Monday, June 12, 2017

Megyn Kelly is getting crucified for interviewing Alex Jones

Megyn Kelly. AP.

NBC and Megyn Kelly are facing a massive backlash for having famous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on her new program. USA Today. Twitter users have bashed Kelly for "giving a platform" to Jones. Jones is famous for his conspiracy theories, including questioning 9/11, calling the Pulse nightclub shooting a "false flag" and saying that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered. However, most of the outrage was directed at the fact that Jones has stated that the Sandy Hook shooting was faked. Kelly defended the interview by saying that Jones is an important media figure and has a White House press pass and has had President Donald Trump on his program. 

My Comment:
This is fairly hilarious and a very good example on how much has changed in just a few years. I remember back when Sandy Hook happened and leftist supporters were always very happy to have Alex Jones on their shows. Back then I claimed that it was a deliberate attempt to make gun rights supporters look nuts and discredit any arguments for gun control. By booking a conspiracy theorist they implied that all gun rights supporters were like Jones and believed the same dumb things he does. The most notable of these programs was Piers Morgan. Jones went on his program and went nuts, famously claiming that "the solution to 1984 is 1776". I'd link to the video but it was on CNN and I won't support them. The video is easy enough to find though.

(As an aside, hilariously enough, both Jones and Morgan now publicly support President Trump.)

It seems as though the left can't even do that anymore. I don't believe for a second that the Megyn Kelly interview was nothing but a smear piece both on Alex Jones and Donald Trump. Though Alex Jones doesn't have all that much of a reputation to hurt, he is quite possibly the most eccentric and strange Donald Trump supporter and the fact that Trump at least tolerates him could potentially damage him.

Indeed, back when the "Deplorables" controversy happened I said that the only damaging thing about the image was not the fact that Pepe the Frog was there, but the fact that Alex Jones was. He is an extremely controversial person and he is certainly worthy of criticism. I personally am far more offended by his 9/11 conspiracy theories than anything else, but other people have different priorities. I can certainly understand why some people are outraged by him. I personally view him closer to the crazy uncle that spouts stupid things but has some strange charm, but he doesn't have much in the way of credibility.

I tend to agree with Megyn Kelly's argument. Alex Jones is certainly newsworthy and is someone that should be examined. He's got a huge audience and is a major influence in conservative thought. He was one of the few people that were all in with Donald Trump from the beginning and now his news organization, Infowars, has a press pass. I don't want to overstate his influence, but given how close the election was, I am not sure if Trump would be president if it wasn't for Alex Jones. All of these things mean that he is worthy of coverage.

So why is Kelly getting so much flack for this? Well I think it has a lot to do with the tit for tat outrage games that are currently going on. The left and right have been going after each other for years but now people are trying to hit each other where it hurts. The pocketbook. People have been going after advertisers whenever they do things that disagree with. These boycott campaigns started with Gamergate and have expanded to the mainstream.

Lately the right has been winning the outrage games, for at least the last couple of weeks. We have gotten rid of Kathy Griffin after she held up a decapitated head that resembled the president. We also went after admitted cannibal and former CNN host Reza Aslan after he called the president a "piece of shit" and got him fired from CNN. Finally, we have gotten some of the advertisers of a play of Julius Caesar that had someone resembling Trump murdered. I personally was disgusted by all of those things and I am not surprised that there was outrage, but it is surprising that the right has been able to pull this off. In the past we were always the victims of these attacks, and never the perpetrators.

The left needs some scalps now too and it doesn't seem to matter who's scalp it is. It doesn't matter that this report was likely to be biased against Jones and President Trump. It doesn't matter that Kelly was supposed to be the new NBC Golden Girl. It doesn't matter that Kelly hit Donald Trump very hard during the presidential campaign. All that matters is that by giving Jones even a hint of credibility makes her just as guilty as him in the eyes of the extreme left. By their logic, only someone on the right would give someone on the right a platform. By interviewing Jones, she's getting lumped in with the right.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I have to think it's fairly funny that the left turned on Megyn Kelly so quickly. She's hardly been on NBC at all and she is already facing all this backlash. It seems that her career would have done better if she had just supported Trump and stayed at Fox News. I personally dislike the fact that she tends to make her news stories all about her and not about the actual news. In short, I am not a fan and don't really feel sorry for her.

On the other, I do think that this cycle of outrage spirals and boycott movements is highly damaging. And I think that despite all the apt and fair criticism that Kelly deserves, interviewing Alex Jones is not one of them at all. I do think that people should be able to express themselves freely without worry of losing their jobs. I am, of course, worried that someday I'm going to be in Kelly's position. She didn't really do anything wrong here, other than being a typical MSM shill, and if it can happen for her for simply talking to someone with separate beliefs, it can happen to me as well...

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