“Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist offered his exuberant praise to Gayle King of CBS News on Wednesday, told the host tonight, Stephen Colbert, that interview subjects like R. Kelly were why he wore a “taser” for big sit-downs .
“Everybody greets Gayle, is that right?” Said Geist. “Such interviews help me always have a small taser with me, sometimes you have to get up and neutralize the threat a little.”
Geist went on to say that the image that King remained unmoved while Kelly stood up and reprimanded her was destined to become “iconic.”
Geist was not alone in his praise for King, who is in fact a network rival. Even on Fox News, presenter Jesse Watters praised her performance, despite confusing King with Robin Roberts, host to ‘Good Morning America’. (He later apologized).
On Wednesday King owned the news cycle, both for conducting a very billed interview with the musician who faces multiple charges for sexual abuse of crimes and for maintaining her calm during the most emotional moments.
At one point, Kelly got up and denounced King while she was sitting motionless. “Stop playing, I did not do this stuff, I’m not,” Kelly said, staring directly into the camera. “I fight for my f-ing life.”
On Twitter, many of King’s peers and other prominent influencers agree with the reviews of Geist and Watters
“There is a lot going on in these R. Kelly clips, but one thing that stands out is how direct, super clear and no frills are these @GayleKing questions,” said director Ava DuVernay on Twitter. “She asks exactly what most of us would ask if we were sitting in her chair. Crazy how refreshing it is. Speaks to how rare it is. “
“This is wild. @GayleKing gives another masterclass lesson in interviewing, so she stays calm and focused while @rkelly loses it,” adds PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.