Citizen Action Monitor

How trafficker in outrageous lies, Alex Jones, built an online platform of millions of followers

Trump tapped into this tailor-made massive audience, and parroted Jones’ extremist rubbish to victory in 2016.

No 2649 Posted by fw, August 3, 2020 —

 

“As 2015 drew to a close, then-candidate Donald Trump made an appearance that was unprecedented in the history of modern presidential campaigns. It was on InfoWars, the hard-right outlet run by extremist conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a trafficker in false information who had exploited national tragedies from 9/11 to Newtown. And it was brokered by Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone, a frequent InfoWars guest, in a bid to win over Jones’ millions of viewers. ‘Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down,’ Trump told Jones, who for years had been pushing a message that ‘elites’ and ‘globalists’ are part of a secret conspiracy that controls the world. ‘You will be very — very impressed, I hope.’ A new FRONTLINE documentary traces how the alliance between Jones and Trump, facilitated by [Roger] Stone, would help to bring conspiracy theorist thought into the political mainstream — ushering in the current era, in which misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic has spread like the virus itself.”Frontline

Reposted below is the slightly edited text from a short Frontline piece released as a spin-off along with its featured, one-hour video documentary, United States of Conspiracy.

Frontline repeatedly refers to the extremist Alex Jones as a conspiracy “theorist.” Personally, I think that label is an insult to legitimate ‘theorists’ in all fields of endeavour. I suggest that the term ‘bullshitter’, comes so much closer to the mark in defining the likes of Alex Jones. [By the way, although finally kicked off of Frontline, Google and Twitter, Jones is still polluting the internet at this site — https://www.infowars.com/ ]

The text of Frontline’s short spin-off piece, reposted below with my added images, also includes a 1:57-minute video of threaded clips taken from its one-hour documentary. Unfortunately Frontline does not include this clip on its You Tube site, so it is not embedded as part of this repost — However the clip is included with Frontline’s original short article, the hyperlinked title of which appears below.

In place of Frontline’s 1:57-minute video clip, I have substituted a 3:00-minute video titled 11 Times Donald Trump Sounded A Lot Like Alex Jones. This video, with text, appears at the bottom of my repost.

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Alex Jones and Donald Trump: How the Candidate Echoed the Conspiracy Theorist on the Campaign Trail  by Frontline, July 28, 2020

As 2015 drew to a close, then-candidate Donald Trump made an appearance that was unprecedented in the history of modern presidential campaigns.

It was on InfoWars, the hard-right outlet run by extremist conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a trafficker in false information who had exploited national tragedies from 9/11 to Newtown. And it was brokered by Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone, a frequent InfoWars guest, in a bid to win over Jones’ millions of viewers.

Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down,” Trump told Jones, who for years had been pushing a message that “elites” and “globalists” are part of a secret conspiracy that controls the world. “You will be very — very impressed, I hope.

A new FRONTLINE documentary traces how the alliance between Jones and Trump, facilitated by Stone, would help to bring conspiracy theorist thought into the political mainstream — ushering in the current era, in which misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic has spread like the virus itself.

That documentary, United States of Conspiracy, includes a striking sequence that illustrates how Trump adopted Jones’ claims — voicing them publicly in a way that shocked even InfoWars staffers as he ran for the highest office in the land. 

Rob Jacobson

I mean, sometimes it was, like, verbatim — like, really Trump, really? You’re taking his word for it?” former InfoWars staffer Rob Jacobson says.

With Eyes Wide Shut, Trump piles on the lies

Embedded at the top of this story, the sequence juxtaposes clips of Jones sharing false and conspiratorial claims about then-President Barack Obama, Senator Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton with Trump making strikingly similar claims at rallies and in interviews.

The presidential candidate’s echoing of Jones on the campaign trail was a significant development in the mainstreaming of conspiracy theorist thought. And it stunned author Jon Ronson, a renowned expert on extremism who has been following Jones for 20 years.

The big shock was Alex having the ear of a president-to-be,” Ronson says in the excerpt. “Of all the people I’ve interviewed over 35 years, I can think of a lot of people I would rather have the presidency than Alex Jones. It’s a bit of a shame that one of the most spiraling people I’ve ever met is the one who is influencing Trump.”

Nancy Rosenblum

Conspiracism has become a recognized and accepted way of exercising political power. It creates a polarization in the population that’s much deeper than partisan polarization — it’s a polarization about what it means to know something,” Nancy Rosenblum, co-author of A Lot of People Are Saying, says in the film. “I think it’s likely to spread across the political spectrum. And whether it returns to the fringes or not I think will depend on whether people in office can resist using it.

SUBSTITUTE VIDEO & Accompanying text

11 Times Donald Trump Sounded A Lot Like Alex Jones, by Vice News/You Tube, March 10, 2018 (3:00 min) — The video below shows 11 uncanny overlaps between statements made by Jones and by Trump. As Jones himself said in August, “It is surreal to talk about issues, here on air, and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later.” Alex Jones, radio host and founder of InfoWars.com, is known for promoting conspiracy theories. He has called 9/11 an inside job, suggested the Sandy Hook and Pulse Nightclub shootings were “false flag” attacks, and said Hillary Clinton is a “demon” and an “inter-dimensional invader.” Jones and InfoWars have an audience of more than 6.5 million a month, including the United States’ next president. Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump, Jr., have both shared articles from InfoWars, and Trump Sr. was a guest on Jones’s show in 2015, where he complimented Jones’s “amazing” reputation. Trump reportedly called Jones to thank him for his support after the election. Both Jones and Trump subscribe to many of the same fringe theories, for example that President Obama wears a secret “Muslim ring,” that Clinton took performance-enhancing drugs during the debates, and that Trump won the popular vote. While it’s impossible to say how much direct influence Jones has on Trump, the president-elect often raises certain conspiracy theories after they are disseminated by Jones and his fans.

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