Last week there was a lot of anger directed at Megyn Kelly and NBC News for their decision to broadcast an interview with rabid conspiracy theorist and Trump ally Alex Jones.
“The censorious powers of the heckler’s veto have evolved now to the point that people are willing to call for the banning and shunning of works of journalism not yet published,” Jack Shafer wrote of the controversy.
Kelly’s heckler’s look foolish now. The interview has now aired, and both Kelly and NBC have been vindicated. Here’s the full report from the broadcast last night:
I’ve never thought that Kelly was particularly good at interviews. I’ve never been all that enamored with her work product in general, be it her broadcasts at Fox News or her new efforts at NBC.
But she did alright with Jones. She put him on the spot. She made him sweat. Literally. It’s visible during the broadcast.
What I liked best about Kelly’s segment, though, was her defense of picking Jones as subject matter in the first place. She says he’s “not going away,” pointing to his massive online audience, and she’s right.
Alex Jones, for better or worse, wields a huge amount of influence. He’s got a friendly relationship with President Trump and deep access to the White House. It would be foolish to ignore this guy.
Critics of Jones argued that this interview elevated his stature. They argue that it will result in more followers for his work. Yet, this guy’s audience was growing anyway. It would have whether Kelly interviewed him or not.
If this had been a soft-serve interview, with Kelly refraining from challenging Jones on his many conspiracy-addled pronouncements, then the critics would have a point. But only after the fact.
What was troubling about this whole spectacle wasn’t that Kelly interviewed Jones. It was how many people wanted to censor the interview before it aired. Including, I must add, Jones himself.