New York Magazine has just published a brief profile of Good Day New York anchorman Greg Kelly (pictured above at right), in light of his recent rape allegations. A few excerpts below:
Kelly, the 43-year-old son of NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, shares his father’s strong jaw, the most recognizable part of a face long familiar to both New Yorkers and a national audience, thanks to his decade-plus run as a war reporter and TV personality. Although no charges have been filed, Kelly’s life is suddenly subject to more scrutiny; up until this point, it had been a pretty storied ride.
Broadcast journalism was the next noble pursuit, as Kelly did an anchor stint in Binghamton before returning to New York City to report on politics for NY1, where he covered the September 11 attacks. He joined Fox News channel the next year and reported live from Iraq, bringing the first televised images from the U.S. invasion of Baghdad. “This was a gutsy move, going into Baghdad,”Kelly remembered five years later. “We went in by ourselves.” Kelly was even hit by shrapnel from a mortar live on the air. “I was shaken up, but about ten, fifteen minutes later we were back,” Kelly said. “The wounds were superficial at best.” After four extended assignments in Iraq, Kelly worked as Fox News’s White House correspondent from 2005 to 2007, while also ranking as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves, before taking the local morning gig.
Kelly’s romantic life has always remained pretty private. But nearly five years ago, Extra called Kelly “The Most Eligible Anchorman in America,” and said the newsman “hopes to settle down with a wife and kids someday.” Kelly “likes women who are smart, ambitious and ready for take-off!” according to the puff piece. “She’s got to think that I’m funny even if I’m not that funny,” Kelly quipped. “I guess I want a girl who is not afraid to go flying someday.”
The profile presents Kelly as traditionally masculine, noble, of good-breeding; his father is a police commissioner, he has a strong jaw, and followed military service with “gutsy” journalism. He even was once named one of “The Most Eligible Anchorman in America.” All things that don’t comprise the typical portrait of a rapist. Implicitly, the profile questions how a man with such credentials could commit rape. As this profile is quite sympathetic to Kelly and makes little mention of the actual evidence at hand, it reinforces the master narrative that only “bad” men rape; a man of Kelly’s white upper-middle class upbringing and heroic square-jawed stature wouldn’t do such a thing. Some commenters have pointed out the narrative at play in this post. One commenter, sayallah, awaits the next piece which will probably paint the victim as a drunk slut:
the trial has already started, and joe [coscarelli] has just presented exhibit #1 to the public jury. next up, exhibit #2, which will describe in great detail the poor girls drinking habits and promiscuous habits and unprofessional dress and bright red liptick and leopard print thongs and tendency to bedazzle her vagina and oh yeah, her double stuffed oreo contest… and then lets wait for the trial and pretend like the media did absolutely nothing to alter the decision of the jury. you people make me sick.
Media and journalism are not un-biased. They do in fact have the ability to sway the public opinion on matters such as rape charges. Profiles such as this one make it easier to sympathize with Kelly, and thus remove some of the blame as he is painted as a good person. Committing rape though has nothing to do with how “good” one person is or has been. Almost all reports on the rape charges make some mention of Kelly’s background as a war veteran or his status as son of New York’s Police Commissioner. How many more profiles similar to this one will surface remains to be seen, as does the ultimate outcome of the accusations. If more do surface, it wouldn’t be surprising if Kelly manages to come away with his image intact.