Conservative media outlets are embracing Alex Jones more than ever
It’s not just that right-wing media sounds like the fringe conspiracy theorist. They’re offering him their platforms to spread his message.
Conservative pundits are increasingly embracing far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, even as his financial losses mount and his professional future remains uncertain following a high-profile lawsuit. Right-wing outlets have not only adopted many of the fringe host’s conspiratorial affects and theories, but several have also provided Jones with a platform to spread his extremist brand of paranoid quackery.
The decision to give Jones an opportunity to find new audiences — or to tap into his own — is especially fraught right now, given that he was just found liable for defamation and forced to pay more than $45 million in damages to parents of a 6-year-old child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Jones now faces another defamation suit in Connecticut, also related to comments he made about Sandy Hook, which the talk show host and vitamin supplement salesman referred to as “a giant hoax.”
Although Jones has long been legitimized and defended by the right, conservative media’s increasingly open celebration of him appears to signal a new phase of their relationship with the serial fabulist. Conservatives are bringing him in from the fringe under the guise of free speech and fighting back against the supposed Big Tech censorship, using his deplatforming in 2018 and subsequent court-ordered payments in the Sandy Hook trial to transform him into a First Amendment martyr. And following the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, several right-wing hosts interviewed Jones as though he were a Casandra-like figure whose long history of alarmist warnings of government tyranny had finally come to pass.
Fox News’ top star Tucker Carlson reportedly regularly texts with Jones and has praised him in various venues repeatedly. In July, Carlson once again told his audience that the antisemitic Great Replacement conspiracy theory was real, but mainstream outlets wouldn’t acknowledge it for fear of being categorized alongside Alex Jones. Earlier this year, Carlson said Jones is “a lot more talented than I am” and generally endorsed his conspiracy theories about liberal philanthropist George Soros. Carlson has been a guest on Infowars and wrote a blurb for Jones’ new book.
Steve Bannon, the host of the War Room podcast and a former Trump chief strategist, appeared on an episode of Jones’ Infowars following the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. He heaped accolades on Jones, recognizing Infowars as “one of the major news sources out there for the MAGA movement.” Along with Jones, Bannon proceeded to lay out wild, completely speculative conspiracy theories.
“I do not think it's beyond this administrative state and their deep state apparatus to actually try to work on the assassination of President Trump,” Bannon said, providing no evidence to support the claim.
Bannon then suggested that the FBI may have “planted stuff” — that is, incriminating evidence — during the search.
“Exactly. How do we know a hundred agents in there with their long history of planting things, didn't plant something classified,” Jones echoed.
“You're absolutely right,” Bannon responded. (That theory has since been adopted by Fox News hosts and Republican Sen. Rand Paul.)
One day earlier, Bannon hosted Jones on his own War Room podcast to praise the serial liar as the leading edge of conservative thought, using a string of military metaphors to make his point.
“If you think of military, you've always been like force recon. Or you've been like LRP, long-range patrol,” Bannon said. “You've been out ahead of, cutting, you know, cutting through, bushwhacking through and laying out the tracks and the trails for where the narrative, then the big narrative engine comes in back of it.
Bannon also positioned Jones as a warrior and martyr that left-wing activists and tech companies are trying to silence. “They're trying to break you as a man and they're trying to break your incredible organization,” Bannon added.
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk also interviewed Jones the day after the Mar-a-Lago search, introducing him as “the most canceled man in America” and framing the interview as a defense of the principle of free speech. Kirk then proceeded to give Jones a platform to obfuscate and justify his long, well-documented history of Sandy Hook denial. Kirk then asked Jones to give his listeners advice on how to “keep on going — how do I push on through if people try to cancel me.”
Kirk later characterized Jones as a brave truth-teller, freeing his listeners from the blinders that had been placed on them. “How do you break people out of the comfort of the lies they live in?” Kirk asked Jones. “Because that’s what you do for a living.”
Jones eventually responded with an unhinged rant about who makes the best resistance fighters against what he believes is a demonic globalist cabal. “Because men haven’t been alpha males and stood up for Western civilization and the empowerment of the future and a pro-human future, we’ve allowed sick, degenerate alpha males to come in and threaten the women, and children, and men to get in line with them,” Jones explained.
“Alex Jones, he’s not crazy, he’s just early. He’s ahead of the curve,” Kirk said to close out the segment.
The previous day, Kirk had praised Jones as someone who was “not wrong a lot of the time,” even as he acknowledged that “he is not right a lot of the time.”
Elijah Schaffer, a reporter at The Blaze and host of Slightly Offens*ve, also interviewed Jones in August after the conclusion of his Sandy Hook defamation trial. Like Kirk and Bannon, Schaffer framed the discussion as a defense of free speech against those who are trying to “silence the truth.”
Failing Fox News competitor One America News Network interviewed Jones’ colleague Owen Shroyer, currently facing charges in the January 6 riot, following the conclusion of the Sandy Hook trial.
“We are increasingly seeing, you know, here at one American News, we haven't been banned quite as hard as you guys, but we got taken off FiOS with Verizon,” host Addison Smith said. “We got taken off Comcast TV, you know, you name it. And that's because for very similar reasons, we have a commitment to reporting the truth as we see it and reporting the facts as we see it.”
Shroyer responded by praising Alex Jones’ “almost prophetic-like foresight of geopolitical developments and political developments.”
The two continued their mutual admiration the following night, when Shroyer invited Smith on his show to discuss the Mar-a-Lago search.
A host at Newsmax, an OAN rival, defended Jones’ defamatory comments on the grounds that “this is America and you can say what you want.”
And it’s not just backwater, fledgling right-wing networks and podcasts that endorse Jones. His reach extends to the highest echelons of right-wing media. Reactionary podcast megastar Joe Rogan has long been a supporter of Jones, and the two appeared together on a stream of the bafflingly popular Timcast IRL. Hard-right politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and, of course, Trump, are also long-time champions of him as well.
Still, there seems to have been a notable difference in the reaction to Jones over the last several weeks. When he was roundly deplatformed in 2018, many conservatives came to his defense on free speech grounds while at least nominally distancing themselves from his content and arguments. Following the Mar-a-Lago search and his liability in the Sandy Hook lawsuit, conservative pundits appear to be following his lead.