America Live anchor Megyn Kelly tore into Fox News colleagues Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs over sexist comments they made about a study finding an increase in women as higher earners in families.
In a widely criticized segment that aired May 29 on Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs hosted an all-male panel to discuss a Pew study showing that a record number of women are becoming their families' primary breadwinner. During that conversation, Erickson said that “when you look at biology” the “male typically is the dominant role.” In a follow-up post on his RedState.com website, Erickson claimed that children do best “in households where they have a mom at home nurturing them while dad is out bringing home the bacon.”
On the May 31 edition of America Live, Kelly hosted Dobbs and Erickson to discuss their comments. After Kelly asked Erickson “what makes you dominant and me submissive and who made you scientist-in-chief,” Erickson said “it doesn't have anything to do with submissiveness per se, and it was poorly constructed how I said it.”
Erickson's description of his comments is highly misleading, as Kelly pointed out by telling him “that's not exactly what you have been saying over the last couple of days.” Both his Fox Business appearance and his blog on RedState stressed the “dominant role” that men play, with Erickson insisting he was supported by “biology” and “the natural world.” Erickson even went so far as to accuse “feminist and emo lefties” of having “their panties in a wad over my statements.”
Kelly also grilled Erickson about his claim that science backed up his view that heterosexual couples with a dominant male led to better outcomes in a child's life, noting that “there is data in the scientific community to suggest that children of homosexual couples who are happily married and are good parents fare no worse than children of heterosexual couples, and there is plenty of data to suggest that children of working moms, as opposed to stay-at-home moms, wind up just as healthy and able to thrive in society than the children of stay-at-home mothers.”
Kelly later told Erickson that she was “offended” by his piece, and that he was attempting to hide the fact that he was judging people behind supposed “science,” despite the fact that there is a “list of studies saying your science is wrong and your facts are wrong.”
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs also appeared during the segment. When asked by Kelly whether he agreed with Erickson's comments, Dobbs said “what I would acknowledge immediately is that Erick is wrong about nature itself.” This is at odds with his comments when Erickson appeared on his show two days earlier, when Dobbs called the study's findings evidence that “we're watching society dissolve around us.”
KELLY: So I'll start with you, Erick. What makes you dominant and me submissive, and who died and made you scientist-in-chief?
ERICKSON: Oh, it doesn't have anything to do with submissiveness per se, and it was certainly poorly constructed how I said it. What I meant by that was, when you look throughout society, look at other animals, the male of the species tends to be the protector, the dominant one in that regard, and we've gotten to a point in this country where you have a lot of feminists who think that the male and female roles are completely interchangeable, that there is no need for a man to support his family. You've got men walking away, you've got women becoming single mothers not by their choice, you've got a lot of people thinking it's a lifestyle choice. This isn't healthy for society when we think that roles of gender are completely -- can be interchangeable. No one's saying women can't be or shouldn't be a breadwinner or even the primary breadwinner. It's just that when we forced ourselves to this point in society where they have to be, that's not a good, healthy thing for society.
KELLY: All right, but that's not what you have been saying over the last couple of days. You got in trouble on Lou's show -- we'll get to you in a minute, Mr. Dobbs --
DOBBS: Can't wait.
KELLY: -- but you made these comments, and then you posted a blog at RedState trying to expand on your comments. Let's put for the moment to the side the issue of single parents because that is dicier and there is more data to support the notion that children who are in single-parent families don't fare as well often. But you took it well beyond that, and this is from your blog: “In modern society, we're not supposed to point out that children in a two-parent, heterosexual nuclear household have a better chance at long-term success in life than others. In modern society, we're supposed to applaud feminists who teach women they can have it all, that there's no gender-identifying role, and women can fulfill the roles of husbands and fathers just as men do.” Now, there is data in the scientific community to suggest that children of homosexual couples who are happily married and are good parents fare no worse than children of heterosexual couples, and there is plenty of data to suggest that children of working moms, as opposed to stay-at-home moms, wind up just as healthy and able to thrive in society than the children of stay-at-home mothers.
ERICKSON: You know, Megyn, I tend to dispute that data largely because it's been so self-selective. if you take the most comprehensive study, for example, of gay families that came out of the University of Texas that the left has tried to undermine, the sociologist who studied it noted that many of these studies that showed there are no problems are typically of high-income lesbian families. And when you study higher-income families, you're absolutely right. Working mothers who are very high-income, their children, there really isn't a big difference. But when you go into the middle class where a lot of these issues are bubbling up, when you have a mom who's working 12 hours a day and a dad who's working 12 hours a day and they come home and they're also trying to be good parents, you can't have it all, and they're making compromises. I'm not judging them, and no one should, but it's just the reality.
KELLY: You are judging them. You are, though.
ERICKSON: No, I'm not judging them.
KELLY: You are. You are because you come out very clearly and say you believe women who choose to work, instead of staying at home to, quote, nurture their children and instead have the father do that, are imposing a worse future on their children than women who make a different choice, the one you and your wife made.
ERICKSON: Megyn, I don't view it as judging, I view it as a statement of fact that when you've got a mom who's working full time and that coming home and trying to be a full-time mom as well, it's very difficult. And I think three-quarters of the public, according to the Pew poll, agree that --
KELLY: Just because you have people agree with you doesn't mean it's not offensive.
ERICKSON: Look, I understand it's offensive.
KELLY : I know in your blog you talk about how you believe it's feminists and -- I don't know what the word is, something, some sort of liberals -- eco-liberals? What did you call them?
ERICKSON: Emo-liberal. They're whining about it.
KELLY: I don't know what that is, but I don't think I'm an emo-liberal, and I don't describe myself as a feminist --
ERICKSON: I don't think you are either.
KELLY: -- but I will tell you, I was offended by the piece nonetheless. I didn't like what you wrote one bit, and I do think you are judging people. To me, you sound like somebody who's judging but wants to come out and say, “I'm not, I'm not, I'm not, now let me judge, judge, judge. And by the way, it's science, science, science, it's fact, fact, fact, fact, fact.” Well, I mean, I have a whole -- this is a list of studies saying your science is wrong and your facts are wrong.