Megyn Kelly is defending her NBC interview with Sandy Hook shooting denier Alex Jones, arguing it's important to show why the controversial Infowars founder is respected by many – including President Donald Trump.
Pressure is building on NBC to pull the "Sunday Night" interview; relatives of those who died in Feb. 14, 2012, slaughter have objected, a gun control nonprofit, Sandy Hook Promise, canceled its invite to Kelly to host a fundraiser, and JPMorgan Chase reportedly plans to pull local ads on NBC News until after the interview airs.
"I find Alex Jones's suggestion that Sandy Hook was 'a hoax' as personally revolting as every other rational person does," Kelly, a former Fox News Channel host said in a statement, Fox analyst Howard Kurtz reported.
"It left me, and many other Americans, asking the very question that prompted this interview: how does Jones, who traffics in these outrageous conspiracy theories, have the respect of the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions?"
"President Trump, by praising and citing him, appearing on his show, and giving him White House press credentials, has helped elevate Jones, to the alarm of many," she said.
"Our goal in sitting down with him was to shine a light – as journalists are supposed to do – on this influential figure, and yes – to discuss the considerable falsehoods he has promoted with near impunity."
Kelly added that she was "disappointed" to be dropped from the fundraiser but that "I understand and respect the decision of the event organizers."
In a preview clip of the Jones interview, the controversial radio host called the horrific shooting at the Newton, Conn., elementary school "complex," Kurtz reported.
"I have had debates where, we devil's advocates have said the whole story is true, and then I have had debates where I have said, that none of it is true," he said.
Kelly responded: "When you say parents faked their children's death, people get very angry."
"Well I know, but they don't get angry about the half million dead Iraqis from the sanctions, or they don't get angry about…" Kelly interrupted to call that "a dodge," Kurtz reported.
Jones replied he'd "looked at all the angles of Newtown, and I made my statements long before the media even picked up on it."
Kurtz reported that after the interview, Jones slammed Kelly as "not feminine" and "cold, robotic, dead." He argues NBC should cancel the segment because it is a "rigged" report that misrepresents his views.
"They're scared of what we're doing," he said, Kurtz reported.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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