Matt Drudge has long been conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' biggest ally. According to a Media Matters review, the heavily-trafficked Drudge Report has promoted at least 50 separate articles at Jones' Infowars website in 2013, and has linked to at least 244 different articles on the site in the past two years.
Drudge announced this week that he had privately told friends that 2013 would be the “year of Alex Jones.” Considering Drudge's penchant for promoting Jones and his Infowars website, those comments are more of a promise than a prediction.
Alex Jones is a radio host famous for pushing absurd conspiracy theories about a host of issues, including that the U.S. government perpetrated or was otherwise involved in the 9-11 attacks, the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Colombia disaster, and the Aurora movie theater shooting.
Jones has lately made headlines for his most recent conspiracy that the Boston Marathon bombings were a “false flag” attack staged by the government. Drudge has provided several links to Jones' site in the days since Jones started floating Boston conspiracies, including an article highlighting the father of the bombing suspects claiming his sons had been set up.
The links to Jones' site in the wake of the Boston bombings are not surprising; he has sent a steady stream of traffic there in 2013.
Among the fifty Infowars pieces promoted by Drudge so far in 2013: a story mulling over claims that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have been “surreptitiously” given cancer, possibly by the U.S. government; numerous articles promoting conspiracies about supposedly ominous ammunition purchases made by the Department of Homeland Security; and a story comparing Obama to “other tyrants” -- including Stalin, Hitler, and Mao -- that have “used kids as props.”
Drudge has been consistently linking to Jones' site for years (Drudge Report also features two permanent links to the Infowars mainpage). Among the 244 Infowars articles Drudge has promoted since April 2011:
- A November 2012 article promoting claims that James Holmes, the man currently on trial for the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, may actually have been under the influence of CIA “mind control.” The piece was based around a story told by an “alleged inmate” supposedly in jail with Holmes, who claimed Holmes told him he was “programmed” to kill by an “evil” therapist.
- A July 2012 post highlighting an interview between Jones and Joseph Farah, editor of conspiracy website WND. During that interview, Farah suggested that if Obama were re-elected, people like him and Jones would be “hunted down like dogs.”
- A March 2012 piece suggesting that the death of conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart may not have been the result of natural causes, but instead related to a “damning” video about President Obama Breitbart had supposedly planned to release the day of his death.
- An April 2011 article responding to President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate headlined, “New Obama Birth Certificate is a Forgery.” The story states: “Our investigation of the purported Obama birth certificate released by Hawaiian authorities today reveals the document is a shoddily contrived hoax. Infowars.com computer specialists dismissed the document as a fraud soon after examining it.”
A 2012 study by Think Progress found that in addition to frequently linking to Infowars, Drudge also regularly sends his readers to WND, a site best known for its promotion of conspiracies related to President Obama's birth certificate.
Since Jones has started floating various nonsensical conspiracy theories about the Boston Marathon bombings, several conservatives have spoken out against Drudge's repeated promotion of the radio host.
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, who is editor-in-chief of the influential Red State blog, tweeted on April 18, “I hope Drudge stops linking to infowars.” Responding to Erickson's tweet, fellow Fox News contributor Jedediah Bila echoed his concern, adding that she had “been saying this for months.” On April 24, Red State editor Ben Howe joined the chorus, tweeting “I'd love it if Drudge Report stopped linking to Infowars.”
Shortly after Drudge announced it would be the “year of Alex Jones,” Jones returned the compliment, announcing that the conservative publisher was “breaking through the electronic Berlin Wall of globalist bullshit, as cowards do nothing!”
Jones has previously praised Drudge for helping push his work. In an interview for Rolling Stone with Alexander Zaitchik (now a reporter for Media Matters), Jones credited Drudge with helping to promote a 2010 campaign against the Transportation Security Administration:
In November, Jones put on a demonstration of his power by employing his latest guerrilla technique. Asking his audience to stage a mass online search of the phrase “Revolt Against TSA” -- a tactic known as Google Bombing -- Jones instantly manipulated the term to the top of Google's search index. As intended, the maneuver caught the sensitive traffic antennae of Matt Drudge, who put the TSA story on the national news agenda. “Our show was the detonator on the cap of the TSA story, and Drudge was the barrel of the gun,” says Jones. “The result was a direct head shot on the New World Order.”
Despite Jones' well-known history, Drudge is not the only right-wing figure that has played a role in validating him. Former Rep. Ron Paul and current Sen. Rand Paul; Fox News' Lou Dobbs and Andrew Napolitano; and gun activists like Ted Nugent and Larry Pratt have made repeated appearances on Jones' program in recent years.
Oliver Willis contributed research to this report.