Two weeks after former Fox News Channel primetime star Megyn Kelly was torched for chiding cable news networks’ lack of civility in her NBC News debut, Kelly now is getting pounded for giving the NBC News platform to Sandy Hook truther/Donald Trump pal Alex Jones.
Kelly has defended the booking, scheduled for Sunday, insisting the public needs to know more about the man who has had Trump on his radio show, his InfoWars web program, and whose website is getting White House press credentials.
Hooey, critics shoot back, calling it a shameful ratings play, demanding NBC News pull the interview and putting the squeeze on Kelly’s Sunday newsmag advertisers, in service of which they’ve created hashtag #shameonNBC.
Jones is best known creator and public face of Infowars, in which he preaches that the federal government is behind the Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Towers and Pentagon, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter which he insists was staged. Oh, and the feds faked the moon landing.
In promotional material for Sunday’s broadcast, Kelly is seen asking Jones about his Sandy Hook truther claims, and she asks him questions that might better have been put to a mental health expert, including “They call you the most paranoid man in America. Is that true?”
In re his Sandy Hook conspiracy, viewers will, on Father’s Day, see Kelly ask him, “When you say parents faked their children’s deaths, people get upset.”
He shoots back: “But they don’t get angry about half-a-million dead Iraqis killed by sanctions.”
Kelly accuses him of dodging question and he goes to his playbook: “I looked at all the angles about Newtown, I made my statement before the other media picked it up.”
On Twitter, #shameonNBC was up and running as plugs for this coming Sunday’s broadcast ran during her Sunday newsmag. Families of victims of the Sandy Hook slaughter say giving Jones this platform will step-up the campaign of abuse they continue to suffer at the hands of Jones followers:
Watchdog group Media Matters argued Kelly and NBC News are giving the “NBC imprimatur of credibility to one of the more despicable figures in that parallel press, helping him gain access to a new audience,” noting Jones was counseled by “Infowars cohort Roger Stone” to do the interview in order to “break through to the mainstream.”
Jones thinks along those same lines, as evidenced by his last Wednesday screed about Kelly. After being interviewed on tape by the former prosecutor, Jones spent about 12 minutes whipping his followers up to hate-watch Sunday’s broadcast.
“Not feminine. Cold. Robotic. Dead,” he said of Kelly. “I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly. That’s not an insult to Megyn Kelly,” he added, stating the obvious.
Jones said he had talked to others who do not find Kelly attractive, and wondered whether it’s “because you’re dealing with…sociopath? A psychopath? I don’t know.”
Of Kelly’s interview style, Jones described: “You can have that painted-on joker smile all you want… and those lawyer, sociopath eyes. But at the end of the day, I’ve spoken the truth.”
Kelly has gotten off to an incendiary start at NBC News. Various viewers thought it pretty rich when Kelly made her debut on the network two weeks back with a segment about the death of polite public discourse, in which she went all Ladies of River City over clips of cable news talking heads screaming at and over each other. The Daily Show said it best in a report about Kelly’s campaign to transform herself from Fox News “Culture war soldier” to NBC’s “Mahatma Blondie.”
“Megyn was the Tonya Harding of cable news for 12 years, breaking journalism’s kneecaps over and over, and we were just the poor Nancy Kerrigans, being like, ‘Why!? Why?!'” the Comedy Central late-night show’s “correspondent” Michelle Wolf blasted. “Now you expect us to forgive you just because you made the Olympics? I don’t think so, Tonya!”