Does Alex Jones Merit an Interview?
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Does Alex Jones merit an interview?
By Rob Hoffman on June 22, 2017 at 5:29 AM
People love to divide up the world. So now it’s my turn. The world can be divided into three types of people:
Those who know who Alex Jones is, and find him repugnant
Those who know who Alex Jones is, and actually believe his nonsense
Those who have never really heard of him, and could care less. (I’m envious of this group.)
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As you can see for yourself, Alex Jones has a lot of very important points to make. Since very few of them are based in actual fact, how should the rest of the media treat Mr. Jones? (You Tube)
For those of you who fall in the envied third category of not knowing who he is, or at least having very little knowledge regarding what makes him “famous,” Alex Jones is a broadcaster who represents the “radical right-wing” of U.S. politics. Some would suggest that he is a member of the broadcasting wing of the “alt-right” movement. In fact, there are many who consider themselves part of the “alt-right” movement who won’t even associate with Alex Jones. More importantly however, he’s one of those broadcasters who through his website, inforwars.com, has attempted to further muck up the already blurry distinction between news and garbled garbage, better known as “fake news.”
Who is drawn to the sludge that Jones spews on a daily basis? Mostly miscreants, uninformed, uneducated paranoid racists…and the president. Yes, President Trump has actually appeared on Jones’ radio show, and has given credence to some of Jones’ more spectacular claims, many of which are downright lies, by re-tweeting them through his unfortunately restless Twitter account.
In fairness, some of his fans are of course normal people who have a very staunchly conservative view of the world, and because many of Jones’ claims match up with their given set of preconceived beliefs, they believe that he represents simply another view of the world. They feel that the view put forward by Jones gives balance to the left leaning slant that they feel can be found throughout the mainstream media. However, let’s be honest. Some of his false assertions (and to be sure, there are a considerable amount of them.) are so damaging that they have actually poisoned our already foul political and social atmosphere. It almost seems sinful to even mention some of Jones’ “greatest hits” regarding his multiple attempts at spreading fake news, but they would include and are not limited to…
He has accused the United States’ government of being involved in the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building.
He has also accused the United States’ government of being involved in the attacks on 9/11/01.
He has stated that the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax.
He has pushed the absurd and officially debunked “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that said, and let’s make sure I get this one right; Hillary Clinton was running a chid sex ring out of an establishment in Washington, D.C. called the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria.
He has claimed that the Moon landings were faked in order to hide NASA’s space technology.
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If you ever actually force yourself to sit and listen to one of his angry rants, what you’ll notice is that he spits out a lot of what seems like damning and compelling evidence to substantiate his point, but none of these so-called points are fact are checked or verified for accuracy or honesty. Jones has been forced to retract many of his claims due to legal action, and in court during his recent child custody hearing, he had to admit under oath that what you hear him doing on the radio is really just him portraying a character. I can’t help but believe that in some ways, that makes it even worse. (You Tube)
The idea that Alex Jones is reprehensible, especially since he most likely doesn’t even believe down in his core half of the nonsensical conspiracy theories that he helps to disseminate, is little in doubt. However, a more compelling discussion was recently brought to the surface regarding Jones, and other controversial public figures. Should members of the mainstream media interview individuals such as Jones, thereby providing them with the legitimacy that they crave?
Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox News, who more recently can be found residing on NBC, interviewed Jones a few nights ago. Kelly would take a significant amount of heat for this choice, and would even lose her gig as the host of the Promise Champions Gala, an annual event put on by Sandy Hook Promise, a gun violence prevention organization founded by some family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Obviously, Sandy Hook parents were not enamoured with Kelly’s ratings driven decision to interview Jones. Some who are fans of Kelly have been quick to point out that Kelly completely eviscerated Jones who was unable to defend his indefensible premise that Sandy Hook was some sort of conspiracy. However, many others felt that Kelly’s decision to give Jones credibility by interviewing him, was an unforgivable lapse in judgement on her part.
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Megyn Kelly. Crusading journalist? Symbol of harassed and maligned women everywhere? Relentless champion of truth for taking on Alex Jones? Or is she some sort of journalistic “sex Twinkie?” Either way, the low ratings she garnered for her interview with Jones may serve as a cautionary tale for those who wish to make waves with salacious interview subjects. (You Tube)
Life doesn’t seem to get any easier for journalists in the mainstream media. Should the mainstream media interview controversial public figures, or should they attempt to ignore them? Are you giving credibility and respectability to those who seem beyond contempt by interviewing them, or is it better to shine a light on those whose behavior needs to be condemned and exposed? Did Megyn Kelly do more harm than good in interviewing Alex Jones?
If you think about it, there are many characters in the world who most people feel distaste for, whatever their beliefs or backgrounds may be. Yet, these very same people who allegedly most Americans feel contempt for, would most likely be amongst the most sought after individuals when it comes to being solicited for an interview. If a journalist, or a television program like 20/20 or 60 Minutes were to be given a wish-list of interview subjects, it’s a pretty safe bet that many of the following names would be considered top priority “gets.”
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His fans are few and far between. He’s considered reprehensible by most, but if he gets out on parole in the next few months, which he might, journalists would be lining up to interview him. (Getty Images)
After “9/11,” members of the media would have given up almost anything to get a chance to interview Osama Bin-Laden. Why? Was it simply for the ratings? Did they think they could get him to express regret. Were they going to pierce his icy veneer? Did they believe they that their questioning would force the terrorist mastermind to reach some sort of cathartic breakthrough ala Barbara Walters? “Tell me something Osama. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”
Is it morally wrong to seek out somebody so evil, just for the sake of ratings? It is the media’s job to inform, and bring those who make the news to our attention. However, is there a line being crossed when they shine a light on individuals who represent the worst that society has to offer? Are we in fact sending a message that crime, cruelty and infamy do indeed pay?
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Is it morally wrong to interview a mass murderer such as Kim Jung-un? Is there anything to gain from such a discussion with the North Korean despot? If a giggling Seth Rogen wasn’t successful, what chance does Lester Holt have? (Getty Images)
People who capture the public’s imagination through social media or even the old-fashioned way, “television,” are always going to be covered by the media. However, does that mean that they merit a serious sit down type of discussion where they gain credibility and a degree of seriousness? Whether Trump supporters like it or not, it is the media’s job to challenge public figures on their ideas, words, and public stances, however, is it also the media’s job to decide whether somebody is good or bad? Could one make the argument that Megyn Kelly is simply exposing somebody like Alex Jones to the public, and allowing we as citizens to decide whether he has merit as a broadcaster?
Let’s say it was 1936, and you were a journalist assigned to cover the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Would you seek out an interview with Adolf Hitler? After all, he was by far the most newsworthy public figure in the world at that time. Wouldn’t you as a journalist have an obligation to try to have a sit down with him? As reprehensible as Alex Jones may seem to many, he’s not worse than Adolf Hitler. The public’s right to know is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, but are there limits when it comes to feeding that desire, and if so, who gets to set those limits?
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Who wouldn’t want to interview me? I’ll answer any question you wish…except for those involving my mustache. (Getty Images)
The world is filled with people who do evil upon others. We are constantly wondering as a free society whether it is more beneficial to ignore these people, and deny them the fame and notoriety that they seek, or is it better to shine a light upon them, and let people know the truth about their wicked ways. I’m not sure that the media can be trusted to make the call in situations like this since they are driven by the bottom line, which is of course, their profit margin. Did Megyn Kelly’s grilling of Alex Jones change anybody’s mind regarding Jones, his honesty or integrity? I doubt that it did, just as I doubt that pointing out negative things about Donald Trump makes his supporters waver in their support of the “Orange Menace.”
For a while, the media talked about not covering every quote and tweet that came from Trump. However, it appears that the addiction to Trump was just too strong. The media and Donald Trump are a little bit like Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. They just can’t quit each other.