June 16, 2017

"It's not going to be a contentious, sort of gotcha exchange," said Megyn Kelly to Alex Jones.

"It really will be about 'who is this guy?' ... I'm not looking to portray you as some boogeyman or just any sort of gotcha moment. I just want to talk about you... The craziest thing of all would be if some of the people who just have this insane version of you in their head walk away saying, 'you know what, I see the dad in him."

Alex Jones releases audiotape in advance of the show airing the interview. NBC is under pressure for giving Jones air time — because of the grieving victims of Sandy Hook — so Jones is setting it up so that he can be the victim.  

It's time once again to quote Janet Malcolm, "The Journalist and the Murderer":
Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. Like the credulous widow who wakes up one day to find the charming young man and all her savings gone, so the consenting subject of a piece of nonfiction writing learns—when the article or book appears—his hard lesson. ...

The catastrophe suffered by the subject is no simple matter of an unflattering likeness or a misrepresentation of his views; what pains him, what rankles and sometimes drives him to extremes of vengefulness, is the deception that has been practiced on him. On reading the article or book in question, he has to face the fact that the journalist—who seemed so friendly and sympathetic, so keen to understand him fully, so remarkably attuned to his vision of things—never had the slightest intention of collaborating with him on his story but always intended to write a story of his own. The disparity between what seems to be the intention of an interview as it is taking place and what it actually turns out to have been in aid of always comes as a shock to the subject.
Why don't we all know this by now?

Jones is a conspiracy theorist. You'd think he'd be more skeptical. Or... no, a conspiracy theorist is not a skeptic. He's credulous, indulging more heavily in what is the central human intellectual failing: believing what we want to believe. 

59 comments:

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What makes you think Jones was not fully aware of Kelly's intentions and motives from the start?

Charlie said...

Megyn Kelly vs Alex Jones is like the Iran/Iraq war. Can't they both lose?

Expat(ish) said...

Alternatively: he figured that this was his only chance to screw a TV star....

-XC

Ann Althouse said...

"What makes you think Jones was not fully aware of Kelly's intentions and motives from the start?"

Your question assumes a fact about me.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't know much about Jones. Don't think I've even heard him speak. I would guess that he thought Kelly was bullshitting but that it was worth the risk to get the high-profile air time.

After all, he took the trouble to make the tape. That means he saw a need to defend himself. Now, before the show even airs, he's defending himself by trying to lock her in to her own bullshit.

Once written, twice... said...

He is a huckster who is making a lot of money off the rubes.

rhhardin said...

The grieving victims of Sandy Hook has become an interest group apparently.

They like importance.

rhhardin said...

Jones is a shouter. Kelly is just material for his own show.

sparrow said...

They are both hucksters, using each other

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Your question assumes a fact about me.
...
Why don't we all know this by now? Jones is a conspiracy theorist. You'd think he'd be more skeptical.

Yes, it assumes your writing reflects your thinking. When you say You'd think he'd be more skeptical, it seems (to me) to imply that he was not as skeptical as he should have been. Were you not intending to imply that?

Angel-Dyne said...

Jones is a conspiracy theorist. You'd think he'd be more skeptical. Or... no, a conspiracy theorist is not a skeptic. He's credulous, indulging more heavily in what is the central human intellectual failing: believing what we want to believe.

I know nothing about Jones (aside from his being that conspiracy-theory guy), but I'm inclined to believe (credulously!) that anybody who rises to "top conspiracy theorist" is really a meta-conspiracy theorist, preying on the "credulous, [who indulge]...heavily in...the central human intellectual failing: believing what we want to believe." Hey, it's a living.

Angel-Dyne said...

BTW - Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones. Who watches this shit? Kardashians not around any more?

Richard said...

I recall reading a long-time journo who said all writing is selling somebody out. She recalled doing a piece on a model who, as it happened, never got another gig. part of the game, I guess.
I suppose you could say the same about fiction. It would be reasonable to presume one or another character is similar to a genuine person in the author's life and who might be recognized by those familiar with the author's history. There are only so many characters one can make up without one looking like a real person.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I never heard of Alex Jones until last summer. Never visited InfoWars. I suspect he's getting this publicity now because Kelly wants to brand him, a fringe character, as a spokesman for and source of information for Trump supporters. The overwhelming majority of Trump voters have no idea who this guy is.

I'd say "why doesn't Kelly do a feature on the Left's fringe characters?" But the Left's kooks aren't obscure. They're on MSNBC and CNN all the time.

Brookzene said...

Welcome to the Joe Pine show.

Bad Lieutenant said...

If any institution is as moribund, as needful of change and reform as our government, it is our media.

Brookzene said...

"If any institution is as moribund, as needful of change and reform as our government, it is our media."

Schools.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Was he overly-credulous, though? He apparently recorded the preliminary conversations/negotiations and that would seem to indicate some level of caution and/or realization that self-defense is necessary, no?

CStanley said...

Jones is a conspiracy theorist. You'd think he'd be more skeptical. Or... no, a conspiracy theorist is not a skeptic. He's credulous, indulging more heavily in what is the central human intellectual failing: believing what we want to believe.

I don't the that's the central failing of conspiracy theorists. I think they tend to be people who are good at connecting dots and have a tendency to overdo it, and to have too much faith in their own ability to generalize from a set of known facts (without enough skepticism about the quality of the evidence and their own capacity to form the conclusions from the dataset.)

I say this as someone who is susceptible to this but I feel as though I can apply some skepticism when needed. Of course having that kind of critique of my own abilities is it's own kind of hubris (like the paradox of humility, where you can't help but feel proud of yourself for being modest.)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Whoops, I responded before reading Prof. Althouse's 7:42 comment, making the same point.


Additional data point re: the issue of Jone's meta-awareness/game: Alex Jones' Lawyer Says He's Playing A Character. Now that's part of a divorce legal battle, so maybe the REAL story is that his lawyer's story is false info supporting a fake "front" just to win the case...
But that's honestly about as much time as anyone should give to taking this person seriously.

Brookzene said...

Good points.

"Now that's part of a divorce legal battle, so maybe the REAL story is that his lawyer's story is false info supporting a fake "front" just to win the case...
But that's honestly about as much time as anyone should give to taking this person seriously."

Brookzene said...

I wonder which Althouse readers take Jones seriously. I'm pretty sure not all would say.

Michael K said...

"He is a huckster who is making a lot of money off the rubes."

I agree and NBC is the chief rube.

"The overwhelming majority of Trump voters have no idea who this guy is."

Yes, this is fake news squared.

Michael K said...

"I wonder which Althouse readers take Jones seriously. "

The lefties like you.

Laslo Spatula said...

Jesus was crucified because of a Conspiracy.

There is always a Judas, making plans with the Romans.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

Beware of Alex Jones. He weaponizes alternate facts that he uses to destroy the best confirmation bias tales. The scary part is when he turns out to have guessed the truth. A man like that is dangerous, to stand next to.

John said...

No matter what Megyn Kelly does, Jones wins. Look how much publicity he is getting. I suspect his traffic viewership is way up.

There is no such thing as bad publicity.

"MY GOD THEY'VE BEEN GROWING BABIES IN COWS FOR 25 YEARS NOW!"

Curry/Dvorak use that soundbite on the No Agenda podcast www.noagendashow.com regularly. I think it is about the only thing I've ever heard Alex Jones say.

Brookzene:

I miss Joe Pyne. Used to stay up late as a 16 year old to watch him. All I know about Scientology I learned from him. He had some pretty amazing (and bizarre) guests. Here he interviews Jerry Rubin about the Berkely strike in the early 60s.

John Henry

Brookzene said...

"The lefties like you."

Hey Michael I'm just askin'. You know there are righties who do. One already steppin' up.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Jones thinks that Sandy Hook was a conspiracy, right?

I've never seen any conservative here state that opinion.

But Brookzene in true Stalinist fashion "knows" that some of the Althouse conservatives agree with Jones. They're just not admitting it.

I know for a fact that there are many leftists who applauded or excused the baseball shootings. Not because I mysteriously divined it - because I read their Twitter feeds and the comments at the NY Times.

khesanh0802 said...

How is Jones any different from the stuff putout by Mother Earth News and their ilk? The subjects are different but the underlying "conspiracy" against someone by someone is the same. For Jones it's politics, for Mother Earth it's the evil bio- chemical companies, or the milk/food industry, to the cosmetics industry, or the medical/industrial complex. Same bull shit, different package.

Sandy Hook was a piece of nastiness by a complete wacko. How many miles of publicity has Jones gotten out of his "conspiracy" theory? Could that be a large part of his motivation?

SDaly said...

Jones was playing Kelly. He used her to raise his own visibility, and has recordings that will further alienate her from the post-Fox news viewership. Kelly is now hated by many on the right and distrusted by the left. Jones's helping to destroy her career will be a huge benefit to him.

Ambrose said...

What I find interesting with Jones is that "conspiracy theorist" is now a vocation.

BN said...

If you're not part of the conspiracy, then you are the target.

If you don't believe in the conspiracy, then you are the innocent bystander about to get trampled.

You may not be interested in Conspiracy, but Conspiracy is interested in you.

Now let us all conspire together to do to them what they want to do to us.

Who's with me?

Brookzene said...

If you're not part of the conspiracy, then you are the target.

If you don't believe in the conspiracy, then you are the innocent bystander about to get trampled.

You may not be interested in Conspiracy, but Conspiracy is interested in you.

Now let us all conspire together to do to them what they want to do to us.

Who's with me?


I think that probably cooks to a lot of people. I can't even be sure it's satirizing.

Angel-Dyne said...

exiled: I suspect he's getting this publicity now because Kelly wants to brand him, a fringe character, as a spokesman for and source of information for Trump supporters. The overwhelming majority of Trump voters have no idea who this guy is.

Ah, one of those. One of our MSM-appointed "leaders" whose every word we hang on, like David Duke or that Spencer guy. When we're not glued to FAUX NEWS!, that is.

It's really scary the way people I've never (or barely) heard of, and news channels I never watch, totally control my views. How do they do that? Cosmic rays targeted at our brains during REM sleep? Dental amalgams? It's the fluoride in the water supply, isn't it? THE FLUORIDE! Damn, I knew it was the fluoride...

BN said...

Alex Jones is a standard Military-Industrial-Complex-Bilderberg-Rothschild-One-World-Capitalist-Conspiracy-Theorist type. Where Ike and the Far Left play Hide and Seek.

Oh, and frogs. Because no conspiracy is really complete without frogs.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Who got conned by whom! From his perspective, he's the journalist and she's the murderer.

There's some wonderful use of language in the Alex Jones video. He's working in the same genre as Rush Limbaugh. If there's a transcript, perhaps it can get an Althouse treatment. I especially loved the end where it turned into a deodorant commercial.

BN said...

"I can't even be sure it's satirizing."

That's how you know we're conspiring: because you don't know.

cubanbob said...

Kelley and her producers are world class fools who were played for the arrogant fools they are. Did they think a guy like Jones wasn't savvy enough to record them so he could later expose their manipulative editing? Kelley and Company might as well confess to conspiring against Jones because that is how he is going play it for his followers ( and with a measure of credibility) thus adding to Jones's believability to his followers.

If she was smart, she would have stayed at Fox doing what Ailes had hired her for instead of getting too full of herself. I suspect if Cosby beats the charges the Murdochs are going to reconsider what they have done to Fox News and maybe try to make amends with that Irish blowhard seeing that their ratings and audience share have dropped considerably.

cubanbob said...

It's really scary the way people I've never (or barely) heard of, and news channels I never watch, totally control my views. How do they do that? Cosmic rays targeted at our brains during REM sleep? Dental amalgams? It's the fluoride in the water supply, isn't it? THE FLUORIDE! Damn, I knew it was the fluoride..."

General Jack Ripper agrees....its the fluoride!

The Cracker Emcee said...

"But the Left's kooks aren't obscure. They're on MSNBC and CNN all the time."

And running the DNC. But that's a good thing. The Left's inability to see they're pulling the crazy train is the Republican's saving grace.

Michael said...

I am as alt right as it comes. I have never heard of this goofus.

BillyTalley said...

Too many in this community seem to be too proud about not knowing about Jones. He's been enough of a figure in the media space for the past ten years to warrant a view of at least a small selection of his videos. My opinion: there's a grey zone in the expanded sphere of "journalism" where the credible and credulous mix. The "high ground" is not what it used to be, and this whole farrago has drawn an equal sign between Kelly (MSM) and Jones (Cowboy journalism).

3MartiniLunch said...

According to Fox News (!!!!!!!!FAUX NEWS!!!!!!!) this morning, Jones is planning to broadcast the entire, unedited, interview. Perhaps he's not as credulous as supposed (maybe his 'credulousness' is the conspiracy theory). Although it does seem that he is believing what he wants to believe - that the media is interested in harming his reputation. As they say, it's not paranoid if they really are out to get you. When does a conspiracy theory become an actual conspiracy?

Christopher said...

Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.

Depending on the journalist, of course. I remember being appalled when Malcolm wrote that with such pride.

It certainly described her. With the benefit of hindsight after being a journalist myself for two decades, it strikes me as the everybody-does-it-defense trotted out by people who cheat on exams and so on.

Quaestor said...

He's credulous, indulging more heavily in what is the central human intellectual failing: believing what we want to believe.

Maybe it's Kelly who is the credulous one.

I wouldn't trust Megyn Kelly no matter what form of flattery she used to tempt me into an interview. Interviews with media personalities today, particular NBC, are like the "interviews" Göring's Geheime Stats Polizei requested of liberals and communists in 1933. One might as well make the enemy come looking for you rather than walking into the KZ voluntarily. Kelly is an NBC personality now. The media culture she has adopted as her own demands that scalps and severed heads be displayed prominently at the entrance to one's tent. Without such allegorical trophies, Kelly won't last. She's desperate, and she'll say anything to the owner of a prominent "scalp" to bait the trap.

Perhaps Jones planned to upstage her with his own version of the interview which he'd use to advance his own fake news narrative. I don't like Alex Jones. His kind of conspiracy bullshit angers and depresses me. Nevertheless I'll be gratified if it's Kelly's ash blond coiffure that gets hung outside the barbarian's tent.

Quaestor said...

Alex Jones has done a few good services to Western Civilization. One of these was introducing Paul Joesph Watson.

Unknown said...

Although any half-wit could invoke unusual cases as evidence of his non-localized point, I've seen no evidence cogitated leading to the legitimate general deduction that thinking something 'is true because we wish it to be so' is a great failing. Self-fulfilling prophecies have in fact known high potency in terms of influence.

Like a muscle almost-never excersized, all the reasons humanity exists only because of the belief things will turn out the way we (individually) wish have faded from mass viewpoints yet remain heralded heartily when, with cause, remembered.

Like I remember my old handle Guildofcannonballs.

Michael K said...

"Hey Michael I'm just askin'. You know there are righties who do. One already steppin' up."

I Never heard of the guy. The left has made him famous.

eric said...

Jones is a lunatic.

He was created by our current MSM. They've done such a lousy job of being fair and accurate that people have turned to people like Jones.

Pathetic.

Tom said...

It NBC proves to have manipulated the interview to material change his answers and he can prove it, she's gotta be done. It's smoking gun of the fake news of the Left.

traditionalguy said...

The world has changed. YouTube video of on the scene events collected from many angles and interviews has forever opened the door to skeptics that prove the official narratives are half lies if not total staged and acted BS.

Don't Blame Jones for using the tools better than most. But keep an open mind. Hollywood propaganda peddled as News has replaced information sources of live TV shots. The editing is done to quickly.

Brookzene said...

I Never heard of the guy. The left has made him famous.

Well I don't know who made the guy famous but I'm pretty sure it's the far right that pay his sponsors back.

Brookzene said...

Jones thinks that Sandy Hook was a conspiracy, right?

I've never seen any conservative here state that opinion.

But Brookzene in true Stalinist fashion "knows" that some of the Althouse conservatives agree with Jones. They're just not admitting it.


Who's really the one with "Stalinist" tactics, exiledonmainstreet? I didn't say a fucking thing about anyone believing or not believing in Sandy Hook. Jones is a well-known trafficker in bullshit. Just like you.

Brookzene said...

Don't you ever call me a Stalinist again either, you little shit. Just argue the points.

Achilles said...

Brookzene said...
I wonder which Althouse readers take Jones seriously. I'm pretty sure not all would say.

People should be as embarrassed at taking him at face value as they would be if they took Rachel Maddow at face value. They are both right maybe 10% of the time and are pushing agendas.

You have to analyze him as an object/force within the context of the modern media environment. Right now there is no source you can point to that you can really trust. It has to be taken in aggregate and formed into a useful paradigm.

I don't think he is really all that picky as far as which conspiracies he pushes. I am certain he doesn't believe them all. Pretty much like the idiots on CNN. I don't really follow him so the only time I see his stuff is when he gets tweeted by Trump or linked by Drudge. I don't have time to read everything.

The media in general is a joke. Megyn Kelly put him on TV because he has more viewers and fans than she does and she will get ratings.

The issue that people miss is that Alex Jones has more daily viewers than Megyn Kelly. Or MSNBC/CNN for that matter. The fact people in the political class ignore him could explain some things.

Achilles said...

Brookzene said...
Don't you ever call me a Stalinist again either, you little shit. Just argue the points.

Anyone who supports the unending investigations of Trump whether or not there is evidence of a crime is by definition Stalinist.

traditionalguy said...

NB: If Jones was all a ridiculous conspiracy nut, then then the flood of smears as a dangerous untouchable would not erupt like a volcano when he comes up .

William said...

I don't know much about Alex Jones. I think he's like these transsexuals I'm always reading about. You have to go out of your way to find him and them........Still, I give him credit for this. It's not often the subject of a hit piece makes the journalist look bad. This reminds me of that story about the wounded elephant who collapsed on the hunter and killed him.