Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Sexist Reaction to the Alex Jones Interview

A Sexist Reaction to the Alex Jones Interview

Various reporters have previously interviewed the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones without much pushback from critics or advertisers.  When the late Mike Wallace interviewed controversial figures like Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Kurt Waldheim, Yasser Arafat, Manuel Noriega, Gordon B. Hinckley, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he was doing his job.  Megyn Kelley’s upcoming interview with the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has received very different treatment.   JP Morgan has canceled its advertising commitment and Ms. Kelley is being vilified for giving Mr. Jones airtime. [1]

In a week when her male colleagues cut off Senator Kamala Harris during the Attorney General Sessions appearance before the Intelligence Committee and fellow board member interrupted Arianna Huffington at an Uber board meeting, I think the reaction to Ms. Kelley’s interview is quite simply another case of sexism.  If Anderson Cooper or Lester Holt had conducted the interview with Mr. Jones, I wouldn’t be writing this post. 

I have to admit that I have my suspicions about Ms. Kelley’s journalistic principals after her tenure at Fox News.  Moreover there’s certain hypocrisy in her recent criticism of slanted broadcast commentary during her first show on NBC.[2]   As Fox news anchor Ms. Kelley routinely repeated the network’s demonstrably false assertions about President Obama and Secretary Clinton.  So Ms. Kelley doesn’t come to NBC with impeccable journalistic credentials.  Nonetheless, she deserves the same deference a male correspondent would receive if he interviewed a controversial figure. 


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