by Ben Cohen
NBC's Megyn Kelly is catching an enormous amount of heat for interviewing the modern-day king of conspiracy theorists and all round lunatic Alex Jones. Many are calling for a boycott of the network and any advertisers on Kelly's show for giving the Sandy Hook massacre denying talk show host airspace, and with very good reason.
Jones has made a tidy living profiting off of vulnerable people, spreading insane, reprehensible conspiracy theories on his internet channel 'InfoWar'. This includes calling the Boston Marathon bombing a "false flag" operation, the Sandy Hook massacre an orchestrated hoax created by enemies of the Second Amendment, and labeling globalism as a "New World Order" consisting of a "demonic high-tech tyranny" created by "satanist elites who manufacture economic and health crises, and are using selective breeding to create a supreme race".
It is unclear whether Jones believes anything he is saying (the recent lawsuit he settled against a the yogurt company Chobani after he claimed it was connected to the 2016 sexual assault of a child and a rise in tuberculosis cases indicates he'll change his mind when his own money is on the line), but he continues to spout egregious lies and nonsensical gibberish on an almost hourly basis. In any other era, no reputable media company should give Jones the time of day, let alone give him a prime time slot to pontificate on "animal human hybrids" or whatever brain fart he happens to be having at any given moment.
But this is the era of Donald Trump, and the rules have changed.
Kelly's reasoning for having Jones on her show was to "shine a light" on the conspiracy theorist given he was praised by Donald Trump and was reportedly granted at least temporary access to the Press Briefing Room in the White House. While many find Jones to be monstrously offensive, he has the president's attention and many of his followers are huge Trump fans. This is a problem America simply cannot hide from any more. It must confront in full day light the ugliness that exists in on the margins of society. It must confront the festering wounds 40 years of economic disenfranchisement has created, the toxic effects of extreme political polarization and disintegration of public education, the mass corporatization of the media, and the break down of civil society. Like Donald Trump, Alex Jones didn't emerge in a vacuum -- he is a product of a paranoid, greedy, and fearful country in the grips of a severe identity crisis. Alex Jones isn't the cause of America's problems -- he is the symptom.
Let Jones spout his garbage on national television to as wide an audience as possible. Let Americans see who the president thinks is a legitimate news source. Let them see the madness that has gripped a significant portion of the population, and let them deal with it. It is only then that society can effectively come to terms with Jones, just as we are coming to terms with Donald Trump and all his madness. If we don't try to understand the root of America's sickness, there is no chance we can effectively fight it.
When the body is sick, the immune system kicks in to deal with the disease. It doesn't pretend the disease is not happening -- the immune system directly confronts it with a variety of tactics until the disease has been neutralized and consumed by white blood cells:
When the body detects these special chemical structures [disease], it activates several processes that lead to the destruction of the bacterium. These processes include increased movement of blood cells to the place where the invader has entered the body, increased phagocytosis (eating) by blood cells and activation of enzymes in the blood that can create holes in bacteria and hence destroy them.
This is what we must do to Alex Jones. He must be exposed for what he is -- a disease threatening to spread itself as far and wide as possible. Once he has been exposed, he must be fought, and that means going to work to combat the lies he has told, and attacking anyone supporting his work. Jones has a right to speak his mind, but advertisers and sponsors putting their name to his work must be exposed for their complicity in propagating his message.
The Banter has been going after Jones for years now -- Bob Cesca and our beloved Chez Pazienza dedicated hours exposing his madness and dismantling his lies well before Donald Trump appeared on the political scene. I used to think they were silly for paying him attention, but it seems they knew what was brewing in the dark fringes of American society and knew that it must be aired for everyone to see. There is nothing more depressing than covering the likes of Donald Trump and Alex Jones. It is insulting for honest journalists and media outlets doing their best to cover this madness -- insulting to their intelligence, and insulting to their dignity. But it must be done relentlessly if we want it to go away.
Megyn Kelly is a deeply flawed media figure with her own baggage. But she is not insane, and not oblivious to reality. Kelly takes her job seriously and while imperfect, at least attempts to ask hard questions regardless of the political persuasion of the person she is interviewing. We haven't seen the full interview of Jones, but from the clips released thus far it seems obvious Jones is being portrayed exactly as he is -- a dangerous idiot spouting provably false conspiracy theories. And that is exactly what America needs to see before the country can go about getting rid of this clown once and for all.