January 14, 2013

On Sunday’s “Reliable Sources,” conservative commentator Robert Costa criticizes CNN’s decision to put radio talk-show host Alex Jones on Piers Morgan’s show last week. The gripe? It was “irresponsible” to portray Jones, who believes in 9/11 conspiracy theories, as a representative of conservative views on gun control. Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro floated a similar sentiment on Morgan’s show the other night, requesting that he not be lumped in with Jones.

The conservative effort to establish distance from Jones drew some dissenting voices on “Reliable Sources.”

Host Howard Kurtz said CNN did no such thing as Costa suggested.

Guest Paul Farhi of The Washington Post said that Jones’s views and those of the National Rifle Association (NRA) match up pretty closely. “Listen to his rhetoric — it’s very much like the NRA’s,” said Farhi.

Guest Keli Goff said that “conservatives can’t have it both ways.” That is, “if they want to reach an audience, they’re not ashamed to have Alex Jones have a link and link out to their sites. They then can’t turn around and say, ‘He’s totally a nutjob and doesn’t represent us,’ ” said Goff.

Something we all can agree on: Alex Jones represents a brilliant booking move by CNN.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.