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Megyn Kelly Smacks Down Perspiring, Prevaricating Alex Jones

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Megyn Kelly Smacks Down Perspiring, Prevaricating Alex Jones

Megyn Kelly

  As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly’s televised confrontation with Internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud. Not because Kelly didn’t give it her best. And maybe not even because the former Fox news-blonde’s best falls considerably short of legendary TV inquisitors such as Mike Wallace or even Barbara Walters.

It’s partly a gravitas thing; a matter of stage presence. At this point in her new career as a “mainstream” performer, Kelly hasn’t quite mastered it. She’s intelligent, poised, and almost alarmingly attractive.

But authoritative? Not yet.

So whose idea was it to schedule Kelly opposite CBS’s 60 Minutes anyway? For all of the controversy attending her Father’s Day interview with the Austin-based proprietor of InfoWars, a website that peddles low-IQ political pornography along with male enhancement products and survivalist gear (there’ll be a hot time in the fallout shelter tonight!), the program finished far behind U.S. Open golf and a 60 Minutes re-run during the time period. Dead last.

But the real loser was Jones himself, whom Kelly had little difficulty exposing as a sweaty, blustering fraud. “Some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview because his baseless allegations aren’t just offensive, they’re dangerous,” Kelly pointed out. “But here’s the thing: Alex Jones isn’t going away.”

She’s correct on all counts. It’s also true that exposing the sheer fraudulence of a mountebank like Jones could be terribly important. People like him thrive in the semi-shadows of the Internet. Viewers who wouldn’t dream of buying the poison InfoWars peddles need to be more aware of what Jones and similar far-right hucksters like him are all about. Because millions of naïve dimwits are buying, including the President of the United States.

NBC documented several examples of evidence-free allegations going right from Jones’s paranoid rants straight to candidate Trump’s mouth—such as the absurd allegation that Hillary Clinton would show up for a presidential debate high on drugs. Trump thought so too.

Of course, Jones has also alleged that Hillary’s a space alien.

“When I think about all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped, I have zero fear standing up against her,” Jones said in a YouTube posting just before the 2016 election. “Yeah, you heard me right. Hillary Clinton has personally murdered children. I just can’t hold back the truth anymore.”

That was the infamous “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory InfoWars also promoted. He has since backed off.

Fear of lawsuits can do that sometimes.

To date, Trump has left the space alien thing alone. But you never know. He now claims that the president phones him for advice. There seems no reason to doubt it.

But enough about Trump.

During their interview, Kelly shrewdly zeroed in on Jones’s bizarre insistence that the 2012 massacre of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax—an Obama-orchestrated theatrical spectacle to promote gun control.

That obscene and deeply offensive lie caused one Connecticut NBC affiliate to refuse to air the program. Kelly’s willingness to put Jones on the air initially caused great anger and sorrow among the surviving parents of the slain five- and six-year olds, several of whom have received hate mail and death threats from InfoWars adepts. Their pain is unimaginable.

Ultimately, however, they needn’t have worried. Whether or not NBC drastically re-edited the episode in response to critics, as some have claimed, the end result was nevertheless revealing of InfoWars’ methods.

So long as it fits the paranoid mindset, basically anything goes.

First, Kelly softened Jones up by highlighting his recent lampooning of teenaged terrorist victims in Manchester, England as “liberal trendies.” One of those trendies, she pointed out, was eight years old. She described his practice as one of “reckless accusation, followed by equivocations and excuses.”

On cue, Jones began stammering, equivocating and babbling alibis. Maybe some children really died at Sandy Hook after all, he allowed. “I tend to believe that children probably did die there,” he said. “But then you look at all the other evidence on the other side.”

“Of course,” Kelly said in a brisk voiceover, “there is no ‘evidence on the other side.’ ”

As, indeed, there is not. Nor ever was. Kelly interviewed Neil Heslin, whose six year-old son Jesse died in the tragedy. The brokenhearted father’s courage at standing up to Jones can only be admired. Broadcast images of Jesse’s shining face shamed the blustering fraud.

And ultimately, shame may be the only known antidote for Jones’ brand of political obscenity. People inclined to accept absurd conspiracy theories can be more vulnerable to ridicule than reason. Men particularly fear the laughter of beautiful women. What’s more, precisely because of her longtime affiliation with Fox News, Megyn Kelly could end up being the perfect person for the job.

Assuming, that is, that she wants it.

Gene Lyons

Gene Lyons is a political columnist and author. Lyons writes a column for the Arkansas Times that is nationally syndicated by United Media. He was previously a general editor at Newsweek as wells an associate editor at Texas Monthly where he won a National Magazine Award in 1980. He contributes to Salon.com and has written for such magazines as Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Esquire, and Slate.

A graduate of Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, Lyons taught at the Universities of Massachusetts, Arkansas and Texas before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. A native of New Jersey, Lyons has lived in Arkansas with his wife Diane since 1972. The Lyons live on a cattle farm near Houston, Ark., with a half-dozen dogs, several cats, three horses, and a growing herd of Fleckvieh Simmental cows.
Lyons has written several books including The Higher Illiteracy (University of Arkansas, 1988), Widow's Web (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Fools for Scandal (Franklin Square, 1996) as well as The Hunting Of The President: The 10 Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, which he co-authored with National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason.

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  1. FireBaron June 21, 2017

    As I said in an earlier post, Kelly built her reputation based on Fox News’ infamous “leg cameras” and holding “softball interviews” with safe guests. While she may be a decent, or even a good journalist, she lost whatever edge she may have had working for the GOP News Organization. Now that she is in a real competitive news market, instead of working for the only “legitimate” Conservative News Outlet, maybe they need to put her with the 48 hours team to relearn what she forgot.

    1. dpaano June 21, 2017

      Totally agree……and I hope they do it before they let her do another major investigative report, especially if it’s showing at the same time as “60 Minutes.”

  2. bojimbo26 June 21, 2017

    But , but , Jones is`acting` , he`s not really a dipstick ; at least that`s what his lawyer says , so it must be true . After all , lawyers NEVER lie .

    1. Paul Bass June 21, 2017

      No, they prevaricate. Lie is too small a word for them.

  3. dpaano June 21, 2017

    She’s just another FAUX News blonde bimbo, and I doubt if she’ll ever measure up to many other female investigative news reporters. NBC was dead last in the ratings….does that say anything? I can’t wait to see what the next show brings…..


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