CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, who used to be President and CEO of NBC Universal, weighed in today on the controversy over Megyn Kelly‘s interview with Alex Jones.
Zucker has previously praised Kelly as a “tremendous news anchor”, and in a Q&A session this morning with various media reporters (including Mediaite Managing Editor Colby Hall) he defended the idea behind wanting to speak to someone as conspiratorial as Jones.
He said it’s important to talk to someone “newsworthy” like Jones when the President of the United States has made him a relevant figure.
Kelly has been defending the interview for days now after a short promo was released on Sunday. Sandy Hook parents in particular have been critical of her for giving Jones a platform despite his very public conspiracy-mongering about that horrific shooting.
Kelly has assured that in the interview she confronts Jones about this, and Zucker thinks it’s just been the marketing that’s gotten NBC into trouble.
“The issue here,” he said, “is the way that they have thus far presented it has not led to the belief that he’s held to account as much as somebody who spews such hatred and nonsense needs to be” (echoing thoughts expressed yesterday in a Mediaite column by John Ziegler).
He said ideally, the tease for the interview should be Kelly confronting Jones with “a picture of the dead kids at Sandy Hook and saying, ‘How dare you?’”. And so, Zucker adds, the “marketing of this has thus far been unfortunate.”
CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota, also in attendance, agreed with those sentiments.
Sunday Night EP Liz Cole, who worked closely with Zucker for a number of years during Zucker’s run at NBC, recently spoke to CNN about the interview earlier this week and said, “Until you see the full program, in the full context, I wouldn’t judge it too much. Judge it when you see it.”
[image via screengrab]
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