Megyn Kelly could find her upcoming interview with conspiracy monger Alex Jones scooped -- by Jones himself.
Amid a firestorm leading up to Sunday evening’s NBC broadcast of Kelly’s next major interview for the network, Jones claimed he had secretly made his own tape of the interview -- as well as talks leading up to it -- and planned to release his version in advance. Jones says his tape will show the former Fox News personality sandbagged him.
“It’s not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that,” Kelly tells Jones in a recording released on Jones’ website, Infowars.com. “All I can do is give you my word and tell you if there is one thing about me I do what I say I’m going to do and I don’t double-cross.”
Kelly goes on to say in one of the pre-interview recordings that she is a “combination of Mike Wallace, Oprah Winfrey and Larry the Cable Guy.
“That’s what you’ll get in the interview – a little bit of all three of those and hopefully everybody will walk away feeling like they had a good dinner – nutritious, some red meat with some dessert at the end,” she is heard saying.
“Of course I’m going to do a fair interview I’m still
me – I’m not going to go out there and be Barbara Walters,” she added.
However, Jones, in commentary interspersed throughout the recordings, accused Kelly of going back on her word.
“When she got here with her crew of intelligence operatives she did the opposite of what she said,” Jones told viewers. “And so I was recording the whole time, from our pre-interviews, right through the interviews, we have a record of it so that you can decide for yourself what I really said and what I stood for.”
“You alone will be the judge,” he adds. “You alone will be the jury of who is fake news.”
Kelly's follow-up to her debut interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin was already steeped in controversy. By early this week, the network was reportedly in crisis meetings over how to respond to enraged parents of children killed in the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Their criticism is that NBC’s decision to send its newest star to interview Jones – infamous for having said in 2014 that “Sandy Hook is synthetic, completely fake, with actors, in my view, manufactured” -- will only dignify the alt-right celebrity broadcaster.
“I don’t know what the truth is, all I know is that the official story of Sandy Hook has more holes in it than Swiss cheese,” Jones later said in a video he posted online in November 2016.
Lawyers representing the families of the victims of Sandy Hook say that NBC airing the interview will only give more credibility to conspiracy theories surrounding the tragic shooting which left 20 children and six school staffers dead.
"Airing Ms. Kelly's interview implicitly endorses the notion that Mr. Jones' lies are actually 'claims' that are worthy of serious debate, and in doing so it exponentially enhances the suffering and distress of our clients," lawyers Josh Koskoff and Katie Mesner-Hage wrote in a letter to NBC, according to The Associated Press.
Then, following the parental backlash, a major sponsor said it was pulling advertising dollars. J.P. Morgan Chase announced no more money for NBC until after the Jones interview aired, or the broadcast is cancelled.
“When you say parents faked their children’s deaths, people get very angry,” Kelly said in a teaser of the interview released by NBC.
“I looked at all the angles of Newtown and I made my statements long before the media even picked up on it,” Jones responds.
An interview with at least one Sandy Hook parent whose child died in the shootings will be included in NBC’s report Sunday, a person familiar with the show told The Associated Press.
In other parts of the pre-interview recordings released by Jones, Kelly appears to butter up the InfoWars host after the NBC interview is agreed upon.
“I’m not looking to portray you as some boogie man or do any sort of a gotcha moment...the craziest thing of all would be if some of the people who have some insane version of you in their heads walk away saying ‘You know what I see the dad in him, I see the guy who loves those kids and who is more complex than I’ve been led to believe’,” Kelly says, referencing Jones’ child custody trial.
In Texas, Jones’ recordings are protected from any potential legal action Kelly and NBC could pursue, as the state has a “one-party consent” law where only one person needs to agree to having recorded communications.