Like you, I got up this morning to the shocking news that the Manhattan district attorney is investigating WNYW/5 anchor Greg Kelly over an alleged sexual assault that took place last October. (He is not on the air, of course, this morning and Ch. 5 has yet to issue a statement.)
This is certainly a huge story because his father, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, is widely expected to be the next mayor of New York. But Greg Kelly is a significant figure in the New York television community. He was hand-picked back in 2008 by Fox stations chief (who also runs Fox News) Roger Ailes to anchor Ch. 5's morning newscast, and has been -- pretty much in every sense of the word -- an "anchor" there, helping to establish "Good Day New York" as a local morning leader again after years of turnover and malaise.
For much more background on Kelly, here's a profile I did on him in 2003, when he was an embed with Fox (he was wounded covering the war). It's a positive piece for a reason - he was a very good embed. :
Embedded on the Front Lines in Iraq; Fox News reporter Greg Kelly covers the war as he lives it
BYLINE: Verne Gay SECTION: PART II, Pg. B02 LENGTH: 941 words
Greg Kelly, 34, is the son of the New York City police commissioner and a former Marine fighter pilot who just happened to find himself in Saddam Hussein's living room this past Monday morning. This was, yes, an unusual place to be. But Kelly, now a reporter for the Fox News Channel, was unperturbed.
He looked at the rubble-strewn floor. He stared at the torn curtains. He cast a critical eye upon the ornate balustrade. And then, he summoned his Inner Martha Stewart: "It's kind of seedy," he said. "It's not the palace that Architectural Digest would feature." Ba-dum. Not bad, Greg, not bad at all. There's a moment for humor in war reporting -- not many, admittedly -- but this was one of them.
There was something about the absurdity of it all. Kelly's facial expression seemed to say, "We fought our way to Baghdad for this? A badly decorated McMansion?" Because Fox is mostly an irony-free zone, Greg Kelly zipped back to the style viewers have become so familiar with over the last three weeks: spare, poised and coolheaded. Ah yes, particularly cool-headed.
"He's extremely focused and intense," says his father, Raymond. "But he does have a great sense of humor." He pauses: "I think we're alike in a lot of ways, or that's what people say."
One of these days, there will be a debate about who the best "embedded" TV reporter was during the war, and, frankly, it's far too early to hold that debate now. Too many journalists have died, including a brilliant TV reporter, David Bloom, who suffered a pulmonary embolism just this Sunday.
But when the debate begins, you must remember this name: Greg Kelly. Kelly, for the benefit of those who have never seen him, has a smudged nose in the center of a round Gaelic face, deep-set eyes, a receding hairline and a mouth that seems permanently set to the slightest of grins.
Blow-dried TV boy he is not. Kelly, in fact, bears a passing resemblance to a young Andy Rooney, who incidentally, was one of the premiere legmen of World War II for the newspaper Stars and Stripes. "A great face," says John Moody, Fox's senior vice president, news editorial, of the Kelly mug. "You believe it [and] he is very self-assured and measured in what he says. Television is not a business where hyperbole is unknown.
But he doesn't go for it. He tells you straight." Kelly, like most of the other top embeds of this war, has had good luck. Foremost, he has escaped injury, though he was cut by flying glass last week when percussion from a bomb shattered the lens of a camera near his face. He's also seen a lot of action. His unit, the 64th Armored Regiment, First Battalion, of the Second Brigade,Third Infantry Division, was in almost constant combat up the spine of Iraq, through Najaf, and then into Baghdad. On Saturday, Kelly and his cameraman, Mal James, fed a constant stream of pictures and reports from the city hours before the next U.S. TV reporter entered. Raised in Garden City, Kelly went to Fordham University and graduated in 1991, but not before enrolling in officer's candidate school. "I always knew that I would follow my father's career in the [Marine] Corps," he said in a recent phone interview from Iraq.
Not quite: Ray Kelly spent 30 years in active and reserve duty, while his son spent nine. He later became pilot of a Harrier V8B, a particularly complex and dangerous machine, in which a number of pilots have been killed. Once, when flying over Yuma, Ariz., he was forced to bail out, and was later found unconscious.
His helmet turned up 2 miles away. Still, he continued to fly, including over the southern "no-fly" portion of Iraq, which gave him plenty of time to think about his future. Kelly's older brother, Jim, who is assistant director of the New York State Office of Public Security, one day suggested journalism. "I dismissed it -- too old -- but he revisited the idea the next day and I just thought, hey, I think I could do that and be passionate about it." After leaving the Marines, he got his tape together and landed an anchor/ reporter gig at a small station, WIVT, in upstate Binghamton.
A couple of years after that he moved to New York 1, where he covered politics. Most people -- including the city's new mayor, at first -- did not know that New York One's political reporter was also Ray Kelly's kid. They would find out soon enough, and that would prove awkward for Greg Kelly.
"The problem," he explains, "is that he's the number two newsmaker in the city [and] I just had a sense that people thought that I thought I was entitled to information based on the fact that I was Ray Kelly's son."
Greg Kelly joined Fox News Channel last November as the network's Atlanta-based correspondent. Because he was unmarried and had a military background, Kelly was quickly pegged by his new bosses as a guy who could be an ideal embed. Kelly happened to agree with them. So, does he lose much sleep over some of the prickly questions that have occasionally been raised about the objectivity of embedded reporters? Nah. "I want these guys" - the members of the 64th Armored Regiment - "to win,' " he says.
"I try to correct myself in the live shots when I say 'we,' but I slip all the time. I'm not objective. Yeah, I want these guys to win." Or fears for his personal safety? "Yeah, something could happen but these are incredible events and we have this incredible opportunity to witness this firsthand. The opportunity exceeds the danger." And what about his parents? Are they worried about him?
"Absolutely, absolutely his mother and I are worried," says New York City's top cop. "But he certainly makes us proud."