NBC moving ahead with Megyn Kelly interview with Alex Jones

NEW YORK — NBC News is moving ahead with plans to air Megyn Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones this weekend despite a backlash that has cost the show advertisers and led to Kelly being dropped as host for an event by an organization founded by parents of children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The network has been taken aback by the response to booking Jones, the “Infowars” host who has questioned whether the killing of 26 people in 2012 at the school in Newton, Connecticut, was a hoax. NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said the story will be edited with the sensitivity of its critics in mind.

“It’s important to get it right,” Lack said.

Reporters have interviewed controversial characters like Syrian President Bashar Assad and child molesters in the past without getting this kind of a reaction, Kelly said in an interview Tuesday.

“What I think we’re doing is journalism,” she said. “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.”

Sandy Hook Promise, an anti-gun violence group, said it had asked Kelly to step down as host of its Wednesday-night gala in Washington. The group cannot support Kelly or NBC’s decision to give a platform to Jones and hopes NBC reconsiders its plan to broadcast the interview, said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director. Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was killed at Sandy Hook, founded the organization with Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son Daniel.

Kelly said she understood and respected the decision, but was disappointed.

NBC’s plans have cost it some advertisers for this week’s edition of “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.” It was not immediately clear how many; only the financial firm JPMorgan Chase has been publicly identified.

“That comes with the territory,” Lack said. “It’s not unusual. We kind of know when we’re doing controversial stories, that’s going to happen. It doesn’t stop us from doing controversial stories.”

To some critics, NBC’s timing makes the decision worse — airing on Father’s Day an interview that has been publicly denounced by parents who lost young children at Sandy Hook. NBC said it was scheduled for competitive reasons, because Jones had been booked to appear on ABC’s daytime show “The View” next week. A representative of “The View” said Jones had cancelled his appearance there and he will not be rescheduled.

Lack noted that he had suggested approaching Jones for an interview to David Corvo, the NBC News executive who supervises the network’s newsmagazines. He said there’s nothing new about putting people on the air even if they’re unpopular or have views that are deplorable to many.

“I’ve got tremendous understanding of why they’re so upset, as they have every right to be,” he said. “Of course we’re looking at it. We’re looking at the editorial process.”

The interview has put Kelly, who jumped to NBC from Fox News Channel earlier this year, squarely back in the headlines; the New York Daily News called it “Nutwork News” on its front page Tuesday. She was one of Trump’s favourite targets during the presidential campaign because he was annoyed at tough questions she asked him at a Fox-broadcast debate.

Jones, for his part, has already denounced the interview as “fake news” and said it was purposeful hit job on him.

“I knew in my gut this was going to blow up in their face,” he said on his show.

David Bauder, The Associated Press

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer rings in the Chinese New Year

A couple hundred fill Festival Holiday to ring in the Year of the Dog

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

Popular Red Deer store to apply for cannabis dealer licence

At least one Red Deer store hopes to sell cannabis out of… Continue reading

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

WATCH: Polar dippers brave icy water to raise money for Sylvan Lake charities

The water may have been cold, but the amount of money raised… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

WATCH: Polar dippers brave icy water to raise money for Sylvan Lake charities

The water may have been cold, but the amount of money raised… Continue reading

WATCH: Cat yoga — the purr-fect de-stresser, says Red Deer-area cafe owner

Felines and humans stretch together each month at Alley Cat Cafe

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

Judge critical of sentencing laws

Court of Queen’s Bench justice argues sentencing options for first-degree murder too limited

Liberals write off $200 million in student loans feds will never collect

The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding… Continue reading

Trudeau takes wing on trade mission to India, where Sikh politics loom

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to India,… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month