Many people are still talking about the recent Piers Morgan interview of Alex Jones on CNN. We’re not linking it here in order not to give Jones more publicity, but the interview is easy to find. In fact, “interview” is the wrong term. It was a one-way crazy rant by Jones on a national platform. CNN was ill-advised to invite Jones in the first place.
First of all, Jones is well-known for his ranting, raving and conspiracy theories, including the 9/11 “truther” conspiracy. There’s plenty of footage of Jones from his radio show, yelling, wailing, sobbing, anything but talking about issues in a civil way. Again, we’re not going to link to such footage here, but it can easily be found. Suffice it to say that Piers Morgan and his CNN producers knew or should have known that they weren’t in for an interview, but rather, a food throwing episode.
Secondly, the purported immediate reason for inviting Jones was that he was behind a petition to deport Piers Morgan after Morgan took on the NRA and gun rights advocates, and called for sensible gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings. It’s Journalism 101 that a tv news host should never make himself the story, yet that’s precisely what Morgan did by inviting Jones on his show. That’s in addition to the other seemingly obvious guideline that, just because a loony with an Internet connection starts a petition, it doesn’t mean he deserves a national television spotlight.
It is difficult to escape the conclusion that CNN invited Jones on “Piers Morgan Tonight” as a publicity stunt, knowing that Jones would be his usual uncivilized, explosive self and that the interview would make for “good tv,” good ratings, and thus good money for CNN. Such a decision fails to move the serious debate over gun violence forward, or do justice to the Sandy Hook Elementary School children and teachers mowed down in Newtown.