- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Megyn Kelly, the former darling of Fox News who’s just now coming to air on NBC, has already stoked some fires with her interviewing skills — so much so with her chat with Alex Jones of Infowars fame that JPMorgan Chase has temporarily pulled its local and digital ads from the network and her show.

And social media is talking boycotts already.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a source familiar with the matter, said JPMorgan  asked for the ad pull until Jones‘ interview airs, this Sunday, in case of a massive uprising over the Sandy Hook portion of his discussion with Kelly.

On one hand, this is called good TV — because Kelly’s barely made her debut at NBC and already the news wires are heating about her segment. Talk about creating a buzz.

On the other hand, this is sensationalized TV — and that’s bad. Don’t we already have enough nonsense in the news business without adding more?

Anyhow, the clip that’s got people talking is a pre-released segment that includes Jones defending himself from the label of “most paranoid man in the world,” particularly when it comes to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — which he thinks was a hoax.

Kelly bills her show as a sit-down with Jones to “discuss controversies and conspiracies,” so the topics of discussion were chosen to meet that criteria.

But Sandy Hook family members aren’t pleased.

Christina Hassinger, the daughter of the slain school principal, Dawn Hoschsprung, wrote “shame on you” to Kelly, in a tweet to express outrage at giving Jones a platform.

“This piece of actual garbage encourages people to call my mom’s death a hoax and harass other Sandy Hook families,” Hassinger tweeted. “Shame on you.”

Another family member — the mother of a little girl who was killed in the attack — wrote similarly on Twitter.

She posted a photograph of her dead daughter and tweeted to Kelly: “Here you go @megynkelly — her name is Ana Grace Marquez-Greene. Say her name — stare at this & tell me it’s worth it.”

Social media was quick to retweet and respond — and so far, it doesn’t look good for Kelly’s side. Boycotts were called for against Kelly’s show and against NBC.

The network, for its part, asked viewers to hold off judgment until the show airs.

Kelly’s response?

Her executive producer, Liz Cole, issued the statement: “[Jones is] a controversial figure for sure, but as journalists it’s our job to interview newsmakers and people of influence no matter how abhorrent their views may be.”

That’s true. But it’s also journalists’ jobs to earn their media employers money — and one quick and easy way to do that is to generate enough buzz about looming stories to grab audience attention and generate ad revenues. Hard to say at this point which motivation drove Kelly.

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