The Sunday showdown pitting Megyn Kelly against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for spreading the vile lie that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax ended in a draw.
Kelly’s interview with the unrepentant “Infowars” host had prompted an outcry from the families of Sandy Hook victims, as well as others who said it was wrong to give a platform to his unfounded views.
Kelly addressed the furor at the opening of “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly,” her new newsmagazine on NBC.
“Some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview . . . . But here’s the thing: Alex Jones isn’t going away,” Kelly said, noting that Jones has the ear of President Trump himself.
During the interview, Kelly challenged Jones for causing “so much pain” to people already devastated by the massacre of 20 children and six adults at the Newtown, Conn., school in 2012.
“I didn’t create that story,” Jones insisted, recounting videos he’d watched that led him to have doubts about gunman Adam Lanza’s massacre.
Newtown father Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in the attack, told Kelly that Jones had made his horrible pain even worse.
“I lost my son. I buried my son,” Heslin said.
“It’s disrespectful to me,” he said of Sandy Hook conspiracies. “I take that very personal.”
As the episode was broadcast, Jones offered commentary on his YouTube livestream, continuing to discuss his doubts about Newtown. He also released a Father’s Day message to the Sandy Hook families offering his “sincere condolences” and inviting them onto his show, but making no apologies to them.
Kelly turned up the heat on Jones while questioning him about his role spreading the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy about a child-sex ring involving members of the Democratic Party, as well as a conspiracy about a Chobani factory in Idaho falsely linked to the 2016 sexual assault of a child. The factory employs refugees.
Kelly noted that in both cases, Jones was forced to read on-air apologies — though he didn’t seem very contrite.
“You don’t sound very sorry,” Kelly said. “It’s not the media (that’s to blame). You. Are you sorry?”
Jones did not say he was sorry.
She also questioned Jones about how he selects the topics he shares with his millions of listeners. The Infowars “newsroom” is a freewheeling atmosphere in which Jones riffs off of articles posted to the internet, Kelly reported.
“If you just look at an article and discuss it, it’s garbage in, garbage out . . . I’m just trying to figure out what the vetting process is?” Kelly asked.
The interview also featured Trump’s chilling praise of Jones on the campaign trail, telling Jones “your reputation is amazing.”
Jones confirmed he’d received phone calls from the President.
“He’s just called sometimes and talked about politics or thanked me,” Jones said.
How many times has Trump called, Kelly asked.
“I don’t wanna get into all that,” Jones said.