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June 19, 2017

Tom Brokaw Helps Megyn Kelly Defend Alex Jones Interview On ‘Sunday Night’ Broadcast

Megyn Kelly kicked off her Father’s Day newsmag broadcast addressing the controversy about her segment interview with  hatemonger/conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

“Some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview because his baseless allegations aren’t just offensive, they are dangerous. But here’ the thing: Alex Jones isn’t going away,” Kelly said by way of defending the broadcast that has gotten her and NBC News blasted in certain quarters, including by parents of children massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Over the years his YouTube channel has wracked up 1.3 billion views. He has million of listeners and the ear of our current president,” Kelly said in defense of the broadcast. She noted that Trump famously went on Jones’ show in December 2014 when he was running for POTUS, and that among the things the two men have in common are years of insistence that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

The Jones segment covered mostly familiar terrain, though maybe news to some NBC News’ viewers, including his claims Hillary Clinton and other Dems were running a child sex ring out of a Washington pizza restaurant, that elements of the federal government allowed September 11 to happen, and that the Sandy Hook slaughter was a hoax performed by actors.

Considering the hoopla and how much time Kelly reportedly spent with Jones, the amount of air time given over to that interview, though it’s not known if that’s a result of the controversy and push-back from Sandy Hook parents, among others, or to clear time for a Tom Brokaw editorial that closed the broadcast by defending its airing.

A lot of time was devoted to a discussion of Jones’ “new and surprising level of influence” thanks to Trump.  “We just got a beachhead,” Jones says in the segment. That includes a “temporary” White House press pass and, two weeks ago, Kelly said, the Trump-Pence campaign sent a release to supporters, at the bottom of which the President and Vice President of the United States directed them to a link to Infowars.

She began her report showing Jones’ classic reax to tragedy on a big scale, most recently the suicide bombing of concert-goers in Manchester, England. With few facts known, Jones nonetheless quickly “jumped mouth-first into controversy” as he previously had done when he claimed elements of the U.S. government allowed September 11 to happen and that the slaughter of 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School children was a hoax.

The bombing in Manchester, Jones said, killed “a bunch of liberal trendies…the same people promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in.”

In his interview with Kelly, Jones insisted, “Of course, if kids are being killed by Muslims, I’m not saying it’s their fault,” when she reminded him of the age of many of the victims, many of whom were tweens and teenagers.

“That pattern of reckless accusation, followed by equivocations and excuses, is classic Alex Jones,” Kelly told her viewers.

Days ahead of this evening’s interview, the Infowars founder leaked an audio of a conversation he claimed to have had with NBC News’s “modern-day Medusa” in which she pledged the program would be “fun,” that she wanted to show his more personal side to both his followers and “the left” who watch NBC, and that should would let him review the clips before air.

Tonight’s broadcast did not air on Connecticut’s NBC owned-and-operated TV station whose coverage includes the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where children aged six and seven as well as six adults were killed by a lone gunman in 2012.

NBC News recruited Tom Brokaw to offer an olive branch to Sandy Hook parents for the broadcast, in an editorial that concluded the program, about “the reach and the poisonous claims of Alex Jones and others like him.”

Brokaw, noting his status as a father and grandfather during the Father’s Day broadcast, said, “To the parents of Newtown, it’s not enough to say I cannot imagine. Because, unless we’re the parents, we can never ever share the unremitting pain the lifelong loss and anger.

“Nor should they have to hear the cruel claim that it was a lie. No parent or grandparent in American today can escape the fear that it could happen again. We cannot allow the agents of hate to go unchallenged and become the imprint of our time.

“We will always have our differences, of course but, in our finest moments, we’re a republic that tries, when it recognizes common threats, and takes them on. That time is now, again,”

Brokaw concluded, “This is a time of common threats requiring uncommon courage. It is a time to step up.”

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