Good one

Good on Fox, and especially Megyn Kelly, for provoking Donald Trump to stay away from a TV “debate.” It was an exquisite marketing move, for which I must also congratulate Roger Ailes, and Rupert Murdoch. Now suddenly the other half of America — the “liberal” half — is tuning in Fox News and liking it. I am rather enjoying this. It was time to unsettle Mr Trump, who is outwardly a populist thug, but inwardly a pansy. In his absence the exchange of crass personal insults dropped nearly to zero, and the intelligence level quadrupled. (That can’t be good for ratings, though.)

I adore Mrs Kelly, even though she once chopped me up on air, into wee tiny pieces. It was a scene I would rather not remember, which still comes back to mind: the biggest fool I ever made of myself on the idiot box. “They” had me on to “discuss” some Canadian journalist with a name like Malice, who’d done an especially obnoxious anti-American tirade for the Canadian shill network, CBC. How did I “feel” about it?

“Just great,” I replied. … Mrs Kelly’s eyes went suddenly narrow. …

“I think it is wonderful when we get to hear what our media types really think. Usually it is confined to off-camera comments. On camera, we get their totally fake ‘objective’ pose.”

She could remain silent no longer. She lit into me with a hundred thunderballs. How dare I defend this obnoxious anti-American twit?

“But Megyn, but Megyn, I’m on your side,” I mumbled, with little hope of being heard. Then I went home to read a hundred emails from patriotic Americans, condemning me to death.

Irony may not be her strongest suit, but Mrs Kelly knows how to rattle people, and that is the interviewer’s most important skill, at least when dealing with the powerful. Ideally, you get them to say, on the record, what they will not want to hear in the recording.

The complete demolition of Henry Kissinger, by the late adored Oriana Fallaci in 1972, stands as I think the high point in my living experience of journalism. She also destroyed Ayatollah Khomeini, Muammar Gaddafi, Haile Selassie, and Yasser Arafat, in plain public view. Indeed, she achieved these things long before her thermonuclear, one-woman assault on Islam, after 9/11. (She was a libertarian anarchist, and finally a “very Catholic atheist,” who met with Pope Benedict XVI and admired him.)

As gentle reader may already imagine, I do not think the purpose of journalism is to be “fair.” One is always in the tag ring with Good and Evil, yet one is not the referee. One’s job is to help Good get a clean knock-out. All the great journalists have understood this: that they do not report what is “fair” but what they believe, or better, know to be true — in its entirety. The task is to expose the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

Will this have any effect on “history”? Almost certainly not. But that is not our business. History can take care of itself.

Now in the present circumstances, I wonder if Good is even in the ring. One is more or less up against Evil, solo, and so might as well invoke God. “Nothing to lose but your life,” as they say. And, “Nothing to gain but Heaven.”

The journalist’s task with Mr Trump, for instance, is not to tell lies to his benefit, or to his detriment. Lies seldom work for long, unless you have guns to enforce them. Rather it is to show him, for exactly what he is. This Mrs Kelly did for a moment in their televised encounter some months ago. The presidential candidate found her impossible to bully. He’d found all other journalists easy marks. Hooo, did he whimper, in vulgar emails afterwards; and last night, conspicuously, he could not return to face her (still owing an apology on air). He wasn’t man enough for that.

Rather, since crass insults are his game, let me add that he is America’s most blustering weenie.