The June 18 episode of NBC’s Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly features and interview with the controversial Alex Jones. The founder of Infowars peddles on paranoia and conspiracy theories, infamously concocting alternate stories for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the moon landings, the Oklahoma City Bombing and other important events in U.S. history. But his most notorious theory was that the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting did not happen as the facts show.
The shooting happened at the Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. On that day, Adam Lanza murdered 20 young students and six teachers at the school. Before the shooting, the 20-year-old shot and killed his mother. He committed suicide after first responders arrived at the school.
For years, Jones spread the idea to his viewers and listeners that the shooting didn’t happen as reported. He claimed it was a “false flag” used by the government and later claimed there were “child actors” at the scene. Jones fought allegations from the mainstream media though, claiming that he presented both sides of the story on his show. In a “final statement,” he claimed he didn’t know the full story of Sandy Hook, but thought the official version of events had “more holes in it than Swiss Cheese.”
Parents of Sandy Hook children called for Kelly’s interview to be pulled from the air and a Connecticut NBC affiliate announced it will not air the interview.
Here’s a look at Jones’ claims.
1. Jones Accused the Government of ‘Staging’ Sandy Hook
One of Jones’ favorite phrases is “false flag.” It’s the idea that the government has staged an event to make it look like something it’s not to push an agenda. Jones even once called the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing a “false flag.”
“You saw them stage Fast and Furious. Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming. And that’s why I’m so desperate and freaked out. This is not fun, you know, getting up here telling you this. Somebody’s got to tell you the truth,” Jones said in 2013.
He also called it an “inside job” and criticized President Barack Obama for suggesting this was a moment to start a debate on gun regulations when he orders drone strikes overseas. He also suggested that the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting was a “government operation.”
2. Jones Accused Hillary Clinton of Lying About Him Saying Sandy Hook Didn’t Happen
During an August 2016 campaign speech, Hillary Clinton condemned future President Donald Trump, who has been a guest on Jones’ show, for “taking hate groups mainstream.” In the speech, she specifically called out Jones for saying “the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there.”
“Yeah, so, Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first,” Jones told a caller in a January 2015 episode. “I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors. I mean they even ended up using photos of kids killed in mass shootings here in a fake mass shooting in Turkey — so yeah, or Pakistan. The sky is now the limit. I appreciate your call.”
3. Jones Noted That the FBI’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report Didn’t List Newtown Murders
One piece of Jones’ theory is that the FBI’s 2012 Unified Crime Report doesn’t list murders in Newtown, Connecticut. Adan Salazar, a writer for InfoWars, pointed this out in September 2014. Jones also claimed that Connecticut police had the FBI “falsify crime statistics.”
A few days before the Infowars piece, USA Today explained why the Newtown shooting and other mass shootings are often missed in the FBI’s crime statistics. After all, the 2012 UCR also didn’t include the 12 people killed in the Aurora, Colorado shooting.
USA Today reported that the FBI report includes statistics volunteered by local and state police departments. The Connecticut State Police did volunteer their data, but later asked that the information be deleted.
The state police were the lead investigators on the Sandy Hook case, so the murders of the Sandy Hook children and teachers were included in the Connecticut state records, not in Newtown statistics. According to Snopes, the stats were listed under “State Police Misc.” The 2012 statewide list of 146 murders in Connecticut that year includes the 27 victims at Sandy Hook.
4. Jones Says the Mainstream Media & Liberals Have Taken Past Comments on Sandy Hook Out of Context
Recently, Jones has insisted that his comments on Sandy Hook have been taken out of context by the mainstream media and liberals. In his “final statement” on the issue in November 2016, Jones said he doesn’t really know what happened at Sandy Hook, but he does know that the “official story” of Sandy Hook has “more holes in it than Swiss Cheese.”
Jones also insists that the version of Megyn Kelly’s interview that will air on NBC also ignores his full statements on Sandy Hook. He retaliated by leaking the whole interview on his YouTube page, because he secretly recorded her as it went on. He’s called the interview a “hit piece” and even said he doesn’t want it to air.
“They did not have me in there saying that I believed children died at Sandy Hook,” Jones told the New York Times.
Kelly has also been under fire from the parents of children killed at Sandy Hook for interviewing Jones in the first place. Kelly defended her interview by telling the Times that she was inspired to interview him because he has the respect of Trump.
“I find Alex Jones’s suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does,” Kelly told the Times. “It left me, and many other Americans, asking the very question that prompted this interview: How does Jones, who traffics in these outrageous conspiracy theories, have the respect of the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions?”
5. Sandy Hook Parents Threatened Legal Action Against NBC If it Airs the Jones Interview
On June 16, CNN reported that Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, a firm that represents 12 family members of Sandy Hook victims, threatened legal action against NBC if it airs the interview.
“Surely, we can agree that these families have suffered enough already, and that they will continue to suffer enough to last several lifetimes. Which is why we cannot fathom — from a moral, ethical or legal standpoint — NBC’s decision to amplify the voice of a man who has made a living debasing that suffering and smearing our clients’ names,” the lawyers’ letter reads. “Over the last few years, Alex Jones has weaponized his radio show to publish false and defamatory statements about our clients: chief among them that they are actors perpetrating a massive fraud on the American public by faking the deaths of their loved ones.”
The letter claims that the interview gives legitimacy to Jones’ claims and says NBC is responsible for that. However, CNN notes that legal action probably would only be successful if Jones were to call them liars on national television. They could sue for defamation were that the case.
NBC plans to go through with the interview. However, The Hartford Courant reports that WVIT, the NBC station in Connecticut, will not air the interview.
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