Megyn Kelly’s continues to defend her interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones amid widespread protests led by the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting — a massacre that Jones has repeatedly called a hoax.
Kelly had been scheduled to host an annual charity gala for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. But the backlash over the interview, which is scheduled to air on NBC Sunday night, prompted the group to withdraw the invitation.
“Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones and have asked Megyn Kelly to step down as our Promise Champion Gala host,” said Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan Hockley, was one of 20 children killed in the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre in Newtown, Conn. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
In a subsequent statement, Kelly said she understood the group’s decision, adding that while she found Jones’ conspiracy theories “personally revolting,” her goal in interviewing him was to “shine a light.”
Here is my statement regarding Sunday night’s interview: pic.twitter.com/iS2VfyLt6S
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 13, 2017
Earlier this week, Kelly defended the decision to sit down with Jones, who hosts a popular radio show and runs a right-wing website called Infowars. Jones interviewed Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, and said that the president called to thank him days after the election.
“POTUS’s been on & praises @RealAlexJones’ show,” Kelly wrote on Twitter. “He’s giving Infowars a [White House] press credential. Many don’t know him; our job is 2 shine a light.”
Nelba Márquez-Greene — whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, was killed in the massacre — blasted Kelly in a series of tweets.
— Nelba Márquez-Greene (@Nelba_MG) June 12, 2017
“Hey @megynkelly, let me know if you want to give his victims equal air time,” Márquez-Greene wrote. “Promoting this fool is bad news. Do not encourage his abuse.”’
“He’s a controversial figure for sure, but as journalists it’s our job to interview newsmakers and people of influence no matter how abhorrent their views may be,” Liz Cole, the executive producer of Kelly’s weekly show, told CNN.
Jones has argued that the shootings in Newtown were staged by the government to drum up support for gun control. In 2014, for example, he called the Sandy Hook massacre “synthetic, completely fake, manufactured with actors.”
In a preview of the interview, Kelly confronts Jones about his Sandy Hook claims. But the victims’ families argue that NBC should not be giving the Infowars.com provocateur a platform.
“Giving him a platform would mean he goes unchallenged, and that’s not the case in any way,” she said. “Viewers will see Megyn do a strong interview where she challenges him appropriately. … That’s the benefit of putting him out there. When someone actually sits down and asks him questions and he has to come up with answers — there’s value to that.”
Cole added: “Until you see the full program, in the full context, I wouldn’t judge it too much. Judge it when you see it. Megyn does a strong interview; we’re not just giving him a platform.”
The New York Daily News slammed NBC and Kelly on its front page Tuesday. The headline: “Nutwork News.”
The backlash has apparently led at least one advertiser to pull its support of Kelly’s show.
On Monday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that J.P. Morgan & Co. has “asked for its local TV ads and digital ads to be removed from Ms. Kelly’s show and from all NBC news programming until after the show airs.”
An NBC official did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Meanwhile, Jones himself is urging NBC not to air the interview because he says it has been deceptively edited.
“They did not have me in there saying I believe children died there at Sandy Hook,” Jones said of the promotional clip. “They had it edited where it sounded like I was saying nobody did. And the headlines are I doubled down. That’s why I’m calling for the piece not to air.”
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