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Megyn Kelly says important to 'shine a light' on Alex Jones

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/13/2017 By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2016 file photo Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles. Kelly defended her decision to feature "InfoWars" host Alex Jones on her NBC newsmagazine despite taking heat Monday from families of Sandy Hook shooting victims and others, saying it's her job to "shine a light" on newsmakers. Critics argue that NBC's platform legitimizes the views of a man who, among other conspiracy theories, has suggested that the killing of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 was a hoax. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2016 file photo Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles. Kelly defended her decision to feature "InfoWars" host Alex Jones on her NBC newsmagazine despite taking heat Monday from families of Sandy Hook shooting victims and others, saying it's her job to "shine a light" on newsmakers. Critics argue that NBC's platform legitimizes the views of a man who, among other conspiracy theories, has suggested that the killing of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 was a hoax. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Megyn Kelly defended her decision to feature "Infowars" host Alex Jones on her NBC newsmagazine despite taking heat Monday from families of Sandy Hook shooting victims and others, saying it's her job to "shine a light" on newsmakers.

FILE - In this Monday, April 17, 2017 photo, "Infowars" host Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas. Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, was among the 26 people killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., said Monday, June 12, 2017, that she fears a planned NBC television interview by Megyn Kelly with Jones on Father's Day will encourage other conspiracy theorists who have harassed her and accused her of being part of a hoax. (Tamir Kalifa/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Monday, April 17, 2017 photo, "Infowars" host Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas. Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, was among the 26 people killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., said Monday, June 12, 2017, that she fears a planned NBC television interview by Megyn Kelly with Jones on Father's Day will encourage other conspiracy theorists who have harassed her and accused her of being part of a hoax. (Tamir Kalifa/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

Critics argue that NBC's platform legitimizes the views of a man who, among other conspiracy theories, has suggested that the killing of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 was a hoax. The network released a brief portion of the interview, which is scheduled to air on Sunday.

FILE - In this May 15, 2017, file photo, television journalist Megyn Kelly attends the NBCUniversal Network 2017 Upfront at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The families of some Sandy Hook shooting victims are angered by a planned NBC television interview by Kelly scheduled to air Sunday, June 18, 2017, with Alex Jones, who has claimed the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn., never happened. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this May 15, 2017, file photo, television journalist Megyn Kelly attends the NBCUniversal Network 2017 Upfront at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The families of some Sandy Hook shooting victims are angered by a planned NBC television interview by Kelly scheduled to air Sunday, June 18, 2017, with Alex Jones, who has claimed the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn., never happened. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Kelly, who interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin on the June 4 premiere of "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly," said on Twitter that President Donald Trump has praised Jones and been on his show. Since many people don't know Jones and his views, Kelly noted the importance of explaining them. NBC hasn't immediately commented on the criticism.

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, Jimmy Greene, left, kisses his wife Nelba Marquez-Greene while holding a portrait of their daughter, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Ana Marquez-Greene, at a news conference at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn. Ana Marquez-Greene was one of 26 people killed in a shooting massacre at the school on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Nelba Marquez-Greene is among the families of some shooting victims angered by a planned NBC television interview by Megyn Kelly scheduled to air Sunday, June 18, 2017, with Alex Jones, who has claimed the 2012 massacre never happened. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, Jimmy Greene, left, kisses his wife Nelba Marquez-Greene while holding a portrait of their daughter, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Ana Marquez-Greene, at a news conference at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn. Ana Marquez-Greene was one of 26 people killed in a shooting massacre at the school on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Nelba Marquez-Greene is among the families of some shooting victims angered by a planned NBC television interview by Megyn Kelly scheduled to air Sunday, June 18, 2017, with Alex Jones, who has claimed the 2012 massacre never happened. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter Ana Grace was killed at Sandy Hook, said she fears that giving Jones exposure would encourage Jones' followers who have harassed her and others.

"You can't just put him in a box and say he's just a character," Marquez-Greene said. "He's really hurting people."

A year ago, a New York City man who was a follower of Jones was sentenced to probation after approaching a sister of slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto during a charity road race and angrily claiming the shootings never took place. On Facebook, Soto's family said the "incessant need for ratings at the cost of the emotional well-being of our family is disgusting and disappointing."

Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer for JPMorgan Chase, tweeted that "as an advertiser, I'm repulsed that Megyn Kelly would give a second of airtime" to Jones. The company would not comment on later published reports that it had asked for its commercials not to be on the show.

A writer at the conservative website Red State, Andrea Kutz, wondered, "what is Megyn Kelly thinking?"

"I'm a news and politics-engaged individual," Kutz said, "but I don't care to watch interviews with liars of either Putin's or Jones's ilk. These interviews aren't interesting even in the abstract."

In the interview clip released by NBC, Kelly said to Jones, "When you say people faked their childrens' deaths, people get very angry."

When he tried to change the subject, Kelly said, "that's a dodge."

After his interview had been taped, Jones denounced it on "Infowars" as "fake news, in my view."

He said he expected a "rigged" report because a day's worth of interviews will be boiled down to an 11-minute report. "They're scared of what we're covering," he said. "They're scared of what we're doing."

Jones also described Kelly as not feminine, cold and robotic.

"I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly," he said.

Among Kelly's social media critics was Shannon Watts, the founder of the anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action, who suggested that Kelly "turn your light off and let him back under the refrigerator."

___

AP reporter Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.

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