A panel of media analysts suggested on Sunday that NBC News host Megyn Kelly was the wrong person to take on fringe conspiracy theorist Alex Jones because the former Fox News host is not experienced conducting confrontational interviews.
Host of CNN's Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, pointed out during a Sunday panel discussion that some advertisers had asked for their ads to be pulled from Kelly's Sunday night program featuring an interview with Jones.
Television critic Mo Ryan argued that Jones was worthy of media scrutiny as part of "the rise of the people who foment hate, spew lies."
"I just think the context in which this coverage takes place is really important," she explained. "If you were telling me that NBC was doing... an hour-long documentary on the rise of this kind of disinformation media empires, I would say that's great."
"I don't think giving Alex Jones 15 or 16 minutes to simply spin his views and to spin his media image is the way in which to attack this," she added. "Megyn Kelly has not proven herself to be the kind of dogged interviewer that would be able to make a meal of this."
Stelter noted that NBC has defended the interview by arguing that "terrorists and child molesters and serial killers have been interviewed on television."
"I wonder if what's different is that the country feels very anxious right now, obviously very divided," Stelter continued. "And Alex Jones is a virus. There's maybe a fear of spreading that virus more fully on a big network."
Buzzfeed writer Charlie Warzel pointed out that audio leaked by Jones hinted that Kelly's interview was going to be a "humanizing piece."
"Here's who wins by this interview airing," Ryan remarked. "NBC can't back out, it's too late for that. Alex Jones wanted more people to know who he is. Alex Jones wanted more attention from people who might pay for certain products that he sells. He's going to get what he wants out of this. He's also going to get to portray himself as the victim of these mainstream media sharks who were going after him and trying to discredit him."
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