This decision sparked a flurry of criticism, with many claiming that Kelly would be giving Jones a platform for his conspiracies and lies.
Kelly was recently disinvited from a banquet which was set to benefit an anti-gun violence organization started by parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting because of her association with Jones.
After a tumultuous promo roll-out, the interview was hastily recut, according to Page Six.
I promise you it's not riveting. How you you feel if someone shot your kids, some fool said it wasn't true- and I gave him a show? https://t.co/xma9Z30IjW
— Nelba Márquez-Greene (@Nelba_MG) June 12, 2017
Jones expressed anger because he believed the interview would be cut to make him look incompetent.
On Thursday night, he released a video in opposition to his Kelly interview, which is supposed to be released Sunday.
“I’ve never done this in 22 years, I’ve never recorded another journalist, but I knew it was a fraud, that it was a lie,” Jones said in the video, explaining his motivations.
Jones is a difficult person to quantify. He has peddled conspiracy theories, cited bogus facts and frequently yells to make his points.
He has recently been embroiled in a custody battle for his three children, made more interesting by his unique defense. After his ex-wife submitted a few of his videos as evidence, his lawyers argued that his on-air persona is an act, calling him a performance artist.
“I am an actor, we’re all actors, but I believe in what I stand for,” Jones told the jury.
“Name a prominent conspiracy theory in the last five years, and you’ll find Jones stoking its flames on the radio and on his Infowars YouTube programs,” Brian Resnick wrote for Vox. “He’s given much airtime to the cruel, baseless speculation that the Sandy Hook massacre was a “hoax.”
“He’s said that 9/11 was an inside job. He was one of the prominent voices of ‘Pizzagate,’ a bogus story that led to a gunman barging into a Washington, D.C.-area pizza shop.”
Jones’ complexities aside, the media has begun grappling with another question: Should Megyn Kelly shine a light on Jones’ lies, giving him a platform from which to spread them?
While the media seem to be divided, Kelly herself defended her actions by calling on her responsibilities as a journalist.
“What we do as journalists is we shine a light on those with power, those with influence, those who have become culturally relevant,” she said in a statement. “Of course, it’s upsetting to know that doing that causes any upset to the Newtown families, many of whom I know well. But I have to do my job.”
The majority of journalists have been on Kelly’s side, citing her same argument of responsibilities as a journalist.
“All of which is to say, if the interview is done, it must be done carefully, with the best journalism that can be brought to bear,” wrote Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times.
The other argument is that even if Kelly disputes his claims they will still permeate viewers’ thoughts.
According to Vox, “A small-scale paper in Europe’s Journal of Psychology found that ‘exposure to false news stories increased the perceived plausibility and truthfulness of those stories.’”
Going along with this theory, a Connecticut NBC affiliate has chosen not to air the interview, saying “the wounds are understandably still so raw.”
There is no justification for amplifying lies (or a liar), particularly about unimaginable tragedy. I hope no parent, no person watches this https://t.co/nSt1MGGM2U
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 12, 2017
While we won’t know the lasting effects of the interview, it appears Megyn Kelly and her team made efforts to identify his claims as lies, specifically using that word, which is uncommon for a journalist.
She started her program by mentioning the backlash she has experienced since the promotional video for the Jones interview that was released earlier this week.
It touched on many of his conspiracy theories, mostly focusing on Jones’ claims about the Sandy Hook shooting. She also interviewed the father of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis, who died at six years old.
The segment was surprisingly short, less than 20 minutes of her hour-long show.
Whether the segment was always intended to be that long or was cut short due to the public and media outcry is, ironically, a potential conspiracy.