Update (4/22/22): This piece has been updated with additional examples.
On September 30, a Texas judge handed down three major rulings against conspiracy theorist and Infowars founder Alex Jones, declaring him liable for damages related to lawsuits brought against him by family members who lost children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
For years, Jones pushed baseless conspiracy theories about the tragedy, including claiming that the shooting was staged with the use of actors and “the whole thing was fake.” His long history of conspiracy-mongering and bizarre behavior should have mostly relegated him to the fringes of most political discourse.
But Jones’ raving and ranting are still working their way into the broadcast of the most prominent conservative media figure in the country: Tucker Carlson.
Within the last year, some of Carlson's monologues have mirrored Infowars broadcasts and he has gone to bat for Jones’ cronies when they face legal trouble. Carlson has been a long-time defender of Jones in cases where the Infowars host has been banned from social media platforms for producing content that violated their policies against violence and hate speech. But the relationship extends far beyond that, back to the beginnings of Carlson’s prime-time slot. Below is a partial list of the ways in which Carlson’s broadcast has intersected with Jones and Infowars.
- Carlson said filmmaker Spike Lee’s claim that New Orleans levees may have been blown up in order to hurt Black people is “crazier than anything… Alex Jones has ever said.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 9/28/17]
- After playing a clip of Hillary Clinton questioning then-President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship to Russian government officials, Carlson defended Jones: “Next time someone says, you know, Alex Jones is crazy, he’s a conspiracy nut. OK. Nuttier than that?” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 11/17/17]
- Carlson suggested that Jones was incorrectly labeled a “nutcase.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/8/18]
- Carlson claimed that Jones was right about a supposed plot by Democrats to seize guns: “Well, you've heard the line about a million times at this point. Nobody wants to take your guns away. Settle down, paranoid nutcase, tinfoil-hat Alex Jones guy.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 5/3/18]
- Carlson drew a false equivalence between the White House blocking CNN from covering an event and YouTube penalizing Jones for spreading misinformation. Carlson also suggested that Jones is no more “radical” than Bill Maher or Rosie O’Donnell. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 7/26/18]
- Carlson noted that Twitter was the only major social media platform that at the time hadn’t banned Jones while warning that “doesn't mean that freedom of speech is safe on the platform.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/13/18]
- Carlson launched into a passionate defense of Jones after his social media accounts were suspended: “This isn't about Alex Jones or any one person; it's about the central principle of our society, and it's at stake here.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/17/18]
- Carlson lamented that “noncompliant voices” like Jones’ are “being silenced” on social media. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/20/18]
- Carlson framed Jones as a “casualty of the crusade against free expression” and complained that conservatives were not rising to his defense. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/27/18]
- Carlson said that he was “nauseous” that no media figures on the “mainstream right rose to the defense of Alex Jones.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/31/18]
- Carlson warned that because Jones was banned “from all tech platforms” and “nobody said anything,” technology companies will be policing more language on their platforms. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 9/12/18]
- Carlson said Google was successful at “suppressing unwanted videos,” such as those from Jones. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 10/3/18]
- Carlson attacked Twitter for participating in a “coordinated purge of Alex Jones and Infowars.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 10/18/18]
- Carlson called Jones’ ban from tech platforms a “terrifying loss for free speech” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 11/14/18]
- Carlson complained that Jones was “systematically crushed by the Big Tech companies just for saying things they disliked.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/9/19]
- Carlson hosted Jones ally and then-Infowars host Roger Stone to whine about “efforts to silence Alex Jones” and say they’re indicative of an attempt to “criminalize free speech.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/15/19]
- Carlson defended Jones, Laura Loomer, and the white nationalist website VDare. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/26/19]
- Carlson claimed other media outlets dismissed conservatives’ fears of gun regulation, immigration, illegal voting, and censorship as illegitimate: “You're a conspiracy nut, they'll say. You believe in crazy things on the basis of zero evidence, you and Alex Jones.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/25/19]
- Carlson said that CNN was “way less reliable than Alex Jones.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/26/19]
- Carlson complained that other media personalities were silent when “the big tech companies colluded to silence broadcaster Alex Jones.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/29/19]
- Carlson suggested that when Facebook banned Jones, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos and other extremists it was “fascism.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 5/3/19]
- Carlson framed Facebook’s banning of Jones and Infowars as part of its “efforts to suppress political dissent.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/4/19]
- Carlson warned his audience that “Facebook is ready to ban you just like they already banned Alex Jones.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/13/19]
- Carlson claimed that Facebook’s community standards “explained to users that they were not allowed to advocate violence unless it was toward Alex Jones or someone else Facebook didn’t like.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 7/11/19]
- Carlson cited and aired footage of the January 6 Capitol insurrection shot by Infowars staffer Samuel Montoya, who was arrested in April for his involvement in the events. Carlson repeatedly defended Montoya as a “journalist” and cast him as a victim targeted for his political beliefs. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/14/21]
- Carlson invoked Jones’ name to fearmonger about vaccine and testing requirements: “There are no vaccine passports. That's insane. That's Alex Jones stuff. And by the way, just so you know, as proof, if you want to get a job, you'll need your vaccine papers.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/27/21]
- After criticizing the scientific potential of “human engineering” of cells, Carlson asked, “Why do we laugh at Alex Jones again? Sincere question.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/22/21]
- Carlson praised Jones' COVID-19 commentary, saying Jones understands more about science than a member of the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/2/21]
- Carlson commended Jones for suing the Federal Aviation Administration over the grounding of Fox News drones capturing images of the border in Del Rio, Texas: “Good for him.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 9/17/21]
- Jones claimed that Carlson had directly told him that Infowars “woke” him up. [Infowars, The Alex Jones Show, 9/23/21]
- Carlson praised Jones, calling him one of the “most popular journalists on the right” who is “often mocked for his flamboyance but the truth is he has been a far better guide to reality in recent years. In other words, a far better journalist than, say NBC News national security correspondent Ken Dilanian or Margaret Brennan of CBS.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 12/1/21]
- Carlson praised Jones and his conspiracy theories about George Soros. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Today, 3/9/22]
- Jones claimed that Tucker Carlson filmed part of his “End of Men” documentary on his land, and bragged that his gun was featured in the trailer for the special. [Infowars, The Alex Jones Show, 04/17/22]
- Carlson and guest Savanah Hernandez, a former Infowars employee, lavished praise on Jones. The Fox host questioned how anyone could “hate” Jones and attacked critics who are “destroying him with lawsuits for giving his opinion.” [Fox Nation, Tucker Carlson Today, 4/20/22]