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Megyn Kelly and NBC now know that soiling themselves with Alex Jones was also bad for business


The maniac and Megyn Sunday night on NBC. Photo: Ed Bark

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
President Trump has yet to deny reports that he called fired former FBI director James Comey “a real nut job” during a notably congenial Oval Office meeting with two Russian officials last month.

A bonafide “real nut job,” hate-mongering Alex Jones, got a big dose of free exposure Sunday night on the third edition of NBC’s Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. I couldn’t be happier to report that the Peacock’s duplicitous effort to “shine a light” on this lunatic flopped miserably as both a ratings stunt and revenue-producer.

Sensible Americans turned away in droves, as did major advertisers. This left the high-priced Kelly and her still formative show in the clutches of a double whammy.

No. 1, her face-off with Jones bombed in the national Nielsen ratings with 3.71 million viewers in the 6 p.m. hour, trailing ABC’s rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos (3.71 million); CBS’ 60 Minutes repeat (5.31 million); and Fox’s final full hour of a hardly dynamic U.S. Open (6.09 million), won decisively by the little-known Brooks Koepka.

Worse yet for the Peacock, major advertisers bailed, leaving Megyn Kelly with a mix of gratis Ad Council-stamped public service spots, promos for NBC shows and fire sale rate ads from companies that generally can’t afford this kind of prime-time real estate on a Big Four broadcast network.

The first commercial breaks for Megyn Kelly and NBC’s following American Ninja Warrior are illustrative of what happened Sunday evening. In order of appearance, here are the commercials for her show:

1. PSA for pet adoption (at least it’s a good cause)
2. XYZAL allergy medication
3.. Icy Hot Lidocaine Patch with pitchman Shaquille O’Neal
4. Promo for NBC’s Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
5. Promo for NBC’s The Night Shift
6. PSA for Protect Your Everyday
7. Local spot (in Dallas) for Mr. Jim’s Pizza
8. PSA for Ready.Gov/Alerts
9. Promo for NBC’s American Ninja Warrior

In stark contrast, here are the ads during the opening break for American Ninja Warrior:

1. Sprint cellular
2. Degree deodorant
3. Herbal Essence shampoo
4. Zyrtec allergy medication
5. Toyota
6. Neutrogena with pitch woman Kerry Washington
8. POM Wonderful pomegranate juice (official sponsor of Ninja Warrior)
9. Farmers Insurance
10. Three-in-one promo for NBC’s Hollywood Game Night, The Wall, The Night Shift

It didn’t get any better for NBC and Megyn Kelly after the oily segment with Jones had ended and the show moved on to pieces on home-delivered marijuana, Americans “flocking” to New Zealand and Tom Brokaw’s concluding sermon on the dangers of “hate speech.”

In total, seven public service announcements were used to fill some of the holes left by sponsor defections. NBC also ended up showing 12 separate promos for its upcoming shows.

Should the network have given Jones a forum in the first place, on the grounds that numerous evil-doers have also been grist for nationally televised interviews? From this perspective, Jones’ infowars.com (which repeatedly was referenced), may have millions of supposedly devoted followers. But he remains a crackpot, publicity-seeking fringe player. And his despicable contention that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre is all a hoax at this point should be given exactly the national media attention it deserves -- which is none.

Jones also has made a series of other moronic claims, some of which he’s later retracted under threats of lawsuits. His sources appear to be a coterie of young male staffers who concoct theories for him to spurt on his show.

Before she sat down with Jones, Kelly made a point of telling viewers that he “has the ear of the President,” who indeed did an interview on infowars.com back in December 2015, mainly to promote his new book and a book-signing. But does he in reality have any genuine influence over the President? Even Jones disputes that.

NBC aired the Jones interview on Father’s Day after reportedly “toughening up” the segment and including comments from the father of a Sandy Hook victim and conservative MSNBC contributor Charlie Sykes, who said that Jones represents a “toxic paranoia.” Gee, thanks for the heads-up. Would never have known that.

Jones’ website now of course is making the most of his national prime-time exposure and its ripple effect. One of its “stories” is headlined, “Media Celebrates Megyn Kelly’s Dishonest Hit Piece on Alex Jones.”

NBC News should be deliberating why and how this guy was given the opportunity to soil its air in the first place. And nothing causes a network to become more reflective than lousy ratings and a big advertiser defection. Ask Bill O’Reilly.

NBC and Kelly would have been far better served by junking Jones and pulling together a quick interview with the newly contrite Ted Nugent, who in fact accomplished things in life as a hit-making rock musician before devolving into a -- real nut job. Chastened after last week’s Republican baseball practice shootings, the man who once encouraged President Obama to “suck my machine gun” now says that people of all political beliefs “have got to be civil to each other. I’m not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore.”

This is a far cry from the unrepentant Jones, who from this point on should be left to wither and fade away by his own hand. If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that his NBC interview turned out to be a bad business decision -- for the network at least. In that respect, justice is served.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net