Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 18, 2016

The Interview: Donald and Megyn in Bed

Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly pose in Trump's office in the Trump Tower in front of Trump's framed Playboy cover.

With all the hubbub over Megyn Kelly’s spineless and incestuous interview with Donald Trump Tuesday night (Megyn: “Let’s talk about us”), this photo Trump tweeted to promote the show seems to have gone by with little or no comment. I believe it was taken on April 13th, the day Trump and Kelly met at Trump Tower to patch things up. Between the two events, of course, was the shameless promotion of the vacuous event, including FOX’s first teaser on 5/6, and Megyn baring her soul (and more teaser clips) with Kelly and Michael on 5/9, Jimmy Fallon on 5/13, and Colbert and People on May 17. (And those are just the promos I found in a few clicks.)

 If you read any of the commentary about the interview (there is Amy Davidson’s: Megyn Kelly’s Guide to Surrendering to Donald Trump, and more, 123) you know that Kelly and Trump have become collaborators to serve each other’s larger ambitions, the next Barbara Walters (as Kelly has been shopping herself) patches it up with the next infomercial leader of the free world. 

What’s remarkable about the photo is how it telegraphs Kelly cashing in on Trump’s misogyny, the interview leveraged off Trump’s (momentary) victimization of Kelly almost a year ago. Arm in arm with each other (Trump also flashing the branded thumbs up), Megyn is positioned exactly in front of the Trump Playboy cover we described back on January after Trump was seen waving it around at a rally in New Hampshire. Given the alignment, Kelly serves as a life-sized replacement for Brandi Brandt, the former bunny on the cover, sandwiched as she is between playboy Donald-then in the formal wear and playboy Donald-now in his business uniform. Catapulting off the FOX star’s brief sexual exploitation, the cozy juxtaposition of the opportunists is a fantastic indictment of the incestuous outcome.  Or as Donald (“THE MOVEMENT”) live-tweeted upon the conclusion of the actually weeks-old interview:

FOX network promotional photos of the Trump - Megyn Kelly interview.

Briefly too, I wanted to touch on the uniforms and the FOX publicity photos from the interview in Trump’s Trump Tower conference room.  Lest you think for a moment that anything about Kelly is innocent, or journalistic, though, you should forever keep one thing in mind from the Hollywood Reporter interview with MK’s stylist, ostensibly explaining the choice of the Dior dress Kelly wore for the interview. That bit of info is that Kelly’s look, from clothes to hair, is “a sexed-up version of” Claire Underwood. (And not that the “House of Cards” comparison stops there, didn’t Claire cash in on her well-broadcast sexual violation, too?)

Knowing, by the way, how Donald is every bit the TV host/star that Megyn is, I love how this photo of the front-facing duo against the cityscape morphs former predator and victim into Regis and Kathy Lee.

But back to the dress. As Megyn’s stylist relates in this post, titled “The Strategy Behind Megyn Kelly’s Power Look for her Donald Trump Face-off”:

The fact that she was robed in such a bold shade didn’t happen by accident, and was selected to act like armor for what has been become a highly anticipated face-to-face with the presumptive Republican presidential candidate…. “The red color gave it the power perspective we were looking for,” says Dana Perriello, Kelly’s longtime stylist, of the red Dior dress. “It plays really nicely with her sitting across from Trump.” It’s the balance between tough and feminine that the stylist says she and her star client are consistently trying to strike.

Well, so much for menstrual blood.

FOX network promotional photos of the Trump - Megyn Kelly interview.

Finally, I’m head over heels for this shot. Inadvertent or not as the red of the armor/power dress dialogues with Donald’s conciliatory blue, it feels like an early jump on Independence Day. And talk about heavy handed, what’s with the sudden appearance of the flag pin? What I get out of this mutual promotion, in true George W. Bush wrap-yourself-in-the-flag style, is an event thickly-coated (like Donald is) in patriotism and wealth. Complimenting themselves in those primary colors, there’s Old Glory perfectly aligned between the former adversaries against the gilded backdrop of The Crown Building.

As Donald and Claire make themselves great again, it’s the perfect merger of power, sex, media and patriotism. Holy symbiosis, doesn’t that put you in the mood for Cleveland? Or at least, some popcorn with “House of Cards” and a few chants of USA, USA?

(photo 1: Donald Trump via Twitter. photo 2 & 3: Eric Liebowitz / FOX)

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