Following the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon, radio host Alex Jones was quick to suggest the attacks may have been a "false flag" operation staged by the U.S. government. Jones' reaction is far from surprising; he has made a career out of pushing outlandish conspiracy theories.
Among other conspiracies, Jones has blamed the U.S. government for perpetrating, coordinating, or otherwise being involved in the 9-11 attacks, the Aurora movie theater shooting, the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. But despite Jones' well-known history, he is regularly validated by conservative media figures, politicians, and prominent activists that frequent his program, as well as by right-wing websites that promote his work and mainstream outlets that host him on their networks.
In recent years, former Rep. Ron Paul and current Sen. Rand Paul; Fox News figures Lou Dobbs and Andrew Napolitano; gun activists Ted Nugent and Larry Pratt; and climate misinformer Marc Morano have all repeatedly appeared on Jones' show. His immensely popular website Infowars is also frequently promoted by conservative websites like The Drudge Report.
Shortly following the April 15 Boston attacks, Jones tweeted that "our hearts go out to those that are hurt or killed," but added that "this thing stinks to high heaven" and suggested it was a "false flag" operation.
On a special webcast of his show that aired the night of April 15, Jones elaborated on his suggestion, saying, "You saw them stage Fast and Furious. Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming. And that's why I'm so desperate and freaked out. This is not fun, you know, getting up here telling you this. Somebody's got to tell you the truth."
As Jones uses yet another national tragedy to push baseless, absurd conspiracy theories, it's worth asking whether there's anything he can say or do to lead media figures, politicians and activists to stop validating him.
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Jones makes his living by telling his listeners and readers that he is the only one willing to tell them the "truth" about any variety of current events amidst the supposed lies of the government and the media. (Jones' site sells a vast array of DVDs, survival gear, books, and other merchandise capitalizing on his conspiracies.)
Jones' version of the "truth" almost always involves elaborate and implausible conspiracies.
While it would be impossible to include all of Jones' conspiracies, some lowlights include:
- Jones has been one of the leading figures pushing the conspiracy theory that the U.S. government was behind the 9-11 terror attacks. (The online store at his website also sells several "documentaries" promoting this conspiracy.)
- Jones believes that a New World Order (NWO) of secretive global elites is working behind the scenes to rule the world through an authoritarian government. A summary of the Jones film ENDGAME explains that this NWO plans to "exterminate 80% of the world's population, while enabling the elites to live forever with the aid of advanced technology."
- As he indicated during the webcast pushing conspiracies about the Boston attacks, Jones believes the government staged the recent mass shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and the movie theater in Aurora, CO.
- Jones thinks that with "Bill Clinton's involvement," the Oklahoma City bombing was "carried out by intelligence agencies."
- According to Jones, the government has set up a series of FEMA concentration camps that will be used to enslave people.
- Jones posits that the government is using products like juice boxes that are lined with plastic to "encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children."
Former Republican congressman Ron Paul has appeared on Alex Jones' program countless times over the years. New York magazine reported that Jones is a "longtime friend" of Paul and he "takes some credit for Paul's rise to prominence, calling his radio show 'part of the concrete slab that the Ron Paul rocket is fueling on.'"
Paul frequently used Jones' program as a platform and fundraising tool for his 2012 presidential campaign. In 2010 and 2011 combined, Paul appeared on Jones' program at least 13 times, according to a 2012 Media Matters search.
During a January 21, 2011, interview, Jones told Paul he's "drafting you right here" for president and if he runs, "you've got my full support of our millions of listeners." During another interview, Paul said he relies on programs like Jones' to "get the truth out."
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has appeared on Jones' radio program repeatedly over the years. Paul used Jones' program as a publicity and fundraising platform during his U.S. Senate campaign, and Jones was an enthusiastic and active supporter of his candidacy.
During an August 21, 2009 appearance, Paul promoted a fundraising "moneybomb" and implored Jones' audience to help him. Jones enthusiastically backed his call and said "we have got to get behind you." Jones went on to describe Paul's senate candidacy as a vital stepping stone to destroying "the New World Order ... I can't stress enough how important this race for the Kentucky Senate is." Paul replied: "You're right." A description on the video states, "Rand's Moneybomb was one of the biggest in a long time, and now he is starting to pull away from the others in contribution money raised! Please support this Patriot who will fight for you like his father, Ron Paul of Texas."
A search of Jones' YouTube channel returns interviews such as:
- April 2012. During the conclusion of the interview, Jones told Paul: "It is so refreshing to talk to a senator who does not compromise and is just so real. Senator Rand Paul, thank you so much for the time today."
- December 2010.
- August 2009.
- July 2009.
- May 2009.
Mother Jones' David Corn noted in May 2010 that Paul has repeatedly appeared on Jones' program and "has shown sympathy for Jones' overall view of a world of global conspiracies, and he has expressed support for some of Jones' unconventional ideas."
Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano repeatedly appeared on Jones' show and has called him a "dear friend" who "we go to" because of "your zeal and your courage and your fearlessness in exposing" the government. Napolitano also hosted Jones on his FoxNews.com show Freedom Watch.
Napolitano endorsed conspiracy theories surrounding the 9-11 attacks during a November 2010 Jones appearance. Napolitano said it's "hard for me to believe that" World Trade Center Building 7 "came down by itself" -- a central tenet of 9-11 conspiracy theories -- and claimed that "twenty years from now, people will look at 9-11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us." Despite criticism from liberals and conservatives, Fox News gave Napolitano a pass and continues to employ him as their main voice on legal matters. A search of Jones' YouTube channel does not return any interviews since Napolitano offered his 9-11 conspiracy views during the November 2010 interview.
Fox News has attempted to distance itself from Jones. An April 2011 New York profile of Jones noted that Jones and Napolitano are friends, and quoted Fox News vice president Bill Shine stating of Jones: "I'm sure Alex, like many others, wishes he had a platform on Fox News ... That's not going to happen, so he should stick with trying to locate the black helicopters."
For more on Alex Jones and Andrew Napolitano's friendship, go here.
Jones' YouTube channel has posted two interviews with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, from April 2011 and October 2010. In his April interview, Jones praised Dobbs as a "precursor on mainline TV of some of the things [Glenn] Beck did." Jones' channel headlined one of Dobbs' interviews as "Lou Dobbs: Elites Are Setting up a One World Order." As Media Matters has documented, Dobbs has frequently pushed conspiracy theories on CNN and now on Fox News.
Jerome Corsi / Joseph Farah
Jerome Corsi is a widely discredited "reporter" for birther hub WND who co-wrote the John Kerry swift boat smear book Unfit for Command and The Obama Nation. Corsi also authored Where's The Birth Certificate? and has long been on an unsuccessful crusade to prove that President Barack Obama's birth certificate is fake.
Unsurprisingly, Corsi has been a frequent guest on Jones' program, where the two trade conspiracy theories about President Obama and his administration. In one representative appearance before last November's election, Corsi told Jones that if Obama wins re-election, "people like you and me will be in thought education camps -- if they allow us to live."
Corsi's boss is Joseph Farah, the founder, editor and CEO of WND. Farah has also repeatedly appeared on Jones' program. Farah's appearances contain such headlines as "Joseph Farah: Obama's Real Agenda for Amercia [sic] Revealed," and "Joseph Farah: Obama 2nd Term Will Destroy America."
National Rifle Association board member and conservative columnist Ted Nugent has repeatedly appeared on Jones' program to push conspiracies about the Obama administration and guns. During a February 26 appearance, Nugent and Jones traded conspiracy theories about Benghazi, called for President Obama's impeachment, and praised the NRA's new "hardcore" direction. Nugent claimed that Jones is doing "God's work" and that the information on his radio show is "indisputable" and "irrefutable."
ClimateDepot.com founder Marc Morano is regularly quoted by conservative media outlets like Fox News for climate change misinformation. Morano has often appeared on Jones' program to promote anti-environmental conspiracy theories. In one appearance, after Jones said that Obama might "start a war" to win re-election, Morano responded, "they could try to do that, yes, that's always possible."
Larry Pratt is the executive director of Gun Owners of America and a regular media guest on the issue of gun laws. Pratt has frequently appeared on Jones' program over the years to discuss topics related to guns. During an appearance on Jones' program last year, Pratt suggested that the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, could have been staged.
Mainstream Media Outlets That Host Jones
Jones has made occasional appearances on "mainstream" media outlets in recent years.
In January, CNN anchor Piers Morgan hosted Jones for two segments to discuss the petition Jones had started calling for Morgan to be deported over his views on gun legislation. During the combative appearance, Jones made numerous outrageous comments, including saying that "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms." A week later, Morgan aired another clip of the interview, which Morgan described as the "fiery interview people are still talking about."
In 2011, actor Charlie Sheen appeared on Jones radio show and made a series of bizarre comments that led to his sitcom being suspended (and Sheen's eventual departure from the program). While the story was unfolding, several outlets, including MSNBC, NBC, and ABC hosted Jones to discuss the interview.
Jones subsequently went on his radio show and announced that he had been using these appearances in mainstream outlets to "inject Infowars.com into the discussion when I'm on those broadcasts, and then people will come here and find the larger picture."
Fox News' Andrew Napolitano hosted Jones on his show Freedom Watch when it aired as an online show for FoxNews.com.
The Drudge Report And Fox Nation
Through his influential and heavily-trafficked Drudge Report website, Matt Drudge has been perhaps Alex Jones' biggest booster in the media.
Drudge's website routinely features links to Jones' commentary and various articles at Infowars. According to a 2012 study by Think Progress, between June 2011 and July 2012, Drudge linked to Infowars and conspiracy website WND a combined 184 times.
Drudge also features two permanent links to Jones' Infowars outlet among his list of news websites and commentators.