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Alex Jones: King of Conspiracy, Master of Grift

I've spent half a century writing for radio and print (mostly print). I hope to still be tapping the keys as I take my last breath.

Dangerous Conspiracy Claims

Alex Jones has a syndicated radio show, appropriately named the Alex Jones Show, that is run out of Austin, Texas. His Infowars brand is said to garner an audience of 10 million a month.

The internet tracking service Quantcast ranked Infowars as the 168th biggest website in the world, before it was banned for peddling fake news—joining Apple, Facebook, Spotify, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube that have also blacklisted him.

There is no conspiracy theory, no matter how outlandish, that he doesn’t love and promote. Let’s see: President Barack Obama is the head of al-Qaeda. Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show was part of a Satanist ritual. Shape-shifting lizard people from another planet control events on Earth. And, of course, COVID-19 is some sort of gigantic government plot against people.

Sandy Hook False Flag Claims

One of Jones's most revolting rants involved claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings didn’t happen. He said that none of the 26 people, including 20 children, actually died in the 2012 gun attack. Jones claimed it was all an elaborate false flag performance put on by government actors with the goal of using the atrocity as a pretext for gun control.

Jones's demented followers piled on and began harassing the grieving parents with vile phone calls and emails. One of the grieving parents, Mark Barden, described hearing how some followers of Jones were planning to visit his son Daniel's grave and "urinating on it and threatening to dig it up."

Some of the families sued Jones and Infowars for defamation and infliction of emotional distress; the court found Jones guilty and said he must pay compensatory damages of $965 million.

He was also required to make a statement to the effect that his claims were false. He blamed his misinformation on some sort of psychosis.

Alex Jones's Swindles

Facing having to pay almost $1 billion to the people he wronged, Jones has fallen back on the claim that he is virtually bankrupt. His actual financial situation is cloaked in secrecy, but an economist at an earlier trial in Texas estimated his net worth is between $135 million and $270 million, certainly far short of the judgment against him.

Broadcasting his inflammatory rhetoric generates little of his income, but it draws in an audience that's receptive to his snake-oil pitches for nutritional supplements. New York magazine reports:

“Since late 2013, Jones has been pushing a collection of dietary supplements designed to prey on the paranoias and insecurities of his listeners: Infowars Life Silver Bullet Colloidal Silver. Infowars Life Brain Force Plus. Infowars Life Super Male Vitality. Infowars Life Liver Shield.”

It's a brilliant business plan, while at the same time devious. Jones attracts an audience gullible enough to believe a secretive group of "globalists" (believed by many to be a code for Jews) is intent on creating a New World Order.

The infallible logic here: if listeners are stupid enough to swallow the daft conspiracy theories being peddled, then they also stupid enough to buy Infowars Life Super Male Vitality drops—nudge, nudge, wink, wink—at $59.95 for two ounces.

Jones holds fundraising drives similar to those of public broadcasting, but based on the hook that money is sent to him so he can continue to fight for free speech. And, there's merchandise in the form of T-shirts, videos, and other Jones paraphernalia.

It seems there are plenty of people who were ready to cough up $50 so he could continue to scream his vengeful rants at the distraught parents of the Sandy Hook toddlers. Perversely, he made money out of that diabolical tragedy.

When he started shouting “false flag,” “fake news,” and “government conspiracy,” his audience numbers spiked, attracting more rubes ready to buy Infowars DNA Force Plus on special right now at half price, $74.95 for 120 capsules.

One World Government

Jones calls himself a truth seeker and one of his central themes is that a secret society of generals, politicians, bankers, and corporate leaders are plotting to take over the world.

He refers to the “global Stasi Borg state,” thereby improbably rolling the real former secret police of East Germany into the fictional cybernetic collective of Star Trek fame.

Naturally, he’s a 9/11 Truther; he is one of the early adopters. He knows for certain that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were plotted and carried out by the U.S. government. The aim being to use the attacks as an excuse to impose martial law. The fact that martial law was not imposed does not diminish his faith in his assertion.

However, in the strange subculture Jones inhabits, these beliefs are fairly mainstream. A bit more on the edge is his claim that wi-fi has been weaponized to control people’s thoughts. But wait, there’s more—Wi-fi is now being used to manipulate the DNA of people.

Put on you tinfoil hats folks because the bad guys are using electromagnetic waves to control your mind.

Put on you tinfoil hats folks because the bad guys are using electromagnetic waves to control your mind.

Population Control

Bet you didn’t know that when you send young Sammy off to school with a juice box in his lunch, you are unwittingly helping to turn him into a homosexual. We have to thank Alex Jones for unmasking this dastardly plot; he says that estrogen is put into bags of potato chips, juice boxes, and water bottles to feminize men.

It’s all part of a hideous plan to reduce the population to make it easier for some mysterious globalists to take over the planet.

Watch out Sammy, you might be drinking poison.

Watch out Sammy, you might be drinking poison.

Jones has more sinister schemes than birth-control-through-homosexuality to expose. The U.S. government, he says, has plans for the controlled release of bubonic plague. He also sees the potential for a “government-lab-produced airborne Ebola.”

COVID-19 has been a gift for Jones. He screams to his followers that “global powers planned and executed the worldwide pandemic with the ultimate goal of releasing a vaccine that gives much of the earth’s population severe brain damage” (mediamatters.org). Then he swings into the baseless claim that the vaccine causes infertility.

Fluoride in the water, radioactive isotopes, and toxins in food are part of the project to cut the population as well.

He told New York Magazine that the evil cabal that aims to control the world has the dream of “creating a super bioweapon, basically based on a mouse pox, and just turn it loose and kill almost everybody. It kills about 99 percent of whatever mammal you design it for. It’s their Valhalla, and they’re going to do it.”

Business elites, it seems, are conspiring to reduce the world’s population by “a staggering 95 percent.” In his 2007 movie ENDGAME, Jones notes that “For thousands of years their dark order grew. Now with the aid of advance technology the elite of the planet may be able to live forever. But first, 80 percent of humanity must die.”

Okay, so he’s a bit wobbly on the actual body count, but solid, documented facts rarely intrude on the Jones narrative. He doesn't explain why the corporate world would want to kill off almost all its customers.

Jones Goes Ballistic on British TV

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Only Mr. Jones knows if he actually believes the malarkey he’s peddling or if he’s found a way of making a living by saying outrageous things. But surely, it would take some special kind of creep to knowingly lie about the extreme tragedy of Sandy Hook in order to make money.

His popularity and reach did not happen by accident.

In the past, his loopy ideas would have been disseminated slowly through pamphlets, books, and speeches to a few dozen zealots. The internet amplifies his message so that he can hustle his theories to millions in an instant.

He has brought the bombast of pro wrestling into the world of political commentary. The demographic that supports him seems to be the same one that turns up to watch Rusev and Stardust throw furniture at each other in the wrestling ring.

Unlike the people who buy the snake oil he’s selling, he seems to be quite a bright guy. However, from time to time, he has a meltdown and screams incoherently to give the impression he’s barking bonkers, although this may be part of the act to show he’s authentic and draw his audience deeper into his web of outrage.

His followers are frightened. They’ve been through the Great Recession and have not climbed back to where they were before the bankers blew everything up. They see barbarians at the gates in the form of crazed terrorists eager to slit their throats as they lie in their beds.

And Jones is there to sell them overpriced survivalist gear to protect them when the Apocalypse arrives.

Alex Jones and the Republican Party

Some in the Republican Party see Jones as a conduit to the somewhat primitive and impressionable minds that can swing an election their way.

In December 2015, Donald Trump appeared on Jones’s show for a mutual love fest. The host fawned on the presidential candidate, who responded in kind: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.” And he didn’t.

Trump said there were the thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering at the collapse of the World Trade Center. He claimed that millions of undocumented immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Jones bragged to Rolling Stone that “It is surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later. It is amazing.”

But then his champion lost the presidency in November 2020, so of course, Jones has gone all-in on the conspiracy claim that the election was stolen. CNN reports that “Alex Jones helped jumpstart the organization efforts that eventually materialized into the 'Stop the Steal' rally on January 6, according to the grassroots organizer who filed the permits.”

Then he exhorted his followers to turn up in Washington on January 6, 2021. So he bears more than a little responsibility for what happened.

Bonus Factoids

  • Donald Trump likes to ramp up the scale of threat caused by terrorists. But here’s a reality check courtesy of international affairs writer Gwynne Dyer: “An average (including the San Bernadino deaths) of two people per year [are] killed in the United States by Muslim terrorists . . . Americans are 170 times more likely to drown in the bath than be killed by Islamist terrorists.” Perhaps Mr. Trump would serve his nation better by organizing a ban on the importation of bathtubs.
  • “ . . . as Trump pushes full steam ahead on his effort to delegitimize U.S. journalism, he is lending credence to a number of out-there Jonesisms, adding yet another 'pinch yourself, this is happening' element to our national journey into the upside-down.” Jim Rutenberg, New York Times, February 21, 2017.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Rupert Taylor