Casual viewers of the fourth hour of Today may know hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford as mirth-filled, wine-sipping, gigglingly garrulous gals. But there's another side to Kathie Lee, and some might not find it quite as palatable.
If you watch the show regularly, you know that Kathie Lee talks about her capital F Faith quite often. She's always mentioning her "good friend" Billy Graham, the evangelical preacher. (Graham's son recently declared homosexuality a "sin"); and her daughter Cassidy is in a new movie titled God's Not Dead. And as Salon's Daniel D'Addario reports, while Kathie Lee might only hint at her political leanings on Today, she really opens up on her podcast — which she creates in her free time, and is not affiliated with Today or NBC. D'Adario writes:
On a recent podcast episode, for instance, Gifford interviewed Cal Thomas, a Fox News commentator who has said that no new mosques should be allowed to be built in the U.S. and has been outspoken against acceptance of homosexuality. Oddly, Gifford consistently represented Thomas as a nonpartisan figure striving only to find solutions to unnamed crises. "There's no hidden agenda with you, is there? You just love this country and want it to be great." The pair went on to discuss the necessity of Congressional term limits (because, in Gifford's telling, the human heart is twisted and dark) and the so-called "Age of Entitlement."
D'Addario calls Kathie Lee "something of a Trojan horse for conservatism," since she plays nice all day and then gets serious in her podcast. In that Cal Thomas podcast, she says she doesn't know how "the rich became the enemy." She recalls speaking with Hillary Clinton one time, and asking her about it; Clinton allegedly replied that the American dream isn't available for everybody. "I think that's bull," Kathie Lee says. The tone of the rest of the segment is anti-government "handouts" (the term "welfare industry" is used) and "if only our government thought we should only spend what we have." Then Kathie Lee says she doesn't believe 7 million people have signed up for Obamacare, and the conversation turns toward Ben Carson and Condoleezza Rice, i.e. two black people who have made it. Other podcast guests include Donald Trump, Marie Osmond, and Candace Cameron Bure.
Perhaps you're not surprised that Kathie Lee feels this way, or that she spends her time off chit-chatting with conservatives. But can you imagine how folks at NBC News —which produces Today — feel about her spewing some Fox News shit? As D'Addario puts it:
But it's not shocking that she, a wealthy woman of faith, would hold conservative beliefs. It is a little shocking, though, that she expresses them so freely as someone in the employ of a network news program — would she be as easily able to allege, on "Today," that the president were lying about Obamacare enrollment? Or to put out nebulous language about the war on the wealthy? We have no idea what Gifford's "Today" cohort believes politically — if Matt Lauer voted at all, no one's heard about it. But "Today" is ostensibly, at least in part, a news show, if a softball one.
Image via Facebook.