Should Kelly Give Jones the Time of Day?
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Kelly Exposes Jones for the Fraud He Is

In the end, it turned out to be a pretty decent line of questioning.

Earlier this week, new NBC interviewer Megyn Kelly aired her encounter with infamous fake news peddler Alex Jones. He’s the guy who thinks everything from the moon landing to 9/11 to Sandy Hook – yes, the heart-wrenching massacre of young children in Newtown, Connecticut – are all hoaxes, perpetuated by the evil news media in a bid to limit the liberty of Americans.

NBC had been called out by numerous individuals and organizations – and dropped by some advertisers – for giving Jones any airtime at all. “No platforming,” it has been dubbed; the notion of denying those with offensive beliefs or viewpoints under threat of protest or sanction, as we’ve seen at play on numerous university campuses when controversial speakers have been booked.

NBC held firm, defending the broadcast on the grounds that this particular crackpot is viewed, at least to some extent, with admiration on the part of none other than the President of the United States along with six million other followers. Kelly vowed that she would take him to task, and expose his true beliefs so that viewers could assess Jones for themselves.

And overall, that’s how it went down. Kelly did a pretty good job in putting Jones on the record and forcing him (with limited success) to rationalize and defend his views. He bobbed and weaved and threw around more red herrings than those guys at the fish counter in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. In the end, he came across as loony as he actually is, and viewers were able to see it for themselves.

For his part, starting three days before the broadcast, Jones denounced Kelly and the network for misrepresenting him in a “fraud,” demanding that it not be aired and leaking surreptitiously recorded audio that he suggested validated his complaints. The mainstream media conspiracy strikes again.

At the end of all of it, I say kudos to NBC for remaining resolute in the face of threats and advertiser pullouts. At a time when fake news is becoming an ever-growing scourge – while traditional journalism continues be devalued by budget cuts and audience indifference – the prospect of editorial decisions being driven by angry mobs is a truly frightening one.

Sunlight remains the greatest disinfectant, and journalism doesn’t mean only talking to the “good guys,” as Kelly put it.

This article is written by Bob Reid, our Director of Brand Reputation. For more, visit @VeritasComm on Twitter.