On Sunday evening, NBC will air an interview by Megyn Kelly with the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
It had better be substantial.
Only a hard-hitting piece that lays truth to the dangerous lies espoused by Jones on his radio show and website Infowars justifies this kind of national exposure. If the interview fails to deliver, we’ll have to wonder why Kelly and the editors of her new show, “Sunday Night,” thought it was worth airing. Editors kill reporters’ stories all the time for lack of sufficient news value.
A bad interview is worse than no interview. Kelly would be complicit in spreading Jones’ irresponsible fabrications.
Among his many lies, Jones has made false claims about the 9/11 terrorist attacks being an “inside job” by the government. He has convinced many of his followers that the massacre of 20 children and six adults in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, is a hoax. Some who buy in to Jones’ lies about Sandy Hook have threatened and harassed families of the victims.
Does somebody like Alex Jones merit a network news interview? Understandably, families of the Sandy Hook victims think not.
“Some hoaxers unfortunately do become very dangerous,” Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son Dylan was killed at Sandy Hook, said Wednesday at a charity event. “Sadly when a light is shown on them, and they receive an audience to their message of hate and lies, it simply fuels their fire.”
Advertisers also are nervous. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. this week pulled its advertising from NBC News programming until after Kelly’s show airs.
But Jones’ influence cannot be denied. He has the ear of President Donald Trump, which by itself makes him newsworthy. Jones has an ample audience on social media, with more than 1.4 million followers on Facebook. Mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times and “Nightline” on ABC have interviewed Jones in the past, but those interviews were not heavily promoted.
If NBC News and Megyn Kelly are doing their job, they’ll present a fair but tough interview.
No fluff allowed.
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