Winston Churchill famously said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Churchill never met Alex Jones and his many acolytes.
Last November, a court found the right-wing conspiracy podcaster guilty by default in the civil suit brought by parents of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis cited the defendants’ “willful noncompliance” with the discovery process as the reasoning behind the ruling,” National Public Radio reported. “Bellis noted that defendants failed to turn over financial and analytics data that were requested multiple times by the Sandy Hook family plaintiffs.”
In December 2012, Adam Lanza murdered twenty first graders and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Lanza killed himself when police arrived on the scene.
While the parents and the entire town of Newtown were numb from the crushing tragedy, Alex Jones, in an unconscionable act, told his listeners that the entire event was a “giant hoax.”
“These families have been victimized over and over again,” Murphy said. “First, by losing their loved ones, and second, by having to deal with the terror of a conspiracy theory movement that thinks they are all actors, thinks they are all politically motivated, thinks this was all done as a stage act to try to promote a political agenda in Washington.”
Justifying his remarks, Jones used the “I don’t remember” defense, saying his statements were “a form of psychosis. I talk four hours a day, and I can’t remember what I talked about sometimes a week ago,” Jones said in a 2019 deposition.
Jones frequently hides behind his free speech rights and says pretty much whatever he wants, and what he wants is to spread disinformation that continues to fan the flames of hate while he lines his pockets with sponsorship money.
“A lie,” Mark Twain said, “travels half-way around the world before the truth gets its pants on.”
Social media has become so ubiquitous that when one site restrains misinformation, another picks it up, and the Alex Joneses, Tucker Carlsons and others take it down a black hole of distrust and cynicism.
But they’re not the enemy. Social media is not the enemy. The digital age with overwhelming information spred at the speed of a tweet is not responsible.
Every time we allow ourselves to be taken down the easy road of information that aligns with our politically polarizing beliefs, we’re responsible. When we blindly accept lies as truth, we’re responsible. And the only way we can break the cycle is by taking responsibility for change. Others can spread lies, but we have a moral responsibility to call them out and accept the truth no matter what political badge it’s wearing.
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”