Alex Jones, the conspiracy-theorizing host of the Infowars website whose controversial interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly is set to air Sunday night, has fallen back to the argument of every disgruntled interviewee: “They took me out of context.”
Except in this case, Jones may cause serious trouble for Kelly, who he apparently took the precaution of covertly taping in pre-interview calls and, he claims, the interview itself, which he is now publicizing on Infowars and his YouTube channel. And in those clandestine clips, the former Fox News host appears to promise to go easy on him in the interview.
In one 30-minute video Jones published that included extensive audio of a pre-interview call with Kelly, the new NBC hire appeared to promise the interview would be a softball personality piece.
“My goal is for your listeners and the left—you know, who will be watching some on NBC—to say, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting,” the voice that appears to be Kelly says. “It’s not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that.”
The thrust of Jones’ overall argument seems to be that he did not definitively claim the Sandy Hook shooting was a fraud, but instead says he merely “wargamed” a number of scenarios, one of which was that “actors” were used to mock up a massacre. In the past, Jones has repeatedly claimed that the elementary-school mass shooting was a “hoax,” along with his wacky beliefs that the U.S. government is behind the 9/11 terror attacks, is spreading chemicals to turn people gay, and that Hillary Clinton is a space alien from another planet.
As distasteful and cynical as many may feel Jones’ argument to be, there is no doubt that the recording of a pre-interview call with Kelly, an edited version of which Jones published Friday on his YouTube channel, will heap further trouble and pressure on the NBC host.
In the recording of the call, Jones does state, of the Sandy Hook killings, “In hindsight I think it probably did happen,” and at another point he says, “I have had debates where I showed both sides. I believe people died there.”
Jones then cuts in footage of the promo released by NBC News in which Kelly probes him about his claims that the massacre was fake, and he replies by talking about the casualties of America’s foreign wars, and Kelly tells him he is “dodging” the question.
Jones on Thursday night promised to release a full unedited series of recordings of the NBC interview, which he says ran from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., saying he secretly recorded the controversial sit-down because he “knew it was all crap,” and that he would be misrepresented.
“I’ve never done this in 22 years. I’ve never recorded another journalist, but I knew it was a fraud, that it was a lie,” Jones said in a teaser video, recalling how Kelly approached him about the interview.
“God, she was like, ‘I want to get steaks with you, I’m obsessed with you, oh my God,’ wiggling around in her seat. It was all crap,” he alleged. “I knew it was all a lie. I said, ‘Sandy Hook happened,’ and she wouldn’t even put it in the promo pieces. So we’re going to release, oh yeah, we’re going to release the pre-interview. And then when they put their fraud out on Sunday—which I’ve asked them not to air because they’re misrepresenting who I am and saying I’m as bad as Saddam Hussein, or Jeffrey Dahmer, or Charles Manson—we’ve got the whole interview here… We’ve got it all… It’s all going to come out.”
“In the past NBC could manipulate and lie, they were the gods,” Jones says. “Megyn Kelly waltzed in here and told me she was going to do a softball interview with Alex Jones… she did the opposite of what she said. We were recording the whole time. These tyrants haven’t figured it out yet, that information warfare is a two-way street.”
Early Friday, an NBC News spokesperson told The Daily Beast: “Despite Alex Jones’ efforts to distract from and ultimately prevent the airing of our report, we remain committed to giving viewers context and insight into a controversial and polarizing figure, how he relates to the president of the United States and influences others, and to getting this serious story right. Tune in Sunday.”
While it is common practice for journalists to engage in a bit of sweet talk to land a big interview, some of the gushing audio Jones has recorded will be humiliating for Kelly.
At one stage she says: “The reason you are interesting to me is because I followed your custody case and I think you had a very good point about the way the media was covering it. And for some reason they treated you and your family as fair game, and they never would have done that [to a] mainstream-media figure.
“I saw a different side of you and you became very fascinating to me. Your comments during the trial just reminded me you are just like anybody and I thought that would be an interesting story to tell.”
It is Jones who brings up the issue of Sandy Hook, and Kelly replies, “I can ask you about that.”
Kelly later says: “It really will be about who is that guy. I’ll ask you about some of the controversy and I‘ll ask you and you can respond… If there’s one thing about me, I do what I say I am gonna do. I don’t double-cross.”
At another point she says, “I’m not looking to portray you as some kind of boogeyman. The craziest thing of all would be if some people who have this insane version of you in their heads came away saying, ‘You know what? I see the dad in him. I see the guy who loves those kids and is more complex than we have been led to believe.’”
Probably the most awkward clip for Kelly will be when she tells Jones: “I will personally promise to look at any clips we want to use of you, and have a producer run by you, whether we are taking it in context, what you are saying.”
In another section Kelly says: “I’ll give you the chance to respond, I really just want to talk about you. You. Take the measure of the man. This is your chance to tell people who you are.”
Kelly also promises Jones: “If I ask you about any controversy, you’ll have the chance to address it fully. We won’t cut you in a way that is going to take out the heart of your explanation or the real substance of it.”