6 months ago
Well before Sunday night’s airing of Megyn Kelly’s controversial interview with noted conspiracy theorist and InfoWars founder Alex Jones on NBC, trenches were being dug across the media.
Advertisers were dropping out, and some said the interview shouldn’t even air, while others noted that Jones was not the first controversial figure to be given a national platform.
Then, late last week, Jones leaked a private conversation he had with Kelly prior to the interview, where she tells Jones “it’s not going to be some gotcha hit-piece, I promise you that,” raising questions about whether Kelly soft-balled Jones or in some way set aside journalistic ethics in her back-and-forth with Jones.
And Kelly’s pre-airing statement seemed to confirm at least her stance on the matter: “Alex Jones isn’t going away,” she said, citing his billions of YouTube views and millions of listeners.
Now that the interview has aired, a few inconsistencies have been teased out by The Hollywood Reporter that continue to irk the entire affair. For one, Jones has been quoted as saying the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 young children and six adults were murdered by a deranged shooter, is a hoax. Kelly pressed Jones about it, and in one breath he seemed to disavow his original claims, but in another, said, “I tend to believe that children probably did die there. But then you look at all the other evidence on the other side. I can see how other people believe that nobody died there.” He claimed the basis of his beliefs was “research” he did, blaming the mainstream media’s coverage and facts that were held back.
After Kelly interviewed a parent who lost his child at Sandy Hook, Jones quickly published a quasi-apology on Father’s Day, asking for parents from Sandy Hook to reach out and start an “open dialogue” with him.
A few facts that did come out of the interview should rightly raise eyebrows. For one, Jones doesn’t really consider himself a journalist, saying he “[understands] the basic of it” and apparently doesn’t vet the stories he runs on his site. Kelly noted to Jones, “If you haven’t ascertained the veracity of that article, and it’s all BS, and then you spend two hours talking about it, then you’ve put out a bunch of misinformation.” So what really is Infowars if not journalism? Fake news? One long opinion piece?
It’s also still unclear how closely tied to President Trump Jones is, though Trump has heaped praise on Jones in the past—and even quoted him in speeches.
Also, Jones claimed that the site costs between $40 million and $50 million to maintain—and makes most of its money selling “male supplements.”
Time and time again, during the interview, Jones evaded direct questions and blamed the mainstream media, while Kelly alternately pushed back or didn’t directly challenge him. What good the interview did for mainstream media outlet NBC remains to be seen.
Watch the full interview below.