If you've tuned into the news today, you've likely witnessed our intrepid media excitedly reporting on the latest hugely important celebrity gossip. During a call to his friend Alex Jones' radio show yesterday, Charlie Sheen uncorked yet another bizarre rant, leading CBS to place his sitcom Two and a Half Men on hiatus.
While I understand that things like Sheen's rant are catnip for the media, outlets have been mainstreaming fringe conspiracy theorist Jones in their rush to report on Sheen's latest outburst.
For example, here's Jones' appearance on NBC's Today this morning. If you weren't aware that he believes, for example, that the plastic lining of juice boxes are part of a government plot to make people gay, nothing about this segment would lead you to think he is anything other than a “nationally syndicated” radio host who apparently has exciting interviews with unhinged celebrities:
Just a reminder as outlets scurry to talk with Jones about the Sheen interview: You should really let your audience know that Jones is absolutely nuts. Like other conspiracy theorists (such as Glenn Beck), Jones thrives on selling supposedly exclusive access to information that most people are too blind to see.
- Jones' main theory is that a “New World Order” of secretive, powerful elites are working behind the scenes to rule the world through an authoritarian government. Jones thinks the New World Order will exterminate 80 percent of the world's population.
- Jones is perhaps the country's most prominent 9-11 truther and regularly states his position that the government was behind the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
- Jones believes the government has set up a series of secret FEMA-run concentration camps.
So, I get it. If you are going to cover the Sheen meltdown (which you are), Jones is a key part of the story. However, outlets shouldn't give Jones free publicity without giving their viewers or readers an indication about his conspiracy theories.
And if you need a Sheen hook, Sheen has appeared on Jones' show in the past and joined him in promoting 9-11 conspiracy theories.
Jones, who subsequently appeared on MSNBC dayside programming to discuss the Sheen interview, addressed his recent surge of interviews with mainstream outlets on his radio program today.
In doing so, he pointed out the obvious: that he has been using his appearances to “inject InfoWars.com into the discussion when I'm on those broadcasts, and then people will come here and find the larger picture.” He also indicated that he would continue to do so in upcoming scheduled appearances:
For Jones, the “larger picture” includes the US government's involvement in 9-11, Oklahoma City, and building FEMA concentration camps for American citizens.
In light of Jones' admission that he is using the Sheen story to promote himself, it bears repeating: media outlets should not give Jones free publicity without giving their viewers or readers any indication about his belief in inane, fantastical conspiracy theories.