Politics

Megyn Kelly’s Alex Jones interview draws only 3.5 million viewers

FILE — Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor, prepares for an interview in New York, May 12, 2016. Now at NBC, Kelly’s upcoming interview with the Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has raised a host of questions about the line between covering a scoundrel as a news figure and giving him a promotional platform, Jim Rutenberg writes. (Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Damon Winter/The New York Times/File

Megyn Kelly in 2016.

HARTFORD — The publicity and uproar in the days before Sunday’s broadcast of Megyn Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones didn’t translate into ratings.

The NBC program was seen by 3.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen, an audience dwarfed by CBS rival “60 Minutes,” a rerun which drew 5.3 million viewers. “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” had 6.2 million viewers for Kelly’s interview of Vladimir Putin on the show’s June 4 debut.

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In the days preceding her segment on Jones, Kelly had received widespread criticism for giving a platform to a man whose false allegations only added to the pain of the Newtown tragedy and even encouraged people to harass relatives of the victims. In the interview, Jones never gave a direct answer when Kelly pressed him to admit he was wrong and continued to raise questions about the shootings.

A parent of one of the children killed in the 2012 Connecticut school shootings says she won’t view the Kelly interview.

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Nicole Hockley’s 6-year-old son, Dylan, was among the 20 children and six educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. She said Monday she won’t watch the interview for “obvious” reasons; Jones has called the school shooting a hoax.

One Newtown parent did appear on Kelly’s program: Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed. When Kelly asked him if he had anything to say to Jones for Father’s Day, when the interview aired, he responded, “I think he’s blessed to have his children to spend the day with, to speak to. I don’t have that.”

Andrew Friedman, a representative for the Newtown victims’ families, said Monday that neither he nor Joshua Koskoff, the lawyer for the families in a lawsuit against gun maker Remington Arms, had any comment on the Jones interview.

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Connecticut’s NBC affiliate did not air Sunday’s report and lawyers representing 12 people who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook urged NBC News officials not to air the interview. NBC News Chairman Andy Lack told The Associated Press that the Jones story would be edited with its critics in mind.

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