December 3, 2013

On her Fox News show last night, host Megyn Kelly pounded away on the latest reports about Obamacare. Prior to a chat with pro-Obama commentator Ben LaBolt, Kelly played audio of comments by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who said that the “current administration has taken lying to a new level. To me, that’s the one thing that I find most aggravating about what’s happening in Washington these days. Particularly about this administration which is a lack of accountability and the willingness to mislead people or provide them false information and expect to be able to move on.”

In her discussion with LaBolt, Kelly picked up on precisely that theme, pointing out that Robert Gibbs, former Obama administration official and LaBolt’s partner at the communications firm The Incite Agency, has been “very frank about his belief that this administration needs to hold someone accountable for the deterioration and trust we have seen. Somebody needs to get fired basically.” Does LaBolt agree with that prescription?

LaBolt replied, “I think ultimately we’ll see accountability here. The real accountability is, have we put in place a system that ensures, that is, the program works?”

To which Kelly supplied this memorable comeback: “Come on, you don’t believe that.” But he did. LaBolt spoke of “tech experts” who’ve been brought in from Silicon Valley (not an example of accountability). He also spoke of bringing in a “world-class management expert to make it work,” apparently a reference to Jeffrey Zients. Then came this exchange:

LABOLT: What would you like to see, Megyn? How do you define it?
KELLY: I don’t care. It’s not up to me. Don’t tell me accountability is to fix the mistakes. Accountability is to say you screwed up and here is the person. I don’t know who it is. Is it Kathleen Sebelius? You tell me. Is it the person who runs Medicare and Medicaid?
LABOLT: I don’t think it going to come down to any one person. There were 55 contractors involved in developing this.

And so it went: No matter how hard Kelly pressed, she wasn’t going to get this team player to admit that one of the most disastrous moments in government tech management warrants a single dismissal. Instead of yelling at LaBolt, Kelly signed off, “Good having you on.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.