Megyn Kelly has lost “multiple advertisers” over her upcoming interview with “Info Wars” host Alex Jones, according to CNN. But she doesn’t have to worry about Media Matters president Angelo Carusone arranging an advertiser boycott of her program.
“We haven’t even talked to NBC about it yet,” Carusone told TheWrap. “Going after advertisers as an expression of outrage and indignation is not an effective tool or tactic.”
That comment might seem odd coming from Carusone, who has been personally responsible for spearheading successful advertiser boycotts of Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. But hurting NBC in this instance doesn’t fit his agenda.
Carusone’s Media Matters is a progressive not-for-profit group “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”
The group has attacked all-things Fox News for years and still appears to have an issue with Kelly, despite the fact that she walked away from the network. The site recently published an article titled, “Ahead of Megyn Kelly’s NBC Sunday Night debut, here’s the Fox News commentary she wants you to forget.”
When Kelly previewed an upcoming interview with Jones last Sunday night, critics immediately expressed concern that NBC is giving the conspiracy theorist a platform. During the 97-second preview, Jones calls the attacks of Sept. 11 an “inside job,” questions the legitimacy of the shootings at Sandy Hook and says, “30 years ago, they began creating animal-human hybrids. Isn’t that the big story Megyn Kelly should be doing?”
Carusone said the clip didn’t seem like Kelly conducted a “good interview” but he won’t call for an advertiser boycott “short of her endorsing some of his conspiracy theories.” He said Media Matters has no problem with Jones having a platform as long as Kelly debunks his claims.
Carusone has only arranged boycotts of conservatives and said Jones appearing on NBC “serves as validation” to fans of “Info Wars” but “expectations would be a lot lower” if Jones were scheduled to appear on Fox News instead of NBC.
Media Matters recently posted a list of Sean Hannity’s advertisers when the Fox News host upset critics by covering a theory that former DNC staffer Seth Rich’s unsolved murder was over political reasons as opposed to a botched robbery. But the Media Matters boss claims it was not a call for a boycott.
“We posted a list of the advertisers, just for a short period of time, to make our point which was, ‘FYI media buyers, what you’re sponsoring, this guy is heading head first into a buzz saw,'” Carusone said. “We never contacted a single advertiser… when I’m contacting advertisers, they know it because people drop in response to the public pressure.”
While Carusone says he didn’t technically arrange a boycott of “Hannity,” a conservative radio host said that the Fox News star should consider suing Media Matters. Carusone said Media Matters has a criteria for launching a campaign against advertisers and Kelly’s interview with Jones “doesn’t satisfy our criteria.”
Carusone said his group approaches advertisers as a last resort after speaking with all appropriate parties and identifying a corrective measure. He said that once the criteria is met, his group would only go after advertisers if there is a “compelling” reason to do so, like, “if they could be a voice at the table to help accomplish or achieve that corrective action.”
An industry executive at a popular news organization, who did not want to be named in this article, laughed when told that Carusone said Kelly interviewing Jones doesn’t meet his criteria for a boycott but that Hannity discussing Rich did.
“Hypocrisy,” the executive told TheWrap.
NBC News did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.