Dear Megyn Kelly:
I’m a mom of five kids; you’re a mom of three. We may sit on different sides of the political aisle at times; we may disagree on certain aspects of the gun debate; but I know we agree on one thing: We hold our children’s safety dearer than anything on Earth.
We also haven’t had children stolen by gun violence, like so many other parents in America. Just one year ago today, the families of the 49 men and women killed at the Pulse nightclub shooting learned the horrific news that their children were shot to death by a gunman who had expressed hatred toward the LGBTQ community. They were not the first parents to lose their children to gun violence, and they won't be the last.
Right after that horrific mass shooting — the worst in modern American history — a man named Alex Jones called the Pulse nightclub shooting a hoax. Shockingly, this coming weekend, on Father’s Day, no less, you’re planning to air an interview with him.
Alex Jones is an infamous liar who makes a living preying on the pain of others. He has said the bombings in Oklahoma City and at the Boston Marathon didn’t happen. He said the shootings in Newtown, CT, Orlando, FL, and Aurora, CO, aren’t real, and the victims’ families are actors. He's said 9/11 was a false flag.
His words have consequences. Alex Jones’s followers harass the families of mass shooting victims online and in-person. Alex Jones himself showed up at a Moms Demand Action event in Texas to harass the parents of shooting victims. It’s gotten so bad that a woman harassing Sandy Hook families was recently jailed.
Let’s not forget that after Alex Jones accused Hillary Clinton of running a bizarre, nefarious operation out of a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., a man showed up at the restaurant with an AR-15.
You said in a tweet about your interview that you have an obligation to shine a light on Alex Jones. I want to explain — mom to mom — why that is abjectly wrong and unethical.
As a journalist, it is incumbent on you to report the facts — and to look at all sides of the issues affecting our country today. As an American, you have an obligation to ensure your audience isn’t misled by the opinions of a madman. As a mom, you must take care that your actions don’t cause additional suffering to grieving parents who already have a load too big to bear.
Alex Jones has been in the spotlight for far too long. It’s time to turn that light off and let him crawl back under the refrigerator. Go back to what you do best: hard-hitting, factual interviews that inspire us to do better. To be better.
And you can start by interviewing the families affected by the national tragedies Alex Jones has tried so hard to twist and profit from.
On Father’s Day, I’ll be celebrating with my family and remembering to honor the families for whom holidays like Father’s Day are excruciating. I won’t be watching your interview. And on behalf of the fathers who are missing a child and children who are missing fathers due to senseless and preventable gun violence, I ask every American to follow my lead.
Shannon Watts is a mom of five children and the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She lives in Colorado. The views expressed here are her own.