A bizarre interview Wednesday between far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — covering the January 6 insurrection and the COVID-19 pandemic — revealed the toxic nexus between right-wing media and Republican politics, and what sort of lies a future GOP majority might use its power to promote by holding public investigations.
She and Jones discussed a conspiracy theory that has made its way from far-right media to Carlson’s show, and then from Carlson’s show to a Senate committee hearing: the claim that an Arizona man named Ray Epps was a central figure in a conspiracy to entrap Trump supporters on January 6. Epps was seen on video the night of January 5, 2021, telling a crowd of Trump supporters to enter the Capitol the next day, and he was also seen outside the Capitol building during the siege. Epps was identified online and interviewed by The Arizona Republic in the days following the attack, but it does not appear that he ever actually entered the Capitol or personally committed any violent acts that day.
In this latest example, it was Greene who invoked Epps’ name as part of the supposed conspiracy. Initially, Jones bemoaned that Democrats were “trying to say I’m involved” in the insurrection, rhetorically asking, “I mean, how crazy is that?” (It’s not crazy at all, considering that Jones helped fund and plan the march and claimed the day after that the White House had directed him to lead the crowd to the Capitol.)
After assuring Jones that “you did absolutely nothing wrong,” and expressing her concern about the “innocent political prisoners” being held in jail, Greene added that Republicans would have to investigate Epps’ role in January 6 — that is, should the GOP win control of the House in the elections this November — in order to expose “all of their lies” surrounding what happened that day.
The two also discussed Fox Nation host Lara Logan, who has been absent from Fox News ever since she compared Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele. (Fox, however, has not said anything official about her status.) Jones and Greene, however, both agreed that Logan’s outrageous comment was a “fair comparison.”
Greene then brought up another set of claims that have circulated between the online fringes and right-wing media hosts such as Carlson and Charlie Kirk, saying that there have been a vast number of deaths from the COVID-19 vaccines based on the unvetted Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
“Why are there so many deaths reported on the VAER system? Why are there so many vaccine injuries reported on the VAER system?” Greene asked. (Well, for example, a VAERS report that a 2-year-old died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during clinical trials in early 2021 — when trials not even begun yet for children that young — had to be removed from the system for being “completely made up.”)
Greene further claimed that there was a conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies to promote the vaccines “instead of real treatments” such as the antiparasitic drug ivermectin and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which have been championed by Fox News and the entire right-wing media grifter ecosystem. As such, she said, “I tend to agree with Lara Logan, and I think most people do as well.”
“I think maybe she should run for office,” Jones replied.
In addition, Greene declared that “we need to investigate all these people” who talked down ivermectin and other alternative drugs for COVID-19: “Because it’s Dr. Fauci, and anyone at the CDC, or anyone involved that stopped lifesaving treatments and therapies, and people died. Well I think they’re guilty of murder.”
Is this a preview of the future, or would other congressional Republicans refuse to go along with these investigations? Well, the track record so far has shown that more experienced national politicians can quickly give in to “constructive bullying,” as they respond to demands from the right-wing media base to push these narratives.