Iraq War booster Judy Miller on Fox worries about mainstream press giving inappropriate coverage to liars
Miller produced a series of now-debunked reports that Saddam Hussein had WMDs based largely on information from Ahmad Chalabi
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Fox News contributor Judith Miller criticized an upcoming interview of conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones by NBC’s Megyn Kelly, calling it “completely inappropriate” to “give a platform to a man who is a conspiracy theorist and giving great pain to the parents of the Sandy Hook elementary school.”
The criticism from Miller -- whose reporting in the lead-up to the Iraq War lent legitimacy to false claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- shows a stunning lack of self-awareness, as her own network shrugged when Fox News host Sean Hannity repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered in connection with Wikileaks’ publishing of hacked emails. Even after Rich’s parents sent a cease and desist letter expressing “severe mental anguish and emotional distress,” Hannity said he was “right” and that he was “not going to stop doing my job and asking questions.”
Fox has been responsible for the promotion of many, many conspiracies over the years, including that former President Barack Obama's birth certificate was fake, that rampant voter fraud exists and that the 2016 election might have been “rigged,” and that there is a “shadow government” working against
From the June 16 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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GREG JARRETT (CO-HOST): New information on a controversial upcoming television interview. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones releasing an unedited version of his interview with Megyn Kelly which is set to air on NBC this weekend. The talk radio host has claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax. Jones saying on his website that the full interview will be available to counter Kelly's report, which he calls a fraud. Let's bring in our panel. Judy Miller, Pulizer prize-winning investigative reporter, author, and Fox News contributor, and Emily Jashinsky joins us, commentary writer for The Washington Examiner. Good to see you both.
Does Megyn Kelly have a good point in the face of severe criticism that you're just giving a conspiracy theorist a platform by saying that, look, we may not agree with the things he says, but he has a pretty substantial audience. He says controversial things, he needs to be confronted about those things. Judy?
JUDY MILLER: I don't think that's her intention. If you look at the tape that Alex Jones released on Thursday night about their little schmoozing before the interview, she says, at least according to the tape that he's released, that this is not going to be a quote, "gotcha interview." All I can say is that I hope Megyn Kelly asks tougher questions and follow-up questions than she did of Vladimir Putin. But, no, I don't think it's wise in our highly polarized environment where we have people shooting congressmen and senators on baseball fields to turn around and give a platform to a man who is a conspiracy theorist and giving great pain to the parents of the Sandy Hook elementary school. I just think that's completely inapproprirate.
GREGG: It does cause pain. There's no question about this. Let me just quickly, Emily, read NBC's response to this. "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 on Sunday." The last part, of course, is their plug for viewers and ratings and revenue. But, Emily, who's right in this debate?
EMILY JASHINSKY: This is a really tough question. I will say I do disagree. I think it's sort of unfortunate that I think Alex Jones has the president's ear, but the fact of the matter is that he does, and I think that's almost unprecedented to have someone who is on the fringe as much as Alex Jones is that does actually have influence on the president. I don't know that he has that much influence, but he's someone that the president would talk to during the campaign from all accounts. So I actually think that it's very wise and important for Megyn Kelly to be asking tough questions of him. I hope that she actually asks the tough questions of him because there is a little bit of a contradiction between the statements she put out saying I want to ask those tough questions and what we heard in the recording. She's in a tough situation either way, but it is important to ask serious questions of Alex Jones.