The Weekly World News has nothing on Infowars | Image: Weekly World News
Tim Murphy has an article up today in Mother Jones about the strangest of Trump campaign bedfellows, the conspiracy-theory-peddler Alex Jones and his fearmongering site Infowars. I don’t like linking to it. It doesn’t deserve the traffic. But it’s easy enough to find if you want to go down that rabbit hole. I did. I wish I hadn’t.
Infowars is a cesspool of racism, sexism, and instigation of fear. It’s so full of reasons straight white men should be afraid of things, it’s like watching this year’s Republican National Convention look in a mirror and call itself sexy. Here’s a sampling of today’s “headlines,” just for reference:
- Russia tells citizens ‘nuclear war with the west could happen soon’
- Fears new ‘birth of a nation’ film could incite racial attacks against whites
- Exclusive: the truth about Bill Clinton’s abandoned black son banished by Hillary
- Pieczenik: Clintons behind deaths of 10,000 Haitians
Weekly World News, eat your heart out.
There’s only one message, and it’s one Rudy Giuliani seems very familiar with: “The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe.” Or at least, they shouldn’t. That’s the message. Along with “fear the coming new-world-order,” or something.
Because here’s the thing: nobody should believe anything that comes off Infowars. Not without independent verification from a source that isn’t the Drudge Report or Fox News, anyway. Alex Jones is a dedicated conspiracy theorist. I’m surprised he doesn’t show up on the “History” Channel’s Ancient Aliens show.
Alex Jones promotes ideas that any rational person would decry as utter lunacy. Rationalwiki.org calls him “one of the very few people who can make Glenn Beck look comparatively sane.” He’s pushed the idea that 9/11 was an “inside job,” and that building seven “was taken down by controlled demolition,” because “CNN and BBC announced it would fall in its own footprint 25 minutes before it fell.” He thinks chemtrails are a real thing. He thinks “anthropogenic global warming has been proven to be based on fraudulent research” and that “it’s a giant tax scheme.” He thinks that FEMA was trying to take over New Orleans and that “FEMA camps” are a real thing. He believes in “crisis actors” and that nobody died at Sandy Hook. He thinks the US government has weather weapons that can steer tornadoes and hurricanes. He literally said Obama is The Devil, like, the actual devil from (a muddled understanding of) Christian mythology. That is a direct quote: “Bezelbub, Baphomet, Leviathan, The Devil. He is The Devil. Barack Obama is The Devil.” I mean at this point I can’t honestly tell if he’s genuinely insane or just an intensely gifted actor portraying someone trying to grip reality with Teflon gloves. But either way, it means the same thing:
Alex Jones is not a man whose words regularly overlap with the truth. He should not be trusted as a news source.
And yet his tinfoil-hat theories pervade the Trump-supporting crowds: the idea that Hillary Clinton has some neurodegenerative disorder? That’s his idea. It’s not true for plenty of reasons. That “Hillary for Prison” meme? Yeah, that was Alex Jones, too, because he’s a proponent of the idea that the Clintons are a part of a “new world order” and have people who disagree with them murdered. Like Scalia.
It’s hard to believe that anybody would read his site and come away thinking it was reliable, but then, when the presumptive nominee for your party was a prominent proponent of the idea that President Obama wasn’t born in the US? Well, maybe it’s not so surprising after all.
I don’t know what to tell you, except that if Alex Jones says something (rather like Trump himself), it’s pretty likely to be the opposite of fact. You can read about the Trump-Infowars connection over at Mother Jones. You can read about Alex Jones over at rationalwiki.
Update: Reader Eric points out that another interesting fact about Alex Jones is that, and I quote, “HE KNOWS ABOUT THE FISH PEOPLE.” See below:
I should’ve saved this for a Monday post.
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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.