Accuracy in Media

Megyn Kelly has been accused of sounding like her old Fox News self after comments she made on her NBC daytime program about the dangers that lie in adhering to the “believe women” slogan.

Attempts to “debunk” her remarks reflected the biases of the outlets involved.

“During a panel discussion on ‘Megyn Kelly TODAY’ about the accusations of sexual misconduct facing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the NBC anchor warned women ‘to be careful’ with such claims,” Salon reported. “‘If there is a presumption of guilty in all cases, how are we going to get people to listen to us?’ she asked.”

After a guest on the program, conservative pundit Amy Holmes, remarked that black men have the same problem of being accused of crimes on college campuses and the struggle to establish their innocence.

“’Absolutely,’ Kelly agreed. ‘What happened on college campuses is sort of a harbinger of what’s been going on in the country, where we’ve swung the pendulum so far back against men – took away their due process rights. They don’t have the right to cross-examine. They don’t have the right to an attorney. They don’t have a right to evidence. They don’t have a right to see emails, for example, that a woman has sent, maybe saying it was consensual. They don’t have that right – or they didn’t under President Obama.”

Kelly was referring to guidelines issued through the Department of Education during the Obama administration that encouraged colleges to set up procedures on campus to adjudicate claims of sexual assault among students that did not conform to American standards of criminal prosecution. Only the preponderance-of-evidence standard was applied, and students could be expelled and their records tarnished forever as a result of the findings of these non-judicial proceedings.

The administration rescinded the rules in September 2017, saying they “lacked basic elements of fairness.”

“However, a fact-check by Raw Story’s David Edwards later debunked Kelly’s claims.”

Edwards’ debunking began with a misleading sentence: “NBC host Megyn Kelly claimed on Thursday that men don’t have ‘due process rights’ in sexual assault cases because the justice system favors women.”

She actually said men did not have due process rights in sexual assault cases that were addressed in the campus hearing settings to which she was referring.

His debunking amounted to this:

“In fact, the Obama administration did put into place rules for colleges to protect the rights of the accuser,” he wrote for Raw Story under ”Megyn Kelly warns women: ‘We have swung the pendulum so far against men, took away their due process rights.’”

“Those rules have been rescinded by the Trump administration. However, men charged with sexual assault crimes did not lose their due process rights in a court of law as a result of the Obama-era rules.”

What Kelly said is men lost their access to a court of law as well as the standards of evidence and proof required therein, and even the New York Times admitted this approach had problems.

“Even some liberal legal figures took issue with the Obama administration’s approach, arguing that no student should be punished unless the school was more certain that a line had been crossed,” it wrote last September in reporting on the decision by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to rescind the guidelines.

The Salon critique of Kelly’s remarks also quoted Edwards’ unsupported assertion, also hit Kelly, who is an attorney, for saying “women are entitled to an open mind and a fair hearing – not to a presumption that their accusations are true. Men get due process as well.”

Kelly “accused Democrats of ‘trying to maneuver Dr. Ford and others as political weapons’ in a string of pointed comments that more closely resembled the tone of her right-of-center Fox News primetime show than the historically centrist one of ‘Today.’”

“As further evidence, the NBC anchor challenged former President Barack Obama’s education secretary to debate her on the air.” It does not point out that this was because Arne Duncan, the former secretary, “had called me a liar.”

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