart of conservative demonization of unions and the working class, or--oh my God, it’s worse than I thought--Megyn Kelly is suffering from postpartum compassion.’

Which one is it?

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-- Meredith Blake