Is Megyn Kelly an irresponsible journalist? | The Tylt
Is Megyn Kelly an irresponsible journalist?
Kelly's critics say Alex Jones should not be given a platform, no matter how good of a journalist Kelly is. It's just not going to end well. Jones and others like him cannot be interviewed in good faith because they insist on their fabricated stories. Giving context to and explaining Alex Jones is a noble mission. It can be done without giving the man a platform. Otherwise, all Kelly is doing is introducing Jones' crazy ideas to her audience and giving him a powerful platform to spread his ideas.
It is extremely difficult to successfully interview a conspiracy theorist who is willing to lie about what he has previously alleged. The subject can often run circles around the interviewer both because he is inevitably more familiar with the nuances of the theory and because he is willing to engage in rhetorical strategies for which the interviewer just isn’t ready. After the interview is over, the conspiracy theorist can retreat to his own media platforms to provide his own spin on what happened to an audience predisposed to believe him, not the mainstream press.
The first episode of Kelly’s Sunday Night was panned by critics and lost in the ratings war against a rerun of its direct competitor, CBS’ 60 Minutes. Her Jones interview, scheduled to air June 18, is an attempt to overcome this poor start by manufacturing a “Megyn moment” -- one of those unexpected instances where Kelly calls out her right-wing guest’s nonsense. These often-viral interview segments do little to inform Kelly’s audience. But they helped her gain an undeserved reputation in the mainstream press as an impartial truth-teller -- in part by distracting observers from the extreme, race-inflected rhetoric that made her a creature of the cable news culture that she now claims to deplore.
Others say Kelly is "the new gold standard in American journalism." She's known for her tough interviews, which is needed now more than ever. Kelly is a journalist who's unafraid to chase the truth and the story no matter where it goes. Despite being at Trump-friendly Fox News, Kelly challenged and stood up to Trump while remaining absolutely professional.
I tip my hat to Megyn Kelly. Anyone who can ruin an evening for Donald Trump over his hostile attitude toward women he dislikes and make Vladimir Putin squirm on camera over his hostile attacks against a democracy he hates, has won a weak spot in my professional heart.
Regardless of what you think about Kelly, Jones is someone who needs to be confronted. Charlie Warzel at BuzzFeed argues Jones is not some fringe figure who needs to be hidden from mainstream audiences. He and other far-right thinkers are leading a parallel media institution that creates, grows and feeds conspiracies that many Americans (including the President) think are real. He's deeply influential. According to Quantcast, Jones website, InfoWars, pulled in 476 million views in 2016. He's able to reach even further with his radio show and Youtube channel.
It’s precisely this influence that makes Jones worthy of interrogation on a national news platform. To suggest otherwise is to fall back on an old, outdated idea of the mainstream media as gatekeepers. The media’s job now is not simply uncovering and sharing news, it's helping its audiences navigate the often treacherous sea of information and “alternative facts.” Jones, the pro-Trump media, and the #MAGAsphere are loud, influential voices with huge, active communities and ties to the White House. It is unwise and increasingly difficult to ignore their very real threat, both to their individual targets and to the mainstream media as a whole.