The fall of Alex Jones: The blow of US justice to the “king of conspiracy theories”

If you put together a list of the most atrocious events related to attacks and weapons in the US, you will probably find an answer for all of them based on a conspiracy theory by Alex Jones. His aggressive profile, added to a fanatic who buys his salvation products, earned him an audience of millions of people and a wallet of similar numbers.

Through his broadcast program, the so-called “king of conspiracy theories” accused Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of being demons that “smell of brimstone”; he said that the US government puts out chemicals to turn people into homosexuals, or that George W. Bush was behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

But the lie he had been spreading nearly a decade ago about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut brought him to justice. This terrible event, where 20 children and six teachers lost their lives in a shooting in 2012, was a lie, according to Jones.

On August 4, a Texas jury ordered him to pay relatives of the victims $4 million in compensatory damages and another $45.2 million in punitive damages, pending further lawsuits filed by relatives. Prior to the verdict, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble must have said something that, in the context of a statement under oath, is assumed to be logical. But with Jones, it had to be repeated. “It seems absurd to instruct her again that she must tell the truth when she testifies, but here I am: she must tell the truth while she testifies,” she explained. “This is not his program.”

The Texan communicator outside the courthouse that convicted him. Photo: Reuters

In that last session, Jones admitted that what happened at the school was “100% real.” How was it that this communicator amassed his fame and fortune based on conspiracies, even managing the invasion of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and being validated by former United States President Donald Trump?

Alexander Emerick Jones (48) was born in February 1974. Dallas is his hometown, the third largest city in Texas, and from a young age he showed an interest in stories. in the documentary Alex’s War, released last July, detailed that he was a voracious reader of comics and science fiction stories as a child. One of the books that marked him was None Dare Call it Conspiracy (No One Dare Call It a Conspiracy), by Gary Allen.

As a prominent member of the John Birch Society, a far-right organization known for spreading conspiracy theories, Allen claimed that a group of businessmen, all communists and socialists, were secretly seeking to control the world, which may have inspired his passion for these stories.

His break into communications came in the 1990s, when he entered public access broadcasting in Austin, Texas, and began spreading conspiracy theories. His favorites at the time were the Siege of Waco in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

The first occurred when police were fired upon by a cult accused of child abuse. Four officers and 82 group members were killed. The largest terrorist attack prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred in Oklahoma, which was carried out in retaliation for the Waco raid, said its author, the terrorist Timothy McVeigh. An explosion in the city center killed 168 people and left 680 injured.

Both facts had a common factor, commented Jones. They were related to the government. “I understood that there is a kleptocracy that works with psychopathic governments, claws of evil that know the tricks of control,” he said on the occasion, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

The difficulty of the radio to find sponsors after they heard Alex Jones’s theories made it impossible for him to stay on the signal, so he had to leave. He was running in 1999 and the rise of the internet led him to found InfoWars, cradle and home of all manner of Texan-backed conspiracies. Broadcast from a spare room in his house, he sold the show to nearly 100 FM and AM stations in the United States.

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Image from the show hosted by Jones, InfoWars.

His first claim to fame came from probably one of the worst memories of American society: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. After the fall of the Twin Towers, Jones wasted no time and ensured that the administration of the then President George W. Bush was behind. From then on, the list of shootings and murders that the communicator relates to the government did not stop growing.

The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2017 Charlottesville hit-and-run, the 2016 Pulse gay nightclub massacre in Orlando, and the list goes on. They were all part of a plan to take away weapons from American citizens, he frequently cries out.

But perhaps the key to understanding the character is not in the theories, but in the solutions that he delivers. The fluoride in the water is part of an evil project, so Jones sells Superblue fluoride-free toothpaste for $11.95 a piece. Humans need more iodine, so the grocery store InfoWars offers the Life Survival Shield X-2 for $29.95.

eBay user reviews are telling. User Nonyabidnesswatmynameiz gave it 5 stars, saying “I was taking kelp iodine supplement pills and felt like it wouldn’t hurt to try Alex’s iodine for a change because I read online that you can take up to 1,100 micrograms of iodine per day. and I thought ‘650 is not going to hurt’. I heard on your podcast that it takes five or six days to work, so I hope to see results by then.”

The influence of his medium of diffusion was massive. For 2017, InfoWars It registered nearly 10 million monthly visits, far exceeding that of international media of world prestige.

Alex Jones interviews Donald Trump at InfoWars, in December 2015. Photo: YouTube

“Surprisingly, the taste is not that bad. I like it. It’s a strong sweet taste! But don’t take more than the regular dose (one drop) or you’ll end up with iodine poisoning. 1 drop = 650 micrograms of iodine compared to the maximum intake of 1,100, concluded the complex name user’s review on eBay.

Another user named cpappa27 agreed. “I can go so far as to say that my life changed after taking these things. I lost body fat, and increased mental clarity, sky-high energy. Humans are severely deficient in iodine and cannot get enough of it in food. The suggested dose is much more than what the FDA suggests, but do your own research”, he closes.

According to a forensic economist hired for Jones’s trial for his Sandy Hook remarks, the parent company of InfoWars He collected 64 million dollars from the sale of food supplements and alleged survival, according to local media reports. The net worth of his fortune combined with that of the company would be between $135 million and $270 million.

Alex Jones’s influence grew almost as explosively as Donald Trump’s did in American politics. In fact, the intersection between the rise of both figures occurred in similar periods. Dutch political scientist and expert on political extremism and populism, Cas Mudde, told Third that “conspiracy theories are not limited to extremist political actors and ideologies, but tend to be more central to them.”

It was in 2015 that the Jones show gained a fan base and a very special regular guest. Trump, who would later become a GOP-backed presidential candidate, told Jones that he had “an incredible reputation. I will not let you down,” CNBC rescued.

Then came the direct political lies. They questioned Obama’s nationality, stating that he was an infiltrated agent of Islam; falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton and other members of the Democratic Party ran a child sex trafficking ring from a pizzeria in Washington, among others. It was this last theory, known as Pizzagate, that could have ended in tragedy.

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Alex Jones speaks to supporters of Donald Trump as they protest in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 6, 2020. Photo: AFP

Days after Jones urged his followers to investigate the theory, a fan who listened to the show on the radio told The New York Times that he wanted to fulfill the communicator’s mandate. He entered the pizzeria and fired a rifle where, fortunately, no one was killed. The communicator dodged the lawsuit by taking down all the information on the site and publicly apologizing.

Years later, when then-President Trump refused to recognize Joe Biden’s victory and called on his supporters to go to Capitol Hill in January 2021 and “be there” because “it’s going to be wild!” Jones would again play a role. “This is the most important call to action on national soil since Paul Revere and his walk in 1776, said the communicator on December 19, 2020, referring to the patriot of the War of Independence.

The House committee investigating the Capitol attack revealed that it was Jones who was responsible for raising at least $650,000 to finance the rally, where $200,000 was deposited into one of his accounts. Politics and conspiracy theories clearly came together.

“It is clear that conspiracy theories, from Obama being a secret Muslim to the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, have become central ideas of the broad ‘conservative’ camp in the United States. Not only do they dominate the discourse, but they are increasingly used to inform policies,” Mudde explained to this medium. “When the Republican Party returns to power, we have to expect not only radical discourse, but also policies based on and justified by conspiracy theories,” he added.

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Neil Heslin, father of one of the child victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, breaks down during his speech at the Jones trial. Photo: Reuters

Days ago, a Texas judge told Jones that “he believes that everything he says is true, but it is not. Your beliefs do not make something true. That’s what we’re doing here.” The first of the trials of relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre forced him to pay a millionaire sum for his lies. The parents claimed to be harassed by his followers through calls or confrontations.

Not many hours had passed since the shooting, back in 2012, when the communicator began his crusade by assuring that it was a “false flag”, that the parents were “actors” and that no minor had died. It was all a plan “designed to take away weapons” from citizens. “My son existed,” was what the mother of one of the minors said through tears at the trial. It was necessary to go to court to clarify that the father had to hold the bloody head of his son, and that no, he was not a paid actor.

The fall of Alex Jones: The blow of US justice to the “king of conspiracy theories” – La Tercera