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How Alex Jones is preparing his base for the Megyn Kelly interview

Infowars host Alex Jones goes after Megyn Kelly. (Video: Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Whether NBC airs his interview with Megyn Kelly on Sunday or not, Alex Jones will find a way to claim victory. If it is canceled, he can point to his statement on Monday night calling for exactly that outcome. If it airs, Jones has repeatedly teased that he intends to release his own taped version of Kelly’s interview with him, so that he and his followers can dissect the NBC segment for the signs of wrongdoing that Jones is furiously preparing his audience to expect.

In the YouTube video “Alex Jones Warns Megyn Kelly, Exposes Psychological Warfare Operation,” Jones tells his viewers that NBC fell into a “trap” when they came to Texas to interview him. “Even told them they were,” he added.

“This is their big gamble, this is their big take Alex Jones down. This is pathetic. The only way I could fail was not doing it,” he said. “Letting them rig it, letting them interview me for four hours to edit it together, and then be able to show people what was really said.”

How Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, got Donald Trump’s ear

Jones, and a lot of the pro-Trump internet personalities who have gained followings along with him have one tactic that keeps working — as far as their followers are concerned — when it comes to dealing with their nemeses. It is, essentially, to invert. If the mainstream media calls them “fake news,” then the solution is to relentlessly use the term “fake news” to describe the mainstream media. In the hours that Jones has spent preparing his devoted fans for Kelly’s interview, he’s worked to make sure they view it not as Kelly interviewing Jones about the conspiracy theories he promotes, but instead as a brilliant move by Jones himself in a game of six-dimensional chess against the media.

Kelly tweeted out a short preview of the interview on Sunday night, a week before it’s set to air. Since then, Jones’s YouTube channel has published at least seven videos criticizing it in advance, and Kelly personally. In one, Jones showed a clip from the Medusa battle in Clash of the Titans, repeatedly comparing Kelly to the Gorgon and himself to Perseus, the Greek hero who beheads her.

In Jones’s telling, this was all part of the plan. “I went into the Gorgon’s lair. I went into Medusa’s palace. And I engaged her on her terms. I let her be here from 9:30 in the morning … until almost 11 at night. I let her have her way because I knew it’d be rigged. I knew she was lying,” he said.

“I win by going in to the Gorgon’s pit. I survived.”

The interview in question, set to air on Sunday, was always going to be controversial, both for Jones’s mainstream media-loathing fans and everyone else. Based on the preview, Jones appears to be preparing to “prove” that Kelly isn’t telling the truth by focusing on how the interview addresses’s Jones’s views on Sandy Hook. While Jones now says that he believes children died at Sandy Hook, he has used his platform in the past to repeatedly raise questions about whether the massacre happened at all. He still maintains that there are “anomalies” about the 2012 shooting that left 20 children and six adult victims dead.

Jones has used his changing public position on Sandy Hook to accuse journalists who bring up, say, that he once said he believed Sandy Hook was “completely fake with actors” of lying in order to try and take him down. One of the several videos Jones has released about Kelly in the past few days is called “What Alex Jones REALLY Believes About Sandy Hook,” presumably an attempt to pre-empt whatever the NBC segment shows about his views.

“They want to demonize new media,” Jones said in the video, using his favored term for the pro-Trump media, “by misrepresenting what we say and do. They want to come in and start censoring new media and the Internet. and they’re using as the poster child for it. If they’re able to do it to us, they can do it to you.”

With Trump, a self-declared fan of Jones’s work, running the country, Jones and his fans have come to expect great things from themselves, because they believe they have already accomplished great things. “Have you seen what we’ve done, how talk radio now sounds just like me?” Jones said in one video about Kelly, “Have you seen how the president sounds just like me? Have you seen how Steven Bannon sounds just like me?”

When a major outlet makes an ineffective play to hold Jones accountable, it helps to bolster that feeling of invincibility. If NBC can’t take Jones down, the implication goes, who can? “Alex Jones is demonized because he has original thought,” Infowars Owen Shroyer said in another segment about the Megyn Kelly interview, posted on Wednesday to Jones’s YouTube channel. “They rig everything in the fake news, that’s why they hate Alex Jones. Because he’s real.”

This is, essentially, the inversion Jones is trying to promote: if the mainstream media says it’s reporting on you, you simply decide that it is actually you who is reporting on them, instead. When Mike Cernovich did an interview on “fake news” with “60 Minutes,” that’s pretty much how he described the approach he took. Scott Pelley wasn’t prepared for it, and Cernovich turned Pelley’s questions about his belief in and promotion of debunked a conspiracy theory about Clinton’s health into a viral moment for his fans.

How Mike Cernovich’s influence moved from the Internet fringes to the White House

Cernovich declared victory in a pair of Periscope live videos about the interview and bragged about the ratings “60 Minutes” garnered for the week. Cernovich’s own tweet about Jones’s upcoming interview contained another inversion. It is the media who should be grateful to Jones for the exposure, and not the other way around:

The fact is, we don’t know right now whether Kelly’s interview will be more like Pelley’s one-on-one with Cernovich, or whether she will fare better. The Kelly interview, if it airs, is still days away from being seen by the public. Jones and his biggest fans are already prepared to believe that Infowars has won.

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