The decision of NBC to offer conspiracy theorist and Sandy Hook troll Alex Jones a prime-time interview with Megyn Kelly this coming Sunday has been met with disgust and disbelief across social and mainstream media.
Now insiders within the network are voicing their discontent with the decision to offer a platform to the full-time conspiracy theorist, who presents the web show Infowars, and professes to believe a whole range of outrageous propositions.
Among Jones’ ridiculous conspiracy positions—that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks and is spreading chemicals to help turn Americans gay, and that Hillary Clinton is a space alien—is the truly disgusting argument that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was a “synthetic” staged set-up.
“Sandy Hook is a synthetic, completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured,” said Jones on his radio show. “I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.”
Families of the Sandy Hook victims have been pressuring NBC to pull the interview and Page Six reports today that the network has been holding crisis meetings about how to handle the backlash.
Kelly has been fired as the patron of a nonprofit, Sandy Hook Promise, devoted to the families of those affected by the killings.
Insiders told Page Six that staff were in panicked meetings all day Monday, with one saying: “It’s a s--- show. No one wants to withstand a whole week of criticism over this. There are a number of people who want to pull the interview.”
But another source, referring to the decision by advertiser JPMorgan Chase to yank its ads until after the interview, told Page Six: “No one expected sponsors to pull out, but this is why they hired Megyn. They expect to lose and gain viewers and they want the buzz.”
Page Six adds that NBC News Chairman Andy Lack has been overheard telling fellow journalists that the interview will air.
“There’s been a lot of confusion, but as of now, they are not pulling the interview,” another insider said.
Kelly addressed the backlash Tuesday. “I find Alex Jones’ suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does. It left me, and many other Americans, asking the very question that prompted this interview: How does Jones, who traffics in these outrageous conspiracy theories, have the respect of the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions?”
As The Daily Beast reported this week, the family members of those killed at Sandy Hook have been harassed and trolled because of Jones’ conspiracy-theorizing.
Jones has proved to be an important conduit for Donald Trump. He reportedly advised Trump during his presidential campaign, and Trump even appeared on his program, telling Jones, “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”
“The Republican presidential nominee of the United States is being advised by a delusional sociopath. It speaks for itself,” Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel, in the Sandy Hook attack, told Marlow Stern in October. “What else can you say about that? It’s disgusting.”
In a preview clip released online, Jones rehashes his Sandy Hook conspiracies.
Christina Hassinger, the daughter of Dawn Hochsprung—the Sandy Hook principal who gave her life after attempting to charge the shooter—expressed her sentiments to The New York Times. “We have been harassed repeatedly by people who we call hoaxers that think this hasn’t happened. When there is going to be such a widely available interview with attention given to one of the hoaxer ringleaders, it is going to unleash the trolls on us tenfold all over again.”
Kelly defended the interview Monday, saying: “What I think we’re doing is journalism. The bottom line is that while it’s not always popular, it’s important. I would submit to you that neither I nor NBC News has elevated Alex Jones in any way. He’s been elevated by 5 or 6 million viewers or listeners, and by the president of the United States. As you know, journalists don’t get the choice over who has power or influence in our country.”