Work Life Balance

Megyn Kelly Explains Maternity Leave And Entitlement Reform To Jon Stewart

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Last week we highlighted Fox News host Megyn Kelly sparring with guest Mike Gallagher over his comments against maternity leave. Then we looked at Jon Stewart‘s mocking of Kelly’s views on maternity leave. He suggested she was inconsistent in that she doesn’t equally support every government program that has come down the pike. Now she responds.

In an interview with Mediaite‘s Colby Hall, Kelly discusses that bit and a few other maternity-related issues. She mentions that she was in no way offended by Stewart’s comedy bit and says it’s his job to be funny and not necessarily accurate. She adds:

But on the substance of it, it got me thinking, because all my remarks were clearly out of context and he was trying to create a narrative. It is not actually inconsistent for somebody to be pro-entitlement reform and pro-strong maternity leave. And Bill Clinton is the best example of that, because he was the one who signed welfare reform into law, and yet also signed the FMLA, which is very controversial and a lot of conservatives didn’t like it. While you may not be somebody who wants a lot of government tentacles in your life, you may also be somebody who thinks that a working woman who has just given birth to a baby shouldn’t have to choose between keeping her job and having her physical recovery and bonding time with her infant child.

Stewart suggested she was only in favor of the unpaid maternity leave benefit because it benefits her. But, she points out, she was advocating on behalf of that benefit even though she doesn’t benefit from it. Fox News gave her time off with pay — something that is not required by any government regulation.

Kelly also says she was unplugged when she was on maternity leave. Asked if she watched any TV, she said:

A little bit. I became a normal news consumer. I think the amount of news we take in, being in this industry, is unrealistic for the average viewer. I mean, we’ve read all the blogs, we’ve read papers, we know what’s in the magazines, we spend hours a day interviewing newsmakers and getting commentary and perspective on it. That’s not real. That’s not what the average American does for news consumption. So when I was on maternity leave, I became an average American in terms of news consumption I watched some TV, I took in some information online, but most of the time, I went about living my day-to-day life. It was actually really refreshing.

Now that I’m back, I think I have a better perspective on how my viewers are coming to the news. You can’t assume that they are as immersed in these stories as we are, and you can’t assume when you write an intro to a story that you may have been following that they know the background to the story. You’re actually doing them a service if you assume they don’t know about it. And for those who do know it, they’ll forgive you a line or two of repetition on a story they’ve already heard about. For those who don’t know, they’ll be very grateful that you’ve not assumed they’re up to date, and brought them into the loop and then they can hear a meaningful debate.