Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to complain about fake news, but it’s doubtful he had Alex Jones in mind while he was penning his mini-missives. Elsewhere on Twitter, however, there was an uproar over Megyn Kelly’s interview with the peddler of bizarre conspiracy theories, from Pizzagate to the idea that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.
It seems like there was almost no way for this interview to go well, given the subject’s proclivity for nonsensical rants, and considering that Kelly left out one crucial side to the story she was reporting — perspectives from the Sandy Hook parents who have to live with Jones’ accusations they are actors paid to perform grief by the United States government for … reasons.
Megyn Kelly has tried to defend the interview, claiming that she is trying to “shine a light” on not only Jones’ dangerous hoax narrative, but also on President Trump’s seeming approval of Jones’ work on Infowars. Trump recently granted Infowars a temporary White House press credential in May.
The interview hasn’t even aired yet (it is, in glaring oversight and cruel irony, scheduled for Father’s Day), but the fallout has already been considerable. Sandy Hook Parents have already dropped Megyn Kelly as host of the Sandy Hook Promise gala, a fundraising event that honors victims of gun violence. On June 12th, Sandy Hooky Promise released a statement announcing that Kelly was axed. “Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones,” it explained. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
On top of that, the Wall Street Journal reports that J.P. Morgan Chase has yanked its advertising from not only Megyn Kelly’s show, but all NBC programing until after the interview runs, so as not to be associated with it. In fact, Chase’s chief marketing officer Kristen Lemkau even Tweeted an explanation of that decision. She didn’t hold back, tweeting, “As an advertiser, I’m repulsed that @megynkelly would give a second of airtime to someone who says Sandy Hook and Aurora are hoaxes.”
Lemkau wasn’t the only one to tweet her displeasure. Most importantly, Nelba Márquez-Greene, whose daughter Ana Grace was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting and whose son Isaiah survived, has been vocal in her opposition to the interview.
“I never imagined losing a child to gun violence and being involved in something like this. By making this choice, you grieve our hearts and the memory of our child. You have a powerful platform. I encourage to to ‘shine light’ on affirming the losses suffered here — not on a person who mocks those losses. Megyn Kelly, I pray you never know it pain [sic]. I am asking you to be the woman you would need if our roles were reversed. You have the choice to do the right thing. Shine light on truth, love and hope. Hate and evil doesn’t need another platform.”
She also added an example of the kind of vitriol she receives from those who have bought in to Jones’s conspiracy theory:
Others with less intimate connections to the tragedy chimed in, too, and lambasted Kelly’s rationale that media exposure will damage Jones’ credibility and influence.
With five days to go until the scheduled release, NBC could still cut the interview and refuse to air it. If so, all that will see the light of day are Jones’ own bizarre rants from after the interview was taped, in which he went to great lengths to describe what little sexual attraction he feels for Kelly (although he has a track record of bragging about his virility) and went off on other conspiracy theories involving human-animal hybrids. It’s almost certain that this mess hasn’t reached its nadir.
Kelly has issued a statement to express disappointment at how her gala appearance was cancelled, but she’s standing by her “shine the light” claim.