America’s Blackbeard Faces a Reckoning

Published: April 3, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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Take a look at this video clip from CNN’s Smerconish (Mar. 30), which shows Alex Jones’ latest rationalization for falsely claiming that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings were a hoax perpetrated by government “gun grabbers.”

In a defamation suit brought by Sand Hook parents, Jones said, “I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged. … as a pundit… my opinions have been wrong, but they were never wrong consciously to hurt people.”

This is what it looks like when you’re finally caught with the goods; when you’ve tried everything else, except the truth, and now want to see if this latest con – the “woe is me” defense – will stick to the walls of your already shaky legal arguments.

“…this is punditry,” Jones describes, “because I wear a journalist hat, punditry hat, satire hat…”

You forgot pirate hat, Alex!

On his InfoWars website, Jones has shown himself to be every bit as fierce and fiery as England’s notorious Blackbeard. Using fear as a weapon, the 18th century pirate relentlessly terrorized the American colonies up and down the Eastern coast. Jones is a modern-day equivalent.

Among his numerous acts of info-piracy, Jones claims the federal government was behind the 9/11 attacks, Oklahoma City bombing, the Boston Marathon attack, the Aurora, Colorado theater shootings, and yes, he also opposes vaccinations.

“…when I was covering Sandy Hook,” Jones adds in the deposition, “I was genuinely trying to get to the truth of it.”

Here’s Jones “trying to get to the truth.”

“Moments after denying he had called the shooting a hoax,” Media Matters reports (Nov. 17, 2016), “Jones pushed several of the most prominent conspiracy theories about the shooting, including…

– CNN anchor Anderson Cooper reported on the shooting ‘using a green screen,’ which you can tell because ‘his nose disappears’;

– there is footage of ‘the kids going in circles back into the buildings’ after the shooting;

– the Sandy Hook school ‘was closed years before’ the shooting;

– ‘no emergency helicopters were launched’ to respond to the shooting…”

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Jones, “the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America.”

I call Jones a modern-day Blackbeard (okay, “Brownbeard”), who shamelessly misinforms the public and makes money off grieving parents.

Who would possibly listen to all this phony paranoia?

In 2010, Jones had a radio audience of around 2 million. In 2011, he had a larger on-line audience than Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, combined.

Last September, Twitter “permanently suspended” Jones and InfoWars citing violations of “our abusive behavior policy, in addition to … past violations.”

One month earlier, Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify also banned Jones for violating their hate speech policies.

Nonetheless, some of Jones’ listeners, believing his false theories, began stalking Sandy Hook parents.

“Sandy Hook families have been followed, videotaped and harassed by people demanding ‘proof’ that their loved ones died,” The New York Times reported (May 23, 2018). “Monuments to the slain children in Newtown have been stolen and defaced. An Alex Jones devotee went to prison last year after phoning and emailing Leonard Pozner, Noah’s father, with death threats, including ‘LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH.’ The family relocated to a gated community with 24-hour security.”

Finally, Jones’ almost incessant drum beat on Sandy Hook may prove to be a conspiracy too far for the info pirate.

“For more than two decades,” Charlie Werzel writes in an opinion piece in The Times (Mar. 31), “Mr. Jones has built a big business on specious claims and fear-mongering.”

In a deposition that lasted nearly 3 hours, “Mr. Jones blames ‘the media’; suggests that he is actually the person who is the victim of an unfair smear campaign; casts doubt on the veracity of the Infowars clips the lawyers have presented to him as evidence and suggests they’ve been heavily edited and that the audio was altered. …

“But under oath, Mr. Jones’s tactics fizzle. And the deposition highlights a troubling reality: The legal system may be the only way to defang a well-known conspiracy theorist at the height of his powers. Not only does the parade of lawsuits related to the Sandy Hook shooting cast him as a villain, but they threaten to expose and, perhaps drain, the funding sources that keep Infowars running without advertisers.

“…documents reviewed by The New York Times last September suggest the bulk of Mr. Jones’s money comes from his business selling supplement products, allegedly netting more than $20 million in revenue per year.”

Toward the end of the deposition, Jones’ persona collapsed in on itself like a dying star which led him to blame a self-diagnosed “psychosis” for all his fabrications.

While Blackbeard’s reign of piracy ended with a dramatic slash to his neck in a final battle, Jones is likely to face a modern-day ignoble end.

With the possibility of a steep financial judgement against him, Jones’ info-piracy, to quote poet T.S. Eliot, “…ends, not with a bang but a whimper.”


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