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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones called on Neil Heslin, who lost his son during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, to clarify whether he actually held his son’s body and observed a bullet hole in his head.
Jones made the demand during the July 20 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show while complaining that he has come under attack for questioning official accounts of the December 2012 shooting, which claimed 26 lives.
The statement that Jones wants Heslin to clarify was made during Megyn Kelly’s interview with Heslin as part of her June 18 profile of Jones for her NBC show Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Heslin rebutted conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting, telling Kelly, “I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole through his head.”
Heslin’s son, Jesse Lewis, saved several classmates’ lives during the shooting by telling them to run when the gunman’s weapon jammed, according to investigators.
During the July 20 broadcast, Jones played a June video report from Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer that claimed it was impossible for Heslin to have held his son.
In the report, Shroyer said of Heslin, “The statement he made, fact-checkers on this have said cannot be accurate. He’s claiming that he held his son and saw the bullet hole in his head. That is his claim. Now according to a timeline of events and a coroner’s testimony, that is not possible.”
As evidence of his claims, Shroyer played a video clip from shortly after the shooting where a coroner explained to press that the victims were identified by parents with photographs rather than in person. Shroyer ended his report by saying, “Will there be a clarification from Heslin or Megyn Kelly? I wouldn’t hold your breath. So now they’re fueling the conspiracy theory claims.”
Shroyer’s report is easily debunked; according to news accounts, the bodies of the victims were released from the coroner and taken to funeral homes. Funerals where the children’s bodies were in the custody of their parents were widely reported on by the press.
Jones vacillated on whether Heslin was lying about seeing his son’s body and called on him to “clarify” what happened during his July 20 broadcast.
Before playing the Shroyer segment, Jones said, “Quite frankly, the father needs to clarify, NBC needs to clarify, because the coroner said none of the parents were allowed to touch the kids or see the kids and maybe meaning at the school. I’m sure later maybe the parents saw their children.”
After showing the segment, Jones said he told Shroyer, “I could never find out. The stuff I found was they never let them see their bodies. That’s kind of what’s weird about this. But maybe they did. So I’m sure it’s all real. But for some reason they don’t want you to see [Shroyer’s segment].”
Speaking more broadly about the shooting, Jones said, “Can I prove that New Haven (sic) didn’t happen? No. So I’ve said, for years, we’ve had debates about it, that I don’t know. But you can’t blame people for asking.”
Jones is lying. In the years following the shooting, he definitively called the tragedy a hoax. For example, in December 2014, Jones said, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”
After Jones’ profile was raised by his close association with President Donald Trump, he was heavily criticized for these claims and has subsequently tried to sanitize them by saying he was merely asking questions or debating whether the shooting happened. The bottom line is that even this type of commentary casts doubt on the shooting and fuels conspiracy theories that are used to harass the victims’ family members.
Alex Jones is now frequently claiming that the United States is on the verge of a bloody second civil war and often indicating his willingness to personally take up arms if such a conflict arises.
Jones, America’s leading conspiracy theorist, is the self-described “founding father” of the 9/11 truth movement claiming that the government perpetrated the terrorist attacks. He has pushed numerous other toxic conspiracy theories, including claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and other mass shootings and bombings were "false flag" operations or hoaxes.
He is also a major ally of President Donald Trump. In December 2015, Trump appeared on The Alex Jones Show and praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation. Jones says that he communicates regularly with Trump and has claimed that Trump calls him to see if Jones is “happy” with his performance as president.
Jones’ strident defenses of Trump increasingly include characterizing dissent against the president as Democrats’ attempt to start a civil war with the goal of executing a coup d’etat against Trump. During the last six months, Jones has posted at least 15 videos on YouTube with a reference to civil war in the title. But in the absence of any real plot to violently overthrow the president or a war divided along party lines, Jones’ rhetoric is only inflaming political tensions.
Jones has blamed various groups for supposedly inciting a civil war, including “liberals,” “the left,” “the democrats,” “leftists,” and “globalists.” Sometimes Jones does not specify the forces he say are plotting a war, i.e. merely referencing “you people.” He has also been inconsistent on whether civil war has already begun, is imminent, or if we are the in-between state of a “soft civil war.”
Jones is consistent, however, in stating that any violence carried out by the right would be self-defense in response to the other side starting the war. This is a rhetorical device that allows him to discuss the prospect of violence while denying that he has threatened anyone. In one typical iteration, Jones said during his June 15 show, “I’m not the one that’s calling for violence; you’re going to get wrecked bad. There are a lot of people like Santa Claus been making a list, been checking it twice about who's been naughty and nice. And you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.”
While raising the idea of a second civil war, Jones frequently talks about personally participating in armed conflict and his prowess with firearms. During his June 15 broadcast, in which Jones discussed the prospect of a civil war with “the Democrats,” he said, “I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards.” A month earlier while discussing a “physical war,” Jones had said, “I mean, I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class.” Beyond talking about participating in fighting if a war was to break out, Jones has volunteered to take part in mass arrests and personally hang convicted traitors.
Jones’ civil war narrative is coupled with a second disturbing narrative in which he has often urged Trump to arrest his political opponents or even direct the military to take action against his domestic opponents. Jones has called for the arrest or indictment of former President Barack Obama, former Democratic president nominee Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and former national security advisor Susan Rice. He has also urged Trump to have the military physically confront Americans, saying in June, “I'd support the president right now moving against these people physically. Let's be honest. We're in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now. The country is that big a crisis. We need to go ahead and move.”
Below are examples from the last several months of Jones repeatedly fantasizing about civil war, calling on Trump to take authoritarian actions against political opponents, and threatening violence against people and groups.
Jones: “I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,” but “we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.” While claiming he didn’t want to “kill a bunch of liberals,” Jones nonetheless urged people during his June 23 broadcast to get ready for civil war:
ALEX JONES (HOST): Did you see the video of President Trump speaking to a crowd and as soon as he says let’s have a moment of silence for [Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)] and the cops that got shot and others, they start booing and hissing and screaming, and I saw a top Democratic strategist on Fox News defending #HuntRepublicans. I don’t want to have this be violent. We just won, election-wise. We just saw Karen Handel win. We’ve just won four upset special elections despite the biggest Democratic spending ever. We’re winning the old-fashioned American way with ideas. I don’t want a war. I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals, I just -- but I also feel like I’m in dereliction as a citizen of my duty not saying we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/23/17]
Jones volunteered to personally hang convicted traitors following a civil war. Talking about a prospect of “the left” starting a civil war, Jones offered to execute convicted traitors because, he said, “I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.” During his June 23 broadcast he also said if a war starts, there is a “big Christmas list” of leftists:
ALEX JONES (HOST): We’re holding back, we don’t want to be violent, we’re winning. Letting them shoot congressmen and stuff, we tried to stop it but -- they’re clearly, the left is building up for a bigger tantrum, a bigger confrontation. How long do we take this, though, until Trump moves against them? I think the folks over in Bzezinski land on Morning Joe, they’re saying, “Oh, watch out, Trump’s about to become a dictator.” No, he got elected. But if we have to move in a very serious way against people openly wanting to murder everybody, that’s called your duty. I don’t want to have a big shooting war, I don’t want to have to arrest 10,000 of these people and have trials and hang their asses. But if it’s done by a jury, and we need to, I’ll be there and pull the switch. I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it. How long can they keep pushing for this?
JONES: If a civil war starts, there is a big Christmas list of these leftists. So I hope every one of them that wants violence and war knows this: I’m not going to talk about what people are planning in defense of this. But you just know this: This is a two way street. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/23/17]
Jones: “I’m not the one that’s calling for violence,” but “you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.” Jones fantasized about “Civil War 2” on his show after Scalise was shot. During the show, Jones also raised the prospect of someone shooting CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, saying, “What happens, Wolf Blitzer, when somebody pumps rounds into your little pumpkin head and says, ‘It’s just political’?” From the June 15 episode of The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Wolf Blitzer has a guest on: “So, this man wasn’t a monster, he was just tired of things.” Wolf Blitzer: “OK, thanks for your view. Hmm, very interesting.” What happens, Wolf Blitzer, when somebody pumps rounds into your little pumpkin head and says, “It’s just political”? Ha. You people. You guys better have some helicopter jump jets and be ready to get out of here real quick if the actual civil war kicks off. I mean, I’m not the one that’s calling for violence; you’re going to get wrecked bad. There are a lot of people like Santa Claus, been making a list, been checking it twice about who's been naughty and nice. And you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/15/17]
Jones' warning to “the Democrats” who want civil war: “I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass.” Following the Scalise shooting, Jones claimed that “the Democrats” were celebrating the shooting and threatening him, saying, “They all hate guns, they don’t know how to use them. But I can shoot bull's-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. They have no idea who they’re messing with.” Jones also said to those who would start a war: “You understand we are killing machines, you fools.” From the June 14 broadcast of Jones’ show:
ALEX JONES (HOST): I’m saying, don’t you people get it? You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.
JONES: The Democrats -- the tweets are all over Infowars.com, they’re tweeting at me going, “We’re going to get you next, you bastard.” I mean, they’re celebrating this. But they all hate guns, they don’t know how to use them. But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/14/17]
Jones: Leftists want a war, so “cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war.” Jones described “leftists” as “mentally ill people, losers, scum” and, while fantasizing about the prospect of war, claimed they “hope for violence” and they “want total conquering”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): The leftists are mentally ill people, losers, scum, and sociopathic and psychopathic elites. They want total conquering. They see as as schmucks that want open free societies. They see us as jokes that actually care about free market and actually care about people’s freedoms. They are allied with authoritarianism because they worship at the dark idol of tyranny. This is a historic fact. But they want a war? Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war. They want to kill our republic? Well the ghost of our king, Jesus, is now ravenously walking the battlefields of the mind and they have sown the wind. They are now reaping the whirlwind politically. They hope for violence because they are intellectually losing the war of ideas with us. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/31/17]
Jones to “chicken necks” who “want some physical war”: “I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class.” Jones raised the prospect of a “physical war” with globalists and others during his May 18 show, saying, “I hope all the chicken necks, and cowards out there that want some physical war, I hope you know how stupid you are trying to start a fight with everybody who knows how to actually fight. You’re idiots. You are morons. I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class.” From the May 18 edition of The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Let me just briefly stop here for a moment because I can sit here and put on an act that I’m not angry. But I am angry -- I mean, I’m pissed. These are evil people who really have it out to bankrupt us, make us poor. They attack Christians, they attack families. You just see what the globalists are up to. I wouldn’t be risking my life fighting some Boss Hog corruption. I would be speaking out against it, but I wouldn’t be hair-on-fire, wild-eyed if I didn’t know the people we’re up against run the gambit from devil worshippers, pedophiles, psychopaths. I mean, they’re just the worst people on earth, OK? And I’m done. Everything they say is a lie. Everything they say is a fraud. And we’re so honest we’re up here admitting we’re thinking about dirty tricks. That’s how honest we are. And I’m not going to do it. There’s a lot of people that are desperate at this point. And it’s just -- I hope all the chicken necks and cowards out there that want some physical war, I hope you know how stupid you are trying to start a fight with everybody that knows how to actually fight. I mean, you’re idiots. You are morons. I mean, I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class. I mean, you guys are so far removed from men, I don’t even know what you call yourselves. Now let’s just stop right there. I need funding to prosecute a war. I -- with your help and the crew -- we have devastated the globalists. And we sell game-changing supplements, game-changing shirts where you meet like-minded people, game-changing, high-quality, non-GMO heirloom seeds, high quality, non-fluoride toothpaste with colloidal silver and iodine. It’s all there. InfowarsLife.com, InfowarsStore.com. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/18/17]
Jones: If supporters don’t take the actions he recommends, “we’re going to lose the information war and then we don’t have any recourse but to defend ourselves.” Claiming that Trump is “a dead man,” Jones said that if supporters fail to take nonviolent political actions such as buying billboards spaces and calling C-SPAN, “we’re going to lose the information war and then we don’t have any recourse but to defend ourselves.” Jones went on to rant about what he called “Bolshevik” elements in the United States who he said will rape and murder American families. From Jones’ May 17 broadcast (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Let me just give you a basic summation here. In the last four or five months, I’ve told you, since he was president-elect, this is a deep state coup d’etat operation to undermine him, to destroy him in the public eye first, and then they’re not going to let Trump go to prison or even step down. They know he won’t. They’re going to kill him. And the best minds agree with me. They’re going to kill him at the peak of the investigation. Donald Trump is a dead man. He’s a dead man. He’s dead. He’s walking dead right now unless with counter this.
Because I’m not just going to lay out where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going. We can change where we’re going if we admit how much trouble we are in. And let me say something else to everybody. A lot of you claim you want to fight tyranny. A lot of you claim you wanted free market. A lot of you claim you want to be American. Our forebearers (sic) had to fight bloody wars for what we’ve got. If you won’t fight information war, if you won’t spend money in this fight, if you won’t buy time on local radio, if you won’t call C-SPAN, if you won’t put billboards up, if you won’t go talk to your state House, if you won’t talk to your congress people in D.C. and get them by the hand and tell them you know what’s going on, and if they go along with this takeover of America, they’re going to be held accountable. If you don’t do that, we’re going to lose the information war and then we don’t have any recourse but to defend ourselves.
Because let me tell you something. These people, these globalists, they want us -- they have said they want to snuff us out once and for all. This is an existential war you are in. The very same Bolsheviks that came out of New York and London and Paris and major German cities like Berlin that took over Russia and exterminated the Christians en masse, that same disease is in America and plans a hot Bolshevik war. David Horowitz was brought up in New York City by parents that came out of this and he’ll warn you all day, they want to kill everybody. And I’m just telling you right now, they mean business. They will line you and your family up, and they’ll shoot you in the head, and they’ll rape your daughters, and they’ll kill your sons, and they’ll make your wife work in a field until she dies. So, you want to understand where we’re at? We’ve got the Bolshevik revolution 2.0 with a crazy Nazi collaborator, George Soros, who you know is making money. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/17/17]
Jones said he hopes the “deep state” makes a “bloody” coup attempt against Trump because “it will ensure our victory long term.” Jones fantasized about a violent coup attempt against Trump during his May 17 broadcast and said, “If you want a real war, a 1776 -- I've already done my stuff, telling the truth, I've already set the groundwork and already got the whole infowar ready, I've already go the battle space ready. I've looked at it real careful -- you guys are going to lose 90 percent.” From the May 17 edition of the show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): I want to tell the criminals in the deep state, because there’s two different deep states, probably three or four, but two big ones. You’ve been identified. Globalism is un-elected, it's unaccountable, it's anti-human, it's anti-God, it's anti-Christ, it's pro-Islam. You're never going to get away with this. And a sick part of me, a Machiavellian part of me, actually hopes they bring down Trump because it's going to be bloody, and it's going to be bad, and it's going to be hard, but it will ensure our victory long term. Because if Trump just kind of stalemates and fixes a few things but he gets stagnated then it will just kind of permeate, and “Oh did patriotism fail, did free market fail?” But if you want a real war, a 1776 -- I've already done my stuff, telling the truth, I've already set the groundwork and already got the whole infowar ready, I've already got the battle space ready. I've looked at it real careful -- you guys are going to lose 90 percent. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/17/17]
Jones fantasized about what would happen to Keith Olbermann during a civil war while suggesting Olbermann should be put to death for treason. Jones claimed that Democrats are “organizing a military-attempted coup” during his May 12 broadcast and criticized journalist Keith Olbermann for Olbermann’s statement that foreign intelligence agencies should release information about Trump. Jones claimed that Olbermann’s comments were punishable by death, saying, “Sixty years ago, he would be in front of a firing squad in about a month.” He also said, “Hey jackass, you better pray that there’s not a civil war because I guarantee you, you’re the one calling for all of this, I guarantee you son. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Don’t open that door. You have no idea what’s on the other side of that door, you little chicken, you little wimp, you little nelly punk. You open that gate, you have no idea”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): Keith Olbermann has said we’re at war with Russia, that Russia is scum, that Russia stole our election. Now he has come out, with no proof of course of that, and said foreign governments including Russia, help us overthrow Trump -- you mean overthrow our government. And don’t worry, the Democrats are in major newspapers, major magazines like The New Yorker, saying they’re organizing a military-attempted coup, grabbing Trump, putting him in a paddy wagon. All this craziness because he dare turn our economy back on, put three-and-a-half trillion dollars into the stock market, secure our borders again, kill Obamacare, and everything else. It’s a giant screw job. And then Olbermann now calls on foreign powers to come in and overthrow our president. Do you understand? If he was a crazy on guy on the street corner the cops wouldn’t do anything.
The FBI, everybody, has to do something. This is clear, clear, absolute organized crime, treason, espionage. Calling on foreign powers for a coup is high treason. It’s punishable by being hung by the neck until dead -- it’s how the army still does it -- or firing squad, I guess he can pick either one. And I’m serious, man. If I was calling for foreign governments to come overthrow our government, I deserve a firing squad. Let me tell you something. Sixty years ago, he would be in front of a firing squad in about a month. I’m serious.
JONES: So they’re trying to sell the idea of a violent overthrow and a civil war. Hey jackass, you better pray that there’s not a civil war because I guarantee you, you’re the one calling for all of this, I guarantee you, son. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Don’t open that door. You have no idea what’s on the other side of that door, you little chicken, you little wimp, you little nelly punk. You open that gate, you have no idea. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/12/17]
Jones routinely posts videos suggesting civil war is imminent or has already begun. Over the past six months, Jones has posted videos to his YouTube channel with titles including “Get Ready For CIVIL WAR!” “First Shots Fired In Second US Civil War! What Will You Do?” “Trump's Duty Is To Stop Democrat Civil War Plan,” “LEFT Preparing To Plunge America Into 2nd Civil War,” “Is Civil War Imminent In America?” “The Left Wants a Civil War: What Will Happen?” “America On The Brink Of Bloody Civil War,” “MSM Celebrates Congressional Shooting, Prepares Open Civil War To Destroy America,” “Why Is The Left Pushing For Civil War,” “Leftist Suicide Gene Leads Them To Spark Civil War With Conservatives,” “Report: Obama Planning Civil War To Stop Trump!” “Democrats Call For Civil War To Stop Trump,” “Hollywood Anti-American Scum Will Pay For Promoting Civil War,” “Soros Funds Radical Groups In US To Spark Civil War,” and “Will Trump Stop Democrats' Plan For Violent Civil War?” [YouTube, The Alex Jones Channel, accessed 7/13/17]
Jones called for James Comey, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton to be indicted. During his July 12 broadcast, Jones said, “It’s time to indict Comey. He had classified info and lied to Congress. It’s time to indict Obama. It’s time to indict Hillary. Indict. Indict. Indict. Go on the offense with this scum.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/12/17]
Jones called on Trump to move “physically” and make a “military move” against his enemies. Claiming that “outside forces” are attempting to overthrow the Trump presidency, Jones said during his June 12 broadcast, “I'd support the president right now moving against these people physically. I mean, let's be honest. We're in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now. The country is in that big a crisis. We need to go ahead and move”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): What should Trump do? I mean, he needs to get aggressive. Call them out. [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions needs to start indicting some of these people.
JEROME CORSI: Well, the presidency has enormous power, and Trump better start using it -- better start realizing that in Washington, all these people are his enemies. He's got to fire [White House chief of staff Reince] Priebus. Don't wait until the end of June, as he says he is going to give him more time -- just fire him. Get rid of all the people in the administration who have been there from Clinton and from Obama, get rid of them, and start using the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate [former FBI director James] Comey, Clinton and the others. Fight back, counterattack.
JONES: Absolutely. Look, this is such sedition against the country and the attempted overthrow of our republic by clear outside forces. I'd support the president right now moving against these people physically. I mean, let's be honest. We're in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now. The country is in that big a crisis. We need to go ahead and move. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/12/17]
Jones said Trump should “move quickly” to indict Hillary Clinton. During his May 10 broadcast, Jones said Trump’s “got to move quickly and just come out and say here's the evidence, Hillary, Podesta, communist Chinese, Russia, grand jury, start indicting them”:
CALLER: Now we have to find out who the leakers are. We have to look at Susan Rice, Sally Yates, Barack Obama -- it's a whack-a-mole. Who is the leaker? Now Trump can sic his attack dogs on them and let it loose. Next year is going to be really fun to watch.
ALEX JONES (HOST): No, I agree. He's got to move quickly and just come out and say here's the evidence, Hillary, Podesta, communist Chinese, Russia, grand jury, start indicting them. And go, “Oh I'm Nixonian? No, I'm one hundred times worse.” Nixon didn't do anything. Nixon got set up by the deep state to be removed so they could run everything. We've basically had kept presidents ever since. That's all about to end. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/10/17]
Jones: “We’re about to have nuclear war, folks; it’s time to arrest Hillary Clinton.” Jones called for Clinton and others to be arrested during his April 5 broadcast, saying, “I’ve never talked like this in 20 years. Folks, these people all must be rounded up. I’m sorry”:
DOUG HAGMANN: I would expect the next 72 hours to be critical in terms of the information that’ll be coming out. And I’m going to be very interested to see -- and Alex I’m wondering what your thoughts are -- will we see [former National Security Advisor] Susan Rice testify under oath in front of a Senate committee or will it just be --?
ALEX JONES (HOST): She should be hauled in front of it and she should be indicted immediately. She clearly committed crimes, they lied to the public and said they didn’t do this. I mean, arrest them all.
HAGMANN: Exactly. What I’m hearing is --
JONES: We’re about to have nuclear war, folks; it’s time to arrest Hillary Clinton. We’ve got to save the country. The world’s never been in more danger. They’re the ones that made everything radical. Kim Jong-un, Hillary, all these other scumbags, [President of the European Commission Jean-Claude] Juncker, all of them need to be arrested. They’re all calling for war. They’re all involved in criminal activity. Arrest all of them. I’m serious.
HAGMANN: Yeah, no I -- 100 percent behind you. And I think that while Americans don’t have --
JONES: We can’t wait. The world is in too much danger. We have to stop these people. And I’ve never talked like this in 20 years. Folks, these people all must be rounded up. I’m sorry. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 4/5/17]
Jones urged Trump to use violence to protect the president’s family. In a video suggesting a coup attempt was underway against Trump, Jones addressed Trump directly to say: “You must go on the offense. This is war. You think George Washington kicked the Redcoats' ass just with information? No.” From the March 5 edition of The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES: But you need a set time every day that you go live. They try to say as the president, you shouldn't have a Twitter. Hell, next you shouldn't have blood flowing through your veins. I mean, God, everybody knows you can't talk to foreign leaders as president, and God knows you can't breathe oxygen, and God knows you can't have a Twitter. They want to isolate you, they want to lie about you, and they're not going to stop. You put your family, your treasure on the line, they're going to destroy your family if you don't win.
And let your family know this. I know they're smart. I know your sons are strong. But let the people in your family know there’s no coming back from this. This is total war. They're not going to let your family roll over, even if you're destroyed. Oh, they will let them roll over at first and then destroy them as well. They're going to destroy you, they're going to destroy Barron, they're going to destroy Eric, they're going to destroy Donald Jr., they're going to destroy me, they're going to destroy Matt Drudge, they're going to destroy Ron Paul, they're going to destroy anybody, like [White House senior adviser] Stephen Bannon, that actually stood up for the little people, because that example can't be allowed. Because if you let one ant stand up, they might all stand up, and those little ants outnumber the parasites a thousand to one. If they want a war, let's let them have it. Now, they're getting their ass kicked in the economy. Your approval ratings are going up. Sir, they don't care. They're going to intimidate and pay off and roll people in your second-level operation to try to burn you. You must go on the offense. This is war. You think George Washington kicked the Redcoats' ass just with information? No. We tried to start this country peacefully; they wouldn't let us. And the rebirth of this country -- and I want peaceful resistance in the info war -- but through your office and through the attorney general they're already trying to broke-back and hamstring. These criminals are all on the Communist Chinese and Russian payroll. They're the ones who sold us out to every foreign interest -- that's what globalism is. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/5/17]
Jones said he was prepared to shoot minorities during a race war. Claiming that “globalists” are fomenting a race war in the United States, Jones said if a “big hoard of people are coming down the street for me and my family shooting guns off in the air and burning buildings, I’m going to light up whoever I’ve got to to defend my family. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): The point is George Soros and the globalists know there is a rebellion against the corrupt government. They know there is a mass awakening. They want to short-circuit it with a bunch of race baiting, race fighting, and everybody killing each other. It’s in the WikiLeaks: They’re trying to start a race war.
JONES: I’ve got security, I’ve got firearms, I live defended, behind a gate, behind walls. If there was a race war in this country, it’s going to be the minorities that share the main brunt of the slaughterhouse. And that’s not a threat -- that’s a fact. But why would I feel good if you got killed? I’m trying to keep you from aborting your children.
JONES: A lot of folks say, “Shut up, Alex. Let Gates do this, let the U.N. do it. Hey I’m not racist, but they’re coming after us. Why are you exposing all of this?” Because I have to tell the truth, and I have to tell you what’s going on. Doesn’t mean Black Lives Matter is going to listen. Doesn’t mean MEChA and La Raza are going to listen. And it doesn’t mean if down the road we fail to stop this race war, big hoard of people are coming down the street for me and my family shooting guns off in the air and burning buildings, I’m going to light up whoever I’ve got to to defend my family. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it. I’ll do what has to be done, just like I’ve done in the information war. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/10/17]
Jones threatened to “beat” “cocksucker” congressman’s “goddamn ass.” Jones ranted about Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in a March 30 video posted to his YouTube channel, using several anti-LGBT slurs to attack Schiff including “cocksucker” and “fairy.” Angered by Schiff’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and Jones’ claim Schiff said he was involved, Jones said, “You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit.” During his rant, Jones said to Schiff, “Fill your hand,” a reference to picking up a gun. From the March 30 edition of Genesis Communications Network’s The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES: Let me say this right now. Let me tell -- I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But [Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)] looks like the archetypal cocksucker with those little deer-in-the-headlight eyes and all his stuff. And there’s something about this fairy, hopping around, bossing everybody around, trying to intimidate people like me and you. I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them, “Hey listen. asshole, quit saying Roger and I” -- and I’ve never used cussing in 22 years, but the gloves are off -- “listen you son of a bitch, what the fuck’s your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. You fucking goddamn fucker. Listen fuckhead, you have fucking crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn fucking head. Stop pushing your shit. You’re the people that have fucked this country over and gang raped the shit out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that, you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand.” I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent -- those are fucking fighting words. Excuse me.
STONE: Yeah, I don’t think I have ever been in a campaign in which we disparage the patriotism of our opponents. Now, I’m not going to go there. But I think Adam Schiff has acted irresponsibly and I think he needs to be confronted with his exact words.
Jones spoke of his desire to break Alec Baldwin’s neck because Baldwin parodied Trump on Saturday Night Live. Jones accused Baldwin of defaming Trump and challenged him to a “bare knuckle” charity fight, where, Jones said, “I will break your jaw, I will knock your teeth out, I will break your nose, and I will break your neck”:
ALEX JONES: Alec Baldwin thinks he is a tough guy, I challenge him a million dollars to the charity he wants to get in the ring with me, bare knuckle. I will. I'll do it right now. I'll get in the ring with you and I will break your jaw, I will knock your teeth out, I will break your nose, and I will break your neck. You coward, you think you're tough guy, messing with little cameramen people.
You want to sit there and defame me and the president? Get in the ring with me. I will break your jaw in seconds. I will smash your nose into a bloody pulp, and I will whack your teeth out. My fists are going to bleeding with your teeth marks all over them. You frickin' bully, you coward. I hate you, my listeners hate you and remember that, scumbag, forever. [Laughter] We're going to defeat this anti-human scum. We're going to wreck their world. When I come back, we’ll look at the coward at Homeland. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/13/17]
Jones suggested Bernie Sanders supporters "need to have your jaws broken." Jones addressed supporters of Sanders by stating, "You need to have your jaws broken." He attacked Sanders supporters as "pathetic scum" who think they're "sexy with their hammer and sickle on." Jones added they'll eventually "burn in the camps later wishing [they'd] done something." Following criticism, Jones claimed he was speaking “figuratively.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 2/5/16, via Right Wing Watch; Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 2/10/16]
The National Rifle Association’s broadcast platform NRATV has launched its latest attack against freedom of the press, this time targeting The Washington Post, calling the newspaper a “fake news outlet” and claiming it is where “journalism dies.”
On July 11, the Post published an article calling an NRATV video about political unrest in the U.S. “dark.” The article noted that the video condemned “Democratic politicians, the media and activists as the catalysts for political upheaval” in this country, “with one glaring omission: firearms.” According to the article, the video focused on “political discussions” around public safety during civil unrest, “with less clear connections to Second Amendment rights.”
On July 17, NRATV released a response video featuring NRATV host Grant Stinchfield, who called out the Post reporter by name and slammed him for “tell[ing] us we can’t have an opinion unless it’s about guns.”
The video also accused the Post of “spreading lies about those who disagree with their radical agenda” and said the newspaper is pushing “organized anarchy” that is “destroying our country.” Stinchfield went on to claim, “You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm.”
Less than one day after the video’s release, The New York Times’ Max Fisher tweeted that the video is “edging right up to the line of endorsing violence against journalists,” while HuffPost called it “disturbing.”
Despite the mounting criticism, Stinchfield doubled down on his video during the noon edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield on July 18, claiming the newspaper uses its “keyboards as weapons of destruction”:
GRANT STINCHFIELD: The Washington Post is out of line. They claim to uphold the standards of journalism when, in fact, they use their keyboards as weapons of destruction as they try to tear apart the Trump administration in an effort not just to destroy him, but to destroy America, and it is wrong.
This video is just the latest in a growing number of attacks the NRA has launched against both the press and freedom of the press since Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president and was ultimately elected. During an October 26, 2016, broadcast, Stinchfield characterized dissent against Trump as an “assault against … the Constitution.” A month later, during a November 29 broadcast, Stinchfield called “mainstream” media “dishonest and downright dirty,” suggesting that it is “anti-patriotic” to report critically on Trump and his transition team, and said that the media instead “needs to get on board.”
After The New York Times ran an advertisement during this year’s Oscar awards about the importance of journalism, the NRA fired back with its own 75-second ad claiming Americans have “stopped looking to The New York Times for the truth.” And in April, the NRA announced a “series of messages” against the newspaper, which the organization claims has “gone on the offensive to take away your liberties.”
On Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum, host Martha MacCallum slammed an Oregon bill that would protect reproductive health care for all -- including undocumented immigrants. MacCallum used the segment to misinform about the bill, combining xenophobic statements about immigrants with misinformation about so-called “sex-selective” and late-term abortions. In reality, the Oregon bill correctly treats abortion as an essential part of health care and ensures access for the most vulnerable communities -- measures that are particularly important as Congress threatens to decimate the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood.
The Oregon bill, titled the Reproductive Health Equity Act, requires insurance providers to cover a range of reproductive services, including abortion, regardless of income, citizenship status, or gender identity. The bill also includes a trigger law that would go into effect to protect the legal right to an abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. As Slate explained, “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, abortion care won’t immediately become illegal,” but instead will go back to the states. Oregon’s trigger law therefore ensures the protections of Roe will remain in place, unless the Oregon legislature repeals the protection. The bill has passed Oregon’s legislature and is expected to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown.
Nevertheless, during the July 13 edition of The Story, MacCallum mischaracterized the bill, claiming it would force “insurers and taxpayers to fund free abortions for virtually any reason, at any time, including sex-selective and late-term abortions.” MacCallum alleged that the bill was “radical” and that opponents had called it “grisly” and “appalling.” MacCallum also continued the long history of Fox hosts invoking undocumented immigrants as a scare tactic to rile up their right-wing audience. As her colleagues on Special Report with Bret Baier, Happening Now, and America's Newsroom had previously done when reporting on the Oregon bill, MacCallum peppered her segment with outrage that bill provided so-called "illegal immigrants" with access to abortion and reproductive health care.
As the United States Congress threatens to eliminate access to abortion and reproductive health care, Oregon is moving to protect access -- for everyone, regardless of their citizenship status, gender identity, or income. Here are the myths MacCallum presented about "sex-selective" and late-term abortions to attack the Oregon bill, and the facts that counter them:
During the July 13 segment, MacCallum repeatedly pushed the myth that the Oregon bill would enable so-called “sex-selective” abortions, alleging that the bill would say “it’s OK for someone to decide because they don’t like the sex of their baby to abort it at eight months." Fox News and the right-wing media have long promoted this myth, which was pushed by anti-abortion groups in order to encourage state and federal legislatures to introduce or pass bills restricting abortion.
The Oregon bill includes no language about "sex-selective" abortions -- probably because no such procedure is legally practiced or promoted in the United States. Instead, the discussion of "sex-selective" abortions appears to be an allegation conjured directly from right-wing media. As the National Review speciously complained, because the bill did not expressly "prohibit sex-selective abortions," the natural consequences would be that an "insurer has no choice but to cover that."
Bans against “sex-selective” abortion have no basis in scientific research or the medical practices of abortion providers. In a study conducted in Illinois and Pennsylvania following the enactment of “sex-selective” abortion bans in those states, researchers found that “the bans were not associated with changes in sex ratios at birth.” Laws banning “sex-selective” abortions also rely on “false stereotypes and misleading language” to allow providers to deny access to people of color, particularly Asian Americans. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum found that “these bans are detrimental to the reproductive health of Black and Asian American women” and violate the trust in a doctor and patient relationship by “turning a doctor into an interrogator of any woman seeking an abortion, especially women of color.”
MacCallum consistently fearmongered about what she described as the Oregon bill’s promotion of “abortion on demand” or even “full-term” abortions. At one point, MacCallum argued that the bill would allow “free abortions for virtually any reason at any time” and alleged that it would enable “late-term, even full-term, abortions.” These are all talking points used by right-wing media to create unease about late-term abortions and promote limitations on abortion access. In reality, abortion is a personal decision, like any other health care decision, and has been specifically protected by the Supreme Court as such. In contrast to MacCallum’s argument, late-term abortions are extremely rare and performed largely for medically necessary, or health-related, reasons.
The personal accounts of the people who’ve actually had late-term abortions are far more representative than what Fox News continually invokes. A woman profiled in a ThinkProgress article about late-term abortion described her pregnancy with twins as “the most wanted and planned pregnancy ever,” but after her one of the twins died and the other was discovered to have a fatal birth defect, an abortion was necessary to save her life.
Although MacCallum used the Oregon bill as an opportunity to recycle all of right-wing media’s favorite myths about late-term abortion, in reality it has little to do with the type of abortion allowed. Instead, the bill prevents insurance providers from denying people coverage based on immigration status, income, or gender identity. Unfortunately, segments like this are not uncommon on Fox. As a study by Media Matters found, Fox News frequently and consistently uses its platform to advance inaccurate information on abortion.
The Women’s March group gathered at the headquarters of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Fairfax, VA on July 14 to denounce the organization’s recent incendiary, hateful video and its silence around the death of Philando Castile. Media Matters was there and spoke to activists and protesters.
Here's what they had to say about the NRA, gun violence, and the media:
Following widespread criticism over an inflammatory video from the National Rifle Association that called on supporters to use the “clenched fist of truth” against critics of President Donald Trump, the organization has repeatedly doubled down and issued more statements that falsely conflate dissent against Trump with violence. The organization proceeded to lob smears against Women’s March participants and co-founders after they announced an 18-mile march to protest the NRA on July 14.
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Tucker Carlson is readily providing anti-choice extremists with a platform and a message that appeals to his radical base
When he’s not busy harassing Teen Vogue columnists, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has made a habit of hosting anti-abortion activists and packaging their misinformation and lies in a way that appeals to his base of “alt-right” extremists and Reddit trolls.
Since the white nationalists’ golden boy scored a prime-time spot in the Fox News lineup, he has gained a reputation for bullying and insulting his guests, deceptively editing segments, and even booking actors to represent highly curated versions of “opposing viewpoints” to his own. His most recent trick, however, appears to be hosting anti-abortion extremists and giving them a platform to cry “censorship” while simultaneously spreading misinformation about abortion.
Although Carlson is no stranger to hosting anti-abortion guests -- a Media Matters study found that he did so frequently over the span of a year -- his more recent segments have heavily relied on the false proposition that anti-abortion groups or individuals are somehow being censored.
Alleging censorship is a common tactic among anti-abortion activists to rally support and rile up sympathetic right-wing media audiences. And for his part, Carlson appears more than willing to amplify such voices and give them an even larger platform from which they can spread their misinformation to millions.
For example, on June 26, Carlson hosted anti-choice activist Lila Rose for a segment about Twitter’s alleged censorship of ads by her organization, Live Action. During the segment, Rose argued that Twitter was secretly “blocking the advertisement of pro-life speech” by not allowing Live Action to buy ads on the platform. Rose frequently referenced what she called the “hate and sensitive” policy as the reason for the ads being rejected.
In reality, the so-called “hate and sensitive” policy is Twitter’s “sensitive advertising content policy” -- guidelines that are publicly available and a far cry from being a means of censorship. Despite this, Carlson ramped up his incredulity and further sensationalized Rose’s claims, calling Twitter’s decision “an atrocity” and alleged that Twitter was treating Live Action’s tweets like “hate speech.”
Previously, Rose appeared on the May 31 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight to promote deceptive footage from the discredited anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Before her appearance, federal Judge William Orrick had barred the release of the footage, and ultimately required all copies of the illicitly spread footage be removed from the internet. Ignoring the substance of these orders, Carlson and Rose alleged the videos had been censored, and attacked Orrick for being biased. At one point, Carlson suggested that the footage should be shared in spite of the court order because “if there was ever a time for civil disobedience, it seems like some might think this would be the time.”
On June 9, Carlson hosted CMP founder David Daleiden on his program to continue this line of attack on Orrick and advance the narrative that anti-abortion misinformation was being censored. During the segment, Daleiden alleged he was a victim of “viewpoint discrimination” and detailed evidence of Orrick’s supposed “pre-existing personal bias and prejudice” against anti-abortion groups that should “disqualify” him from the case.
Just as with Rose’s appearances, Carlson acted as an instigator for Daleiden -- amplifying outrage, crying censorship, and fanning the already over-inflated persecution complex of his anti-choice guest. Carlson called Orrick’s order to bar the footage from release “a clear violation of free expression” and complained that it was “totally un-American” as well as “completely authoritarian and insane.”
One would think that sustaining this level of outrage over exaggerated censorship claims would be exhausting, but it appears Carlson’s ability to conjure expressions of faux incredulity and take offense from phantom injury knows no bounds. And regardless of the veracity of these censorship claims, the frequency with which Carlson fuels and spreads them is a dangerous tactic meant to specifically appeal to the radicalized base of his show’s viewers.
Media Matters has consistently documented Carlson’s history of noxious commentary about any number of topics. Notably, it’s his very commitment to attacking women, people of color, and the most vulnerable -- while positioning proponents of those attacks as victims of persecution or censorship -- that has appealed to Carlson’s “alt-right” base the most. In fact, it's become common for "alt-right" and white supremacist trolls to harass guests on the program if they don't agree with Carlson's extreme views.
As Rewire’s Amy Littlefield explained, the tactic of attacking so-called media bias has also been largely embraced by the anti-choice movement. Reporting on the most recent National Right to Life Conference, Littlefield noted that there had been a “general tenor of anti-journalism throughout the conference, as speaker after speaker condemned and mocked outlets from the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN.” In one particularly revealing moment, Littlefield noted that Daleiden refused to speak with her claiming that Rewire was not only “American Pravda,” but also “very fake news.”
Being wrong about abortion and reproductive rights is nothing new to Carlson. What’s different, though, and potentially more dangerous, is Carlson’s latest trick: manufacturing, amplifying, and ultimately over-inflating claims of censorship made by anti-abortion extremists in order to convince his radical base that it would be “un-American” not to rally behind their cause.
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NRA’s Dana Loesch on video that conflated dissent against Trump with violence: “It’s a fantastic ad”
National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch doubled down on her earlier video that characterized dissent against President Donald Trump as “the violence of lies” that needed to be countered with the “clenched fist of truth.” Loesch said she was “proud” of the video and “endorse[d]” it “personally.”
In the ad, which was originally posted on the YouTube page of NRA’s news outlet NRATV in April 2017, Loesch claimed that in their opposition to Trump, left-wing Americans “scream racism, and sexism, and xenophobia, and homophobia, [and] bully and terrorize the law-abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.” She went on to say the only way to save “our country and our freedom” is with “the clenched fist of truth.”
The video drew widespread criticism after NRATV reposted it on its Facebook page on June 28. In a June 29 article, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp called the video “chilling” and said it “comes this close to calling for a civil war against liberals.” The same day, ThinkProgress’ Aaron Rupar wrote a piece saying the video “stops just short of calling for violence against … progressives.”
During the noon edition of NRATV’s program Stinchfield, which provides live updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, Loesch, who is also an NRATV commentator, doubled down on the spot, calling it a “fantastic ad” that “holds up a mirror to the violent aspects of the left.” Loesch denied that she was inciting violence in the ad, saying that she meant “meeting that violence with simple truth and simple peaceful ideas”:
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Dana, this video is like two and a half months old. I’m glad it's getting attention, it got some attention before. More people to watch it, the better in my book.
DANA LOESCH: Absolutely, and Grant, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, I am proud of this ad and I endorse personally the message of this ad. It’s a fantastic ad and it holds up a mirror to the violent aspects of the left. And, Grant, we have seen this time and time again. We saw this violence in Chicago during the campaign for the general election. We saw this violence in the streets of Washington, D.C., during the inauguration -- where there were not just a few, mind you, but a number of a very far leftists who thought that breaking store windows, arson, property damage, physical assault, setting fires in the middle of the street, et cetera, et cetera -- that these were all forms of protected speech and that they were generally acceptable forms of dissent to a fair election. And then of course, Grant, we have seen time and time again on college campuses, individuals react so physically, hostilely to a simple difference of opinion. And so they set fire on their college campuses and once again we see arson, and we see property destruction, and we see physical assault over and over again. I know, Grant, that I don't have to remind you or anyone else of what happened sadly just two weeks ago when a leftist went to a ballfield with a list of Republican congressmen and decided to open fire on GOP congressional members because they were simply Republicans. Now with this ad, Grant, when I say the clenched fists of truth, I mean the clenched fists of truth. And this is where I get the inspiration for that line. Everybody knows what this is, right? Everybody can recognize this? It’s the symbol of the resistance movement. It’s the symbol of the movement that by and large has sanctioned the violence of which I speak. It has sanctioned the arson, and the property destruction, and it has sanctioned the physical assault. So, I didn’t say meet fist with fist. And I didn’t even mention anywhere in this ad to go and purchase a firearm. I specifically, Grant, said clenched fist, not of physical altercation like they promote, but of truth. Meeting in the battleground of ideas, meeting that violence with simple truth and simple, peaceful ideas. That is what we have always been about, and even in the face of continued aggression and violence and destruction from the left, that is what we will continue to be about.