Brit Hume on why Megyn Kelly is a Time 100 “Pioneer”: She has “great looks”

The Fox News commentator leads off his celebration of Kelly with a bizarrely shallow and sexist observation

Topics: Megyn Kelly, Sexism, Time magazine, time 100, Brit Hume, , ,

Brit Hume on why Megyn Kelly is a Time 100 "Pioneer": She has "great looks"Megyn Kelly (Credit: AP/Richard Drew)

Fox News host Megyn Kelly is one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, and her colleague Brit Hume was tapped to sing her praises. It was a bad choice!

In his short writeup celebrating what makes Kelly a “Pioneer” (per her official Time taxonomy), Hume leads off with an observation about her “great looks.” Then he gets to the other stuff about her intelligence:

Ten years ago, my wife Kim, then Fox News’ Washington bureau chief, walked into my office carrying a videocassette. “You have got to see this,” Kim said. It was the audition tape of a local TV reporter then named Megyn Kendall. She was a lawyer and new to the business, but her tape displayed as full a set of the qualities of a network correspondent as I had ever seen: great looks, strong voice, authoritative yet cheerful presence and obvious intelligence. In other words, limitless potential.

The remark reads as bizarre, and bizarrely out of place in the broader context of the list. There are many women featured throughout, but — after doing a quick read through the other women featured — I couldn’t find another example of someone being celebrated for being pretty.

Here’s Dwayne Wade on Serena Williams:

Serena does not take her abilities for granted. She deserves all of her success, because she is one of the most hardworking and disciplined people I know. She is a world-class athlete and a true champion in every sense of the word. Serena is on a mission — and how amazing that we all get to witness it.

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Malala Yousafzai on Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton is a symbol of strength for women across the world. It was she who famously said, “Women’s rights are human rights.” She not only spoke those words, but also dedicated her life to empowering women around the world through politics and philanthropy.

Valerie Jarrett on Kerry Washington:

In a world that too often tells little girls to choose between womanhood and success, between femininity and a seat at the head of the table, both onscreen and off Kerry Washington embodies the promise that lives in all our young people to shape their own destinies and succeed as “gladiators” for the causes in which they believe.

Emily Blunt on Amy Adams:

She’s self-admittedly terrible at small talk and hiding her feelings, which I really admire in an industry full of gush. She’s also spooky-good at her job. There’s a certain mystique about Amy that helps the audience go with her on this chameleon of a career, from Enchanted to The Fighter to American Hustle. And I don’t think she’s discovered her full bag of tricks even yet.

Lee Iacocca on Mary Barra:

In a perfect world, gender shouldn’t matter. So it’s about time someone of Mary Barra’s caliber and experience was appointed to the coveted position of General Motors CEO. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Barra, but although we are a number of decades apart, I’ve read her background and it is much the same as mine. She grew up in a working-class family, as did I, and fell in love with cars at a very young age. She fell in love with a red Chevy Camaro convertible, and I fell in love with the Model A my dad bought.

Mlambo-Ngcuka on Michelle Bachelet:

She is gentle and accessible, yet also strong and determined. As she has said, she is “just another Chilean woman who works, cares for her house and goes to the supermarket.” But she is also “a woman with a calling for social struggle and public service.”

Lots of women, but nary a mention of their looks to be found. Congratulations on being a total dinosaur, Brit Hume!

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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