Megyn's New Show
Recently, Megyn Kelly sat down with Infowars conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, for one of the first broadcasts of her new program, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Jones, known for his bizarre behavior and lunatic-like conspiracy theories, reaches millions of viewers each week with his YouTube channel, titled InfoWars. On his show, Jones spends hours a day discussing politics and world events while expressing many irrational conspiracy theories about various events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks or the Sandy Hook Massacre (He has expressed belief that the latter never even happened). When it was reported that Megyn Kelly would be sitting down with Jones for a one-on-one interview, the mere idea was met with opposition. Many believe that Jones is too dangerous to be given any kind of platform on prime time television and immediately called for a cancelling of the interview special. Some find his opinions and theories to be, not only insensitive to the loved ones of Sandy Hook victims, but even hazardous. His relationship with our sitting President is what has many worried, as Trump has appeared on Jones' show offering his praises to the broadcaster. Personally, I do find it alarming that our President finds Jones worthy of praise considering his outrageous claims.
Jones does have influence.
According to NBC News, a woman in Florida was arrested recently for sending death threats to parents of Sandy Hook victims. Lucy Richards pleaded guilty to sending letters and emails to Lenny Pozner, who lost his son Noah in the massacre. Messages to Pozner reportedly said things like, “LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH.” Richards was motivated by the same conspiracy theories that Jones has notoriously been spreading to his viewership.
Another theory that Jones reported, involving an alleged child-sex ring in a string of Washington D.C. pizzerias, led to a viewer almost killing several people. A man was arrested after entering one of the pizzerias with a semi-automatic rifle and firing several rounds. Fortunately, no one was killed. Clearly, Jones has influence on his viewers, but is he too dangerous to be interviewed on prime time? Or is it more dangerous to not attempt to expose him?
In response to the controversy, Kelly responded by clarifying her intent in interviewing Jones. Kelly is quoted as saying, “Our goal in sitting down with him was to shine a light - as journalists are supposed to do - on this influential figure, and yes - to discuss the considerable falsehoods he has promoted with near impunity.” Despite the clarification of her objective, things for Kelly continued to be dicey. She was uninvited from a gun-violence prevention event led by the families of those affected by the Sandy Hook massacre following her decision to proceed with the interview.
How did the interview actually go?
After watching the interview, I can say that Megyn Kelly did, in fact, call Jones out for his claims. His response had him stumbling over his words and dodging many of her questions. He instead attempts to shift the focus to illegal immigrants in the United States. His responses left viewers with more questions than answers saying, “I tend to believe that children probably did die there, but if you look at the evidence on the other side, I can see how other people believe that nobody died there.” The remainder of the interview consisted of a back and forth spat between Kelly and Jones in which Jones mostly dodged questions and changed subjects. That being said, I think anyone with a working brain who watched this man would be able to see that he's mostly full of crap. It's important that Kelly presented him with facts that clearly disputed most of his claims. This is one of her jobs as a journalist.
Journalists have a job to do. Censoring that work is bad for all of this.
While I understand that those calling for a cancellation of this program had good intention, I can't help but think how dangerous it is not to report people like Alex Jones to the mainstream. Yes, his comments are insensitive and could be considered dangerous, but ignoring his massive growth in followers is even more dangerous. We live in an era where truth is hard to come by. Anyone with a computer can spread misinformation and create what Jones has created. However, it is the responsibility of real journalists to sift through this information in search of the truth. Now look. I'm not under any impression that mainstream media outlets are unbiased or completely true in all their reporting. However, if we attempt to silence those who are trying to expose radicals like Jones, we're really allowing people like Jones to have more influence. If we can't bring people like this to the forefront, we'll open the door for continued growth of corruption in the news and the government.