What we learned from enduring a week-long news cycle about Alex Jones – Washington Post

 In Entertainment

Alex Jones covered his interview with Megyn Kelly as he covers most things these days — via a live stream. The segment on “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” lasted about 17 minutes, but Jones’s live analysis of it began two hours before Kelly’s show started and concluded a half-hour after her entire, hour-long show had ended.

Jones — along with Mike Cernovich and Andrew Torba, who founded a social network that has been courting Trump supporters as a Twitter alternative — provided their running commentary on the interview to approximately 20,000 live stream viewers from the Infowars studios, as NBC’s feed aired on a big screen behind them. If the televised interview was a heated argument between Kelly and Jones over some of the conspiracy theories Jones has amplified over the years, then the live stream was Jones, Cernovich, and Torba arguing with the arguments.

They pointed out every “jump-cut” they could spot, theorized that Kelly was trying to use the edited interview to get President Trump to “disavow” Jones and even complained about the way Jones was lit.

The lighting was unflattering. In Jones’s own words, the NBC segment made him look like a “wet walrus.”

The sweat, the lighting, the cuts — for Jones and his fans, this was all evidence that the famous conspiracy theorist was the subject of an edited “hit piece.” But they knew that already: Jones had been telling his audience for a week that NBC had come for him to take him down, and that he had a plan to “expose” them, by releasing hours of secretly recorded footage of Kelly’s visit to Infowars HQ.

“This is their big gamble, this is their big take Alex Jones down.” he said earlier in the week. “This is pathetic. The only way I could fail was not doing it.”

Watch a week of this programming, and you might come to believe that the Jones/Kelly interview was an epic battle for the soul of the country. Jones, as he often does, spoke in terms of war, his thoughts running into each other in his trademark aggressive ramble. In the mainstream world that Jones opposes, this interview also took on some urgency of its own: was it ethical to even give Jones a platform like this? How could NBC justify airing an interview with a man who repeatedly questioned the reality of the Sandy Hook shootings, on Father’s Day of all days?

Together, the media and Jones fed a week-long news cycle about a short newsmagazine segment that turned out to be neither totally revealing nor totally damning to anyone. Jones came off sounding like a conspiracy theorist. Kelly looked like an interviewer questioning the facts of what Jones believes for the benefit of her audience. The week of speculation about what would happen on Sunday night turned out to be more interesting, and telling, than the interview itself.

The constant collisions between the mainstream media and the Trump-friendly quarters of the Internet have picked up since the inauguration. With a president in office who regularly calls the mainstream press “fake news,” the Trump-friendly Internet claimed partial credit for getting him there in the first place. Humiliating the mainstream press — in real or perceived ways — has become a meme on the right. The Kelly piece, as a story about one of the Trump-friendly Internet’s key figures, was an easy target from the moment NBC requested an interview.

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