Megyn Kelly: Comment About Santa Being White Was Tongue-in-Cheek

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 14 2013 2:50 PM

Megyn Kelly of Fox News: Comment About Santa Being White Was Tongue-in-Cheek

Critics have it all wrong. Here was Megyn Kelly, a Fox News anchor known for her jokes and good humor, just trying to bring some Christmas cheer to the cable-news channel’s programming but sour people who hate Fox News won’t let her. After causing a firestorm earlier this week when she told “kids watching at home” that Santa Claus, like Jesus, is a white man, Kelly addressed the issue on her show again Friday. In a rambling message in which she appeared to be digging herself deeper and deeper into a controversy of her own creation, Kelly described the comment as a “tongue-in-cheek” message for any kids who may have been watching her show.

“Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless,” Kelly said on “The Kelly File.” “This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society, in particular, the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race-bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful Fox News Channel.”

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In fact, Kelly argued, she was just agreeing with the point that Slate’s Aisha Harris hade made in her original piece that sparked the whole controversy. Why did Kelly say Santa was white? Because, well, that’s what she’s seen and she wanted to debate whether that should change but all the people focusing on the words she uttered on television weren’t letting her pursue the debate with the seriousness it deserves. “We continually see St. Nick as a white man in modern-day America,” Kelly said. “Should that change? Well, that debate got lost because so many couldn’t get past the fact that I acknowledged, as Harris did, that the most commonly depicted image of Santa, does, in fact, have white skin.”

What about the statement that Jesus was white? She sort of brushed it off: “By the way, I also said Jesus is white,” Kelly said, “As I’ve learned in the past two days, that is far from settled.” And finally, the cherry-on-the-sundae conclusion to the whole saga? “Race is still an incredibly volatile issue in this country, and Fox News, and yours truly, are big targets for many people.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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