Since the avoidable tragedy that was the 2016 Presidential election, Infowars founder/sentient Mel Gibson movie Alex Jones has been experiencing an increase in relevance. President Trump has lauded the web content producer’s “amazing” reputation. Infowars has received White House press credentials. Jones was the subject of a Megan Kelly interview that put his face on TV screens around the nation.
Despite a brutal, public divorce, it seems to be a good time to be Alex Jones. Which is exactly the reason why he needs to be shut down, quickly, and with extreme prejudice.
What Alex Jones puts into sociopolitical narratives is nothing short of dangerous. This is the same man who believes the Sandy Hook shooting is a hoax perpetuated by the United States government and “crisis actors,” all in the name of strict gun control. This is the same man who thinks the United States government is capable of controlling the weather for nefarious purposes. This is the same man whose claim that Hillary Clinton and other Democrats were running a child sex ring out of a pizza restaurant led 28-year-old Infowars enthusiast Edgar Maddison Welch to drive from North Carolina to D.C., armed with an AR-15, with intent to save the children he believed were being held captive there. He’s repeatedly gotten up in arms about Satanists taking over America, claimed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is on a mass eugenics mission for the New World Order, that the United States government is complicit in numerous terrorist and lone gunman attacks as a pretext for martial law, and most recently, promoted the idea that NASA has a child slave colony on Mars, which caught on to such an extent that NASA had to publicly deny the existence of said child slave colony.
In the pre-Internet days, Alex Jones would be a man with bizarre beliefs confined to a dingy upper-level apartment with white boards, scattered empty soup-in-a-cup containers, and tabloid articles taped to yellowed walls. But these days, Alex Jones is not only in the dialogue, but is apparently influential enough to add to it.
Including the President, his sons, and potentially others within the highest levels of the United States government, Infowars boasts a substantial number of visitors every month. According to Quantcast, whose entire business is measuring and analyzing web traffic and demographics for advertising, Infowars had 22.4 million page views from June 12 — July 11, 2017. That averages out to about 750,000 page views of Infowars content, daily. While we can assume not everyone who visits Infowars is there to heed the call of Messiah Jones, that figure is still high enough to be indicative of a serious problem with which the people of the United States need to desperately begin contending — the creation, consumption, and justification of “fake news.”
The President of the United States, and those closest to him, are quick to accuse long-standing, prestigious institutions of news and current events as “fake news” whenever these institutions do their job and hold the government to account. The media is, after all, the Fourth Estate. But President Trump and his ilk are also quick to champion media outlets like Infowars as genuine purveyors of information, despite repeated fact-checks that contradict the Trump Administration’s sentiments.
In the Trump Administration, legitimate media is “fake news” and fake news is legitimate media.
But is any of this enough to blacklist Alex Jones? After all, is he not protected by free speech? He is, but at the end of the day, free speech isn’t completely free. There are limits, and one of those limits is when speech becomes a clear and present danger.
If Infowars were merely contained to a dilapidated basement and a pirate radio station, Jones’ particular brand of conspiracy-juiced garbage would be an annoyance, at best. But when Infowars becomes a power player in the crippling of the nation’s ability to differentiate between what is real and what are the paranoid ramblings of a wannabe journalist, then the brand — and its moronic founder — are causing actual harm to the nation. Look no further than the story claiming Democrats were running a child sex ring out of a pizza restaurant. There was a person so moved by that horseshit that they armed themselves and nearly committed an act of domestic terrorism — all on a lie. A flagrant, bald-faced lie, promoted as a disturbing truth. Consider what life has been like for the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook, grieving over their lost children while Infowars-inspired goons batter them with accusations of crisis actors, false-flag operations, and death threats.
This is the web Alex Jones is weaving, and it’s becoming more dangerous with every strand. Infowars is a pox on American media, a festering ideological infection whose figurehead is an obscene false prophet from Texas whose life’s work is doing more keep people from reality than actually making people aware.
But I suppose with a name like Infowars, no one should be surprised by any of this.