Just three days into her new show The Real Story on Fox News where she's trying to "hold everyone's feet to the fire," Gretchen Carlson pulled out the big guns by hosting a "power panel of women" that included former Real Housewife of New York Jill Zarin and new Miss America Nina Davuluri. The women decided to tackle the important issue of what it means that the Obama administration is advertising the Affordable Care Act in Cosmopolitan magazine. Tell us Gretchen: what does it mean?
First off, Carlson never actually defines her terms: is she discussing editorial or sponsored content? Is she concerned with an actual ad in the pages of the magazine or Cosmo's recent feature entitled "Top 8 Ways Young Women Benefit From Obamacare"? Or they discussing this piece called "5 Important Questions About the Affordable Care Act"? If Carlson had given her panelists or viewers any context at all, it would probably have been clear that she was referring to the White House's decision to reach out women's magazines and pitch them on writing stories about the ACA, as reported by the LA Times earlier this week, which, just FYI, is a thing that happens every day at every media organization everywhere, including Fox News.
Though Carlson did not explain this to her viewers or even her guests, that didn't stop her from making it clear that "in order for Obamacare to succeed, it needs to get the right demographic to enroll: people who are young and healthy" and telling young women "it's your money" that will make this work. "There's ways of messaging and then there's ways of really messaging and one thing you have to give this administration credit for is that they're good at messaging," says Carlson. "But is it correct to do it in this way without telling all the details?" Good q's Gretchen! Unfortunately, we have literally no idea what content you are talking about!
This utter lack of clarification or explanation didn't stop Jill Zarin from yapping away as Fox News hoped she would, essentially implying that there's a dangerous almost NSA spying scandal quality to this hypothetical White House "advertorial":
When these women sign up for themselves and their families, just to even see what their options are you have to give them your email address, you have to activate and you have to give them three security codes. So now already...they're gathering all this information on us and we haven't even chosen what we're going to do yet.
"What you're talking about is the expansion of government, which many people are very fearful of," Carlson said, before swiftly moving the conversation onto our favorite topic "CAN WOMEN HAVE IT ALL?" without actually clarifying anything whatsoever about what the fuck she was trying to say or ask about the Obama administration, the ACA, Cosmopolitan magazine or the line between editorial and sponsored content. Miss America did get a chance to say that "It's painful for me to say this, but a lot of young women get their news from Cosmo," in a tone that current editor Joanna Coles probably did not love hearing, given an interview she did with Reuters in June where she openly discussed the magazine's plan to cover the ACA, saying "This stuff is really important. It's life-changing for a lot of people."
Luckily, Carlson's panel left plenty of time available to discuss CAN WOMEN HAVE IT ALL?, which was a much more fruitful discussion: Jill Zarin got a chance to make totally unveiled references to former best friend Bethenny Frankel, discussing how she and Frankel had once disagreed about whether or not women could do everything they wanted to do. Zarin was of the school of thought that women can, just not at the same time, while Frankel believed that it was possible to get everything you wanted and do it all at once, before she had a husband or kids. "And she did, or at least it appeared to," said Zarin. "And I'm watching from the sidelines going, 'I guess I was wrong; maybe you can do it all at the same time' and sure enough, it didn't happen, she ended up getting divorced." Zarin: 1, Frankel: 0, People watching Gretchen Carlson's new show: -5000.