Megyn Kelly should have done her homework

Megyn Kelly with PM Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin (Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS)

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Ahead of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, Megyn Kelly held an exclusive interview for NBC News with Prime Minister and the Russian President Vladimir Putin. This interview would be Kelly’s NBC News debut.

On Friday, the channel released a quick 39-second teaser which shows Kelly greeting the two world leaders in Konstantin Palace. As Modi approached her, he informed her jovially that he had seen her photograph “with the umbrella” in St. Petersburg, which Kelly had posted on twitter. In response, Kelly quizzically asked him, “Are you on twitter?”

Sound, solid research is a marker of a good journalist. That’s our brand – to be informed, to be prepared, to be accurate. Important, prevalent information should be at the tip of our tongue, or our fingertips. In the age of technology, it would take a handful of seconds to perform a quick search, which would inform you that Modi is the second most popular political world leader on twitter (30.3 million followers), sailing right behind President Donald J. Trump (31.2 million).

Of course, one cannot expect a journalist to know everything all the time, but these are world leaders we are talking about. The stakes are high. Social media outlets like twitter then become a crucial source for harvesting information. A leader’s page not only gives you a snapshot on his/her policies and programmes (that may or may not have international ramifications), but also provides an insight into the leader’s ideological leanings and beliefs. If navigated intelligently, twitter can be a goldmine, which can aid a journalist in asking pragmatic, informed, and sometimes tough, questions.

On June 1, 2017, Kelly announced that she would be holding an exclusive “one-on-one” with Putin. Mentioning Modi, however, was not on her radar:

She did, however, give a perfunctory mention about Modi in one tweet:

Formerly with Fox News, Kelly’s journalistic career has been mired in controversies, the most noted one has been about her feud with Trump, which began at the first Republican presidential debate back in August 2015.

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