How the right built up Alex Jones – even after his Sandy Hook comments

Comment

It’s been nearly a decade since Alex Jones made ridiculous and transparent claims that the massacre of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary was a “false flag” intended to generate support for gun control, and that families mourning their children “actors of crisis” on the “giant trickery”. Jones has now been punished for the harm caused by those lies: A Texas jury ordered him to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of one of the young victims for adding to their pain and suffering.

That the verdict took so long is one thing. That so many right-wing figures have come close to him in the meantime, despite the widespread knowledge of these comments, is another. And best of all, this should serve as a moment of judgment for the GOP as it increasingly embraces Jonesian conspiracy theories — or simply allows them to metastasize within its base.

Last week, The Post’s Timothy Bella recapped the actions of two major players in the effort to legitimize Jones: former President Donald Trump and Joe Rogan. But the effort to embed the Infowars host and entice his followers, even after his Sandy Hook comments, was far more widespread than that.

Last year, Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon called Jones “one of the smartest guys on the subject of transhumanism” and last month called him a “man of action.” ” and a great political “thinker”. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) appeared on Jones’ show in 2016. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Many times has appeared on his show, even in recent months, as the two have attempted to stoke speculation about Greene’s run for president. And in September, Ohio GOP Senate candidate JD Vance favorably compared Jones to liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, saying Jones was “a much more reliable source of information.

Vance then tempered those comments, saying it was a “sort of trolling.” The tweet remains online. The Post asked for comment on the judgment against Jones.

Indeed, Jones has often been wielded by the right more to make a point than anything else — about social media and Big Tech censorship of people like Jones, mainstream media reputation in comparison, and so on. But in the process, he was legitimized.

Leading the charge on that front was arguably Jones’ most important validator, Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Carlson in June 2021 suggested Jones might be onto something with his human engineering theories. Late last year, like Vance, he called Jones “a much better guide to reality in recent years – in other words, a much better reporter” – than a pair of prominent NBC reporters. and CBS. (He dismissed Jones’ conspiratorial excesses as mere flamboyance.) In February, he favorably compared Jones’ credibility and thoroughness to prominent coronavirus expert and State Department spokesman Ned Price: “Alex Jones lies much less and is much more credible than Ned Price.

It should be noted that the latest three comments all came after judges ruled that Jones was liable for damages in several lawsuits brought by the Sandy Hook families – including the one that resulted in the nearly $50million price tag. dollars last week.

And to be clear, there are far from the only things Jones said that might make you think. Here are some of the conspiracy theories chosen by Jones that we isolated at the end of last year:

• Claimed that the federal government had turned “weather weapons” against its citizens.

• Claimed the government had used chemicals to make people gay – and that “the majority of frogs in most parts of the United States are now gay” because of the experiments.

• Said that people would “let [Robert] Mueller rapes children in front of people, which he did,” before backtracking on the claim.

• Promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her top aides were running a satanic sex trafficking ring at a DC pizzeria, then backtracked and apologized.

• Suggested that the following were inside work and/or false flag operations: 9/11, Boston Marathon bombing, Charlottesville, assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) , the Brussels terror attack and the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando.

• Wrongly linked the Chobani yogurt company and its refugee employment to child sexual abuse and an increase in tuberculosis. (Jones later settled a libel suit brought by Chobani.)

• Was prosecuted after Infowars falsely identified the shooter in the Parkland Massacre.

Whatever one thinks of Maddow or any other figure compared to Jones above, there is simply no comparison.

As this lawsuit has progressed in recent months, Carlson has used Jones in a slightly different way, accusing critics of his own conspiracy theories of treating him like they do Jones. “Oh, does that sound paranoid to you?” Alex Jones stuff? Carlson said in a gun segment in June. “What are you, Alex Jones?” No,” he said on July 19 in a segment on replacement theory. “It’s an Alex Jones thing,” he said, mocking his critics during a segment on climate change a day later.

While Vance and Carlson seem to want to create at least some separation between themselves and what Jones actually said, a prominent Republican has more explicitly disavowed Jones.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) appeared on Jones’ show before deciding he wouldn’t do it again in 2018, after another massacre of school children in his home state. Gaetz said “the things that Alex Jones has said and done are so hurtful to so many people that a member of Congress should not honor that platform and legitimize it, and I would not back down.”

And yet, many legitimized Jones.

Virtually no one is defending Jones now except for Greene, who claimed last weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that Jones was being persecuted.

“He didn’t build his Infowars on it. [Sandy Hook claim]“, dared Greene. “He built it on a lot of other news. And Alex Jones was right pretty much most of the time.”

She added: “Alex Jones got it right most of the time, except of course on Sandy Hook.”

To say someone is “most of the time right” is perhaps the definition of condemnation with low praise – especially for a supposed journalist. And there’s no denying that what made Jones popular with a segment of the far right is precisely the kinds of things he said about Sandy Hook.

That Greene is the first (and perhaps the only?) to come to Jones’ defense is not surprising; she has proven to be Congress’s most willing vehicle for these same types of conspiracy theories. But the comments at issue here have been part of the public record for a very long time — and efforts to treat Jones as legitimate have continued apace.

Maybe some Republicans are really this concerned about censorship or think the Sandy Hook stuff was just overzealous flamboyance from someone who is mostly an artist. But our justice system has now discovered that it was much more than that: these lies were so damaging to the grieving parents of deceased children that they warranted a massive judgment against Jones.

Yet for some of the nation’s most prominent conservatives, those lies about murdered children were seemingly a pittance.




Washington

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button