The good news is that Alex Jones’s days of perpetrating hoaxes over publicly-owned airwaves are coming to a rapid end, and not soon enough.
The Daily Banter has a long history dealing with Sandy Hook Truthers, not to mention their Truther-in-chief, Alex Jones. At one point, a couple of us actually ended up getting one of these disgusting goblins tossed in prison for harassing the families of the victims as well as stealing commemorative signs from playgrounds dedicated to the 6-year-old victims of that horrible day in Newtown.
Speaking for myself, for as long as I can recall I’ve been calling out Jones as nothing more than a dangerously imaginative performance artist — a cocaine-voiced talking throat-polyp who daily exploits the naivete and paranoia of his almost-as-shitty listeners. At last check, there are around 700,000 daily visitors to his Infowars website, along with something like 80 network affiliates for his radio show (though that number has been disputed). But those numbers are shrinking.
The good news is that Alex Jones’s days of perpetrating hoaxes over publicly-owned airwaves are coming to a rapid end, and not soon enough. First of all, speaking of hoaxes, a little discussed story from last month informed us that Jones was slapped with a civil suit alleging his program violates the FCC’s rules against knowingly spreading fraud over the air.
A group called the Media Action Center is spearheading the suit, and it’s citing the following statute:
“Section 73.1217 of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1217, prohibits broadcast licensees or permittees from broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if: (1) the licensee knows this information is false; (2) it is foreseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm; and (3) broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.”
The specific hoax MAC is referencing is, of course, Jones’s Sandy Hook Truth nonsense in which the radio host has insisted that the 20 slain children were actors, thus suggesting to the families that their children were never killed and, in fact, never existed.
MAC’s case will have to get in line because six of the Sandy Hook families also filed a lawsuit against Jones, and the big late-breaking news on Friday indicates that Jones is losing this one, and in spectacular fashion.
A judge in Connecticut has granted the families’ discovery requests, allowing them access to, among other things, InfoWars’ internal marketing and financial documents.
This means the entire Infowars universe of lies and harassment could be fully exposed once and for all. But more than that, if my theory is correct, we could end up finding out if Alex Jones is receiving any Russian money in exchange for being such a valuable asset in the disruption of American democracy in the Trump era.
As a broadcaster/podcaster myself, I’m always hesitant to cheer for the FCC or other watchdog groups censoring speech that might be seen as offensive. With Alex Jones, however, I’m making a huge exception chiefly because his fiction is poisonous.
Not content to stick with real-life conspiracies (they exist), we’ve all observed countless occasions in which Jones and his minion just make shit up wholesale. And they pump these artificially manufactured turds down the gullets of their easily-deceived fanboys like foie gras ducks. The consequences are ultimately catastrophic, with entire populations of Americans believing all varieties of hooey that often leads to violence — physical or intellectual. Simply put: free speech doesn’t allow us to scream “gay juice boxes!” in a crowded theater, so to speak.
Coupled with being banned from social media and other platforms, the Alex Jones empire of crapola is rapidly drawing to a close. Sad, I know. But make no mistake: Jones did this to himself. Funny thing about free speech is that if you abuse it, the rest of us have the same right to renounce scam artists who abuse the commons to inject dangerous falsehoods into the national narrative.