After several says of hype and criticism, it finally happened last night.
Megyn Kelly finally interviewed Alex Jones.
The sit-down had been roundly lambasted across social media because Kelly was giving a nationwide platform to a truly evil man.
Jones is a radio host who has perpetrated such conspiracy theories as 9/11 being an inside job and, most famously, doubting the legitimacy of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
He has actually argued, frequently, that the 2012 mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut – in which 20 children were killed – did NOT happen.
In response to Kelly’s scheduled Q&A, a mother who tragically lost her child in this attack Tweeted at Kelly earlier in the week.
“Hey @megynkelly , let me know if you want to give his victims equal air time. Promoting this fool is bad news. Do not encourage his abuse,” wrote Nelba Márquez-Greene.
She later added a few more thoughts:
With advertisers pulling out and pressure mounting, Kelly did end up taking this advice in the end.
Along with her Jones discussion, the program also aired the reaction of Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse died in the Sandy Hook shooting.
This interview had not been planned until Kelly and NBC read all the negative feedback to the original segment.
“It’s disrespectful to me,” said Heslin, referring to Jones’ comments on the massacre. “I take that very personal.”
Kelly, meanwhile, introduced her interview with Jones as follows:
“Some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview because his baseless allegations aren’t just offensive, they’re dangerou. But here’s the thing:
“Alex Jones isn’t going away. Over the years his YouTube channel has racked up 1.3 billion views. He has millions of listeners and the ear of our current president.”
One could easily argue that this latter statement is the real story here.
Why has Donald Trump called Jones on multiple occasions for advice? Why Jones’ media outlets, InfoWars, have White House press credentials?
Kelly has said it’s her duty as a reported to “shine a light” on someone such as Jones, but the real light needs to be shined on an administration who takes someone such as Jones seriously.
That said, Kelly has actually received praise from a handful of respected journalists for her line of questions.
Asked about his Sandy Hook viewpoint, which is complete and utter cruel nonsense, Jones said on air:
“I do think there is cover-up and manipulation, that’s pretty much what I believed. I was going into devil’s advocate but we know there are mass shootings and these things happen.”
“You’re trying to have it all ways,” Kelly shot back.
“No, I’m not,” Jones responded, later adding that he “didn’t create that story” about Sandy Hook being a lie.
In a voiceover, Kelly noted that Jones “never completely disavowed his previous statement.”
When the topic of this month’s Manchester bombing was raised, along with Jones comment that a bunch of “liberal trendies who are promoting open borders” were killed in the attack, Kelly slammed his sarcastic reply as “classic Alex Jones,” elaborating:
“That pattern, reckless accusations followed by equivocation and excuses, is classic Alex Jones.”
The immediate reaction to the segment was mixed, but it received far more positive replies than many believed it would when it was first announced.
Those who gave Kelly and NBC props for the interview includes veteran journalists such as Andrea Mitchell and Dan Abrams.
(Yes, the former works for NBC and the latter used to work for NBC.)
“I think my influence on Trump is way, way lower than what [the mainstream media] has said,” Jones said of his connection to the Commander-in-Chief, adding:
“He has called sometimes, talked about politics and thanked me. Stuff like that. That’s it.”
Jones went on to say that he and Trump are on “friendly” terms, but refused to give Kelly an exact number when pressed on how many phone calls he’s exchanged with Trump since he took office.
Again, the main issue here is why any sitting President would ever say a word to anyone who has denied the existence of Sandy Hook and who has said America in responsible for 9/11.
If Kelly really wants to receive acclaim for her work, she’ll follow up this piece with one that examines that pressing question.