Megyn Kelly’s Alex Jones Interview: Big Buildup, Blah Delivery, Low Ratings
Megyn Kelly's heavily hyped interview with controversial radio host / conspiracy theorist Alex Jones aired on Sunday night (June 18). Viewers tuned in, just not all that many.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "The episode finally aired Sunday, averaging 3.5 million viewers, a 0.5 rating among adults 18–49 and a 0.7 rating among adults 25–54." Those numbers place Kelly's Sunday Night behind a repeat of CBS's 60 Minutes and far behind Fox's coverage of golf's U.S. Open. And in that vital 18–49 demographic, Kelly was trounced by ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos -- also a repeat.
That's a paltry result for an interview that attracted tons of publicity in the days leading up to its broadcast. However, some of the poor showing could be due to Jones' leaking the full, unedited audio of the interview last week. Jones says he made the secret recording because he was convinced Kelly would edit the piece in a dishonest way to make him look bad.
Jones has gained fame and followers, particularly on the far right of the political spectrum, for challenging the mainstream media (which he derides as "FAKE NEWS") and the establishment. But perhaps his biggest step up in notoriety came when when he told listeners that he believed the 2012 massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. In the Kelly interview, Jones refused to apologize for promoting this conspiracy theory.
And it's not just the Newtown conspiracy theory. Jones also claims the September 11 terror attacks were an inside job committed by the U.S. government; has called former President Barack Obama the "global head of al Qaeda"; and insists that the government is using juice boxes to turn children gay.
All of that is why Kelly's putting Jones on network TV in prime time was harshly criticized once the interview was announced. (Check out the #ShameonNBC hashtag.)
Reviews of the Jones-Kelly sitdown were generally unimpressive, though not uniformly negative. Some of Kelly's NBC colleagues have congratulated her on the interview:
That could be an indication that, despite the lower-than-expected ratings, the network is standing by its $15 million investment in Kelly, whom NBC lured away from Fox News last year.
Alex Jones, you won't be surprised, disagrees:
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