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Infowars

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  • Infowars co-host says Democrats break election laws; also confesses he'll vote in a district he doesn't live in

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Harrison Smith, a contributor to Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet, said that he is going to vote in a district he doesn’t live in because he failed to update his voter registration before Texas’ deadline. The comment came during a segment in which Smith introduced himself as one of the co-hosts of a new Infowars show focused on 2018 midterm election coverage and accused Democrats of breaking election laws.

    Smith announced the new show during the October 9 edition of Infowars’ weekday afternoon show War Room, which is broadcast on Facebook, Infowars.com, and through terrestrial radio. War Room host Owen Shroyer and Jones will join Smith in hosting the show, which will air for two hours every weeknight until the November 6 elections under the banner “Banned 2018 Midterm Election Coverage.” Disturbingly, Infowars’ claims about elections have been previously promoted by the president: Trump’s lie that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” originated with the outlet.

    Speaking to Shroyer, Smith encouraged listeners to register to vote before deadlines to “match these numbers that the Democrats are talking about,” and then said, “Don’t put it off until the last day like I admit I did. I was on my way to the post office to mail my voter registration when I get a call saying, ‘Hey, can you host the War Room today?’ So I will have to go back to my old district to vote this year.” Shroyer responded, “Oh, my gosh. I cost you a vote.”

    Texas law requires that individuals who move from one county to another submit a new voter registration application in person or via mail. Smith, who is based in Austin, TX, where Infowars’ studios are located, does not appear in public records of voters registered in Travis County, where Austin is located. He does, however, have an active voter registration in a different Texas county located more than 150 miles from Austin that started on January 1 and runs through 2019. Texas has been hypervigilant in prosecuting illegal voting cases, even in instances where the person being prosecuted didn’t realize they were violating voting laws.

    Moments later, Shroyer accused Democrats of violating election laws. Shroyer said that Democrats are trying to “rig” the upcoming elections by eliminating the Electoral College, advocating for 16-year-olds to vote, and “obviously the old story, the non-citizen vote, the illegal immigrant vote.”

    Shroyer told Infowars supporters, “Go to a Democrat event in your town where they’re registering people to vote and you watch them politicize it and force their hand, make them admit they’re politicizing it, make them admit they’re out there recruiting for Democrats, catch them on camera, then say, ‘Guess what, buddy? I just caught you breaking the law.’”

    Shroyer suggested reporting election law violations to Texas officials and said, “Better watch out, Democrats, your desperation is leading you down a long, dark pathway of illegal criminal behavior that’s going to catch up with you.” Smith responded, “If only law applied to Democrats like it does to conservatives.”

  • Fox & Friends hosts founder of astroturfed #WalkAway “movement” who has appeared on Infowars

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox & Friends is promoting an astroturfed social media “movement,” the #WalkAway campaign, that has been hyped on The Alex Jones Show and promoted by social media bots.

    On the October 2 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt interviewed Brandon Straka, the supposed founder of the #WalkAway campaign, which encourages voters to “walk away” from the Democratic Party. During the appearance, Straka complained of an apparent “dishonesty” within the “liberal media,” promoting his hashtag, website, and an upcoming “march on Washington” in the process.

    Straka’s “movement” is really an astroturfed social media campaign that has been amplified by both Infowars and Russian bots. Since early July, when the hashtag began to trend on Twitter, Straka himself has appeared on multiple Infowars shows to promote his so-called movement, and an analysis of the hashtag on Twitter found it to be a “psychological operation” aimed at shaping conversations in cable news segments, such as his appearance on Fox & Friends. According to multiple analyses, the hashtag's spread was largely driven by non-human activity, and accounts that tweeted in support of the “movement” had used pro-Trump hashtags such as #maga, #fakenews, and #qanon before they “walked away” from the Democratic Party. Moreover, according to Snopes, the campaign’s supporters have promoted the hashtag with misleading stock photos of people who had supposedly “walked away” from the Democratic Party, though Straka claims the photos were not actually created by the campaign itself.

    From the October 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): We see your t-shirt. How did you become a conservative? You were a liberal and now you are a conservative activist?

    BRANDON STRAKA (FOUNDER, #WALKAWAY CAMPAIGN): Nice. Well, it's a bit of a long story. But, in general, what it was was, I really came to the realization that the liberal media was incredibly dishonest throughout the campaign of Donald Trump, creating a narrative about who he was and who his followers were. And that really opened my eyes to their dishonesty. I actually think he is a really amazing president, and I think that the people in this country who support him are really good people, but they have gotten a really bad shake from the liberal media.

    EARHARDT: Do you think that there are other people that feel the way do you and they’re just being quiet about it? Because we saw in the election, a lot of people were too afraid to say that they were supporting the president.

    STRAKA: Right, well, this is what I say all the time in the campaign is that it is time for the silent majority to become un-silent, and that's really what's happening, I think, with the #WalkAway campaign. It's a testimonial campaign, and people are creating their testimonials, and they're finding the courage to speak their truth for the first time. It's really created a network of support. In fact, we have a #WalkAway march on Washington next month, which is really going to be a massive demonstration of solidarity.

    EARHARDT: So it's walk away from the Democratic Party and support us?

    STRAKA: Absolutely.

  • Right-wing fever swamps are now smearing Christine Blasey Ford over her high school yearbooks

    Alex Jones baselessly identified a yearbook picture of a girl in a miniskirt as Ford in order to call her “captain of the sluts”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    An emerging attack on Christine Blasey Ford falsely claims that her high school yearbooks undermine her account of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulting her while they were in high school.

    The yearbook pages in question don’t include any information that reflects negatively on Ford or contradicts any part of her account, but she is now being smeared over their contents. Those launching the attack include prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who baselessly identified a photo of a girl wearing a skirt as Ford in order to claim she was promiscuous in high school -- as though such a claim would in any way excuse or negate sexual assault.

    According to Jones and Infowars, excerpts from the yearbooks were first published by a blog called Cult of the First Amendment. A September 19 post on that blog appears to show scanned pages of yearbooks from Holton-Arms School, Ford’s high school.

    The yearbook excerpts describe underage drinking and, in two cases, racially insensitive outfits worn by several Holton-Arms students. But Ford is pictured only once in the images, sitting with two friends at a Halloween party.

    While Ford’s face was shown, the vast majority of the other faces shown in the pictures are covered by a black bar, with the blog noting, “In this report, last names have been redacted and faces obscured, other than the picture of Chrissy Blasey seen below.” Infowars shared the blog post in a September 20 article that suggested that the material somehow undermines Ford’s account.

    Jones also covered the article during the September 20 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, in which he repeatedly defamed Ford.

    Jones seized on a picture from the yearbook that shows a girl posing in a skirt. The girl pictured has a black bar covering her face, and neither the Infowars aggregation nor Cult of the First Amendment identified the individual as Ford (nor did the original yearbook page, as shown on either site). Still, Jones not only repeatedly said it was her in the photo but also suggested that the person’s decision to wear a miniskirt -- which, to be clear, is innocuous in its own right and not probative of anything -- made her a “hussy” and “captain of the sluts.”

    Jones said, “We need Judge Kavanaugh to still testify next week and to have big blown-up poster boards with Christine Blasey Ford spreading her legs in the high school yearbooks,” and he said she was pictured “in stockings up to her knees and miniskirts, provocatively putting her hand behind her head and showing everything but her panties.”

    He also said of the photo, “That means, ‘I want you to climb on top of me right now,’”before claiming she “appears to be a hussy” and that she is “the definition of a trainwreck fraud.”

    Jones also mischaracterized other material in the yearbooks, falsely claiming they described “how much Chrissy loved passing out and how Chrissy couldn’t remember anything, and that was good because then she would have plausible deniability.”

    Later in the broadcast, Jones returned to the yearbook smear to call a high school-aged Ford “captain of the sluts.”

    This smear has spread to fake news website True Pundit and far-right Twitter accounts, following a similar path to previous bogus attacks on Ford.

  • Video: Conservatives dismiss Christine Blasey Ford's report that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    When California professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward to say President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were high school students, right-wing media smeared her as an “opportunist,” questioned the timing of her allegations, complained this is "an attempted political assassination of a character,” argued Ford needs to be pressed about her "political bias," and more:

  • Trump ally Eric Bolling goes on The Alex Jones Show

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Eric Bolling joined conspiracy theorist Alex Jones as a guest on the September 12 edition of his Infowars show. Bolling is a former Fox News host who was fired for reportedly sending an “unsolicited photo of male genitalia” to co-workers.

    Despite his alleged sexual misconduct and his history of bigotry and conspiracy theorizing, Bolling was given a show on Fox host Mark Levin’s CRTV, home of like-minded bigot and misogynist Gavin McInnes. Bolling, who is close to President Donald Trump, has made promotional appearances on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and other mainstream news shows.

    Infowars was recently removed from several digital platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for violating community guidelines. On the same episode that featured Bolling, Jones also hosted Roosh Valizadeh. Valizadeh, known online as Roosh, is a misogynist who wrote nine books that have been banned from Amazon and gained fame online as a “pickup artist” by pushing suggestions including that women should fund sex workers’ services for frustrated “incels” (involuntary celibates) to prevent them from killing people.

    Bolling’s appearance on Infowars was devoted to debating Jones about the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

    Bolling has a close relationship with Trump, something he has often reminded audiences of, boasting about the longevity of their relationship, publicizing the instances in which Trump has called his cell phone, and using the connection to promote his business ventures (his CRTV show and his book, which Trump tweeted about). He has periodically visited the White House, both in an official capacity as an advisor to Trump on the administration’s anti-opioid initiative and in a social capacity during French President Emmanuel Macron’s official visit. And he has also leveraged his “high level” access for scoops and on-site appearances for his CRTV show.

    Bolling currently uses the limited reach of his program to shill for Trump and provide a platform to the president’s hype people, but for years at Fox, he promoted extremist conspiracy theories including the claim that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

    More recently, Bolling endorsed far-right Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward, who lost her race. Ward has been an administrator of a racist Facebook group that promoted conspiracy theories, and she associated with “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist and date rape denialist Mike Cernovich during her campaign.

  • Infowars uses 9/11 anniversary to promote conspiracy theories about the attacks, sell products on Facebook

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet marked the 17th anniversary of 9/11 by posting a video to Facebook that pushed conspiracy theories about the terror attacks while urging listeners to buy Infowars brand nutritional supplements.

    While Facebook banned four pages associated with Jones in August for repeatedly violating the website’s hate speech and bullying policies, it took no action against a page operated by the Infowars show War Room. During the evening of September 10, War Room posted a video with the title “Do American’s (sic) Still Believe the Official 9/11 Story” to its page. The 15-minute video is a clip from that day’s edition of War Room, which is broadcast on Facebook, among other places.

    During the video, War Room co-host Owen Shroyer pushed a panoply of conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attack. (Infowars founder Alex Jones calls himself one of the “founding fathers of the 9/11 truth movement.”)

    The discussion of 9/11 began when a caller claimed that the hijackers who carried out the attack were “patsies.” Shroyer then called on the “Infowars army” to do man-on-the-street interviews to ask people, “Do you believe the official narrative of 9/11? Did you know about Building 7? Do you know about [World Trade Center leaseholder] Larry Silverstein taking out an insurance program just a week before? Did you know [then-national security advisor] Condoleezza Rice was warned not to get on an airplane that day?”

    9/11 conspiracy theorists often claim that Building 7, a property adjacent to the Twin Towers that collapsed following the attacks, was actually brought down by a controlled demolition. Silverstein was required to buy insurance for the World Trade Center, although conspiracy theorists such as Shroyer use the purchase of the policy to claim he had advance knowledge of the attacks. Likewise, conspiracy theorists have also claimed that Rice had pre-knowledge of the attacks due to the unsubstantiated claim that she warned then-San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown not to fly on that day.

    Later in the video, while showing video of one of the World Trade Center plane strikes, Shroyer said that “some people” say that footage of the attacks was a “projected image.”

    The 9/11 conspiracy theories Shroyer pushed were sandwiched in between two promotional segments for Infowars products that accounted for about five minutes of the 15-minute video. During the first pitch, Shroyer said that people should buy the products because Infowars’ situation is “desperate.”  If Infowars is actually in financial peril, at least it can still count on using Facebook to help fund the operation and line Alex Jones’ pockets.

  • While Twitter's taking action on Alex Jones is good, the process raises serious questions

    Angelo Carusone: "It wasn’t until Jones came face-to-face with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that Jones was permanently banned from the platform"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Moments ago, Twitter permanently banned Alex Jones and Infowars from its platform. Earlier this summer, Jones and Infowars were removed by other major tech companies like Apple, Facebook and YouTube. According to Twitter, the ban comes after Alex Jones and Infowars repeatedly violated the company’s abusive behavior policies. Shortly after being banned today, Jones appeared on an Infowars show on Twitter’s Periscope.

    In reaction to the announcement, Media Matters President Angelo Carusone issued the following statement:

    Media Matters has monitored Alex Jones longer than anyone and has dozens of documented incidents of him violating the rules on with impunity, so the most important thing to be said about his removal from Twitter is: Good. It’s about time.

    But, Alex Jones has pushed dangerous conspiracy theories with real life consequences for years and in recent weeks Twitter took measly half measures to limit his actions platform. Twitter was the last major tech platform to see what is obvious -- Jones used Twitter in clear violation of the rules to perpetuate hate speech and harassment.

    Alex Jones’ harrassment of CNN’s Oliver Darcy was par for the course for Jones’ behavior -- Twitter is using it to save face and ban him now. It wasn’t until Jones came face-to-face with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that Jones was permanently banned from the platform, raising serious questions about when and how Twitter is willing to enforce its terms of service.

    There are already troubling signs that Twitter does not understand the full scope of Infowars’ accounts on it’s platforms.

    Previously:

    Twitter and Periscope finally ban Alex Jones and Infowars

    Twitter’s half measures against Alex Jones don’t make much sense unless he’s getting special treatment

    Despite bans, Alex Jones appears on Facebook and Periscope broadcasts to rant about “false flag” attacks

  • Twitter and Periscope finally ban Alex Jones and Infowars

    A day after Jones harassed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and numerous others on Capitol Hill, the social media platform finally enforces its policies against the conspiracy theorist and his outlet

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Twitter finally did what it should have done a month ago. The platform announced that it was removing Alex Jones and Infowars, citing a video posted to Twitter attacking CNN reporter Oliver Darcy.

    This permanent suspension comes weeks after Twitter had failed to enforce its standards after Darcy previously identified more than a dozen examples of Infowars content on the platform that appeared to violate the rules. Twitter told Darcy at the time that the content did in fact violate the rules -- but that because the tweets were deleted by Infowars, no action would be taken.

    During the evening of August 14, Twitter took action against Jones’ primary account after it sent a tweet that linked to a video on Periscope in which Jones called on his supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready:

    Twitter limited Jones' primary accounts for one week following that incident. Under the terms of the action, Jones was forced to delete the tweet linking to the Periscope video in order to start the countdown on a seven-day period in which the account was prohibited from tweeting. Jones found ways around that limitation and he was active on his @Infowars and @RealAlexJones accounts following their suspension until they were banned today.

    There are already troubling signs that Twitter does not understand the full scope of Infowars’ accounts on the platform. An account associated with Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars' editor-at-large, tweeted the same video about Darcy that Twitter cited in banning Jones, but it remains active and is currently tweeting about Jones' and Infowars' supposed ban from the platform. Since the ban was announced, Jones has already shown up on the Periscope for Infowars' show War Room, which was not banned either.

    Update: Via Jared Holt, War Room's Periscope page is no longer active.

  • Fox & Friends hosts a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has claimed the Parkland mass shooting was fake

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox & Friends provided a platform to a man who has repeatedly pushed the QAnon conspiracy theory, including sharing a post that claimed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, was “fake” and that student survivors of the shooting are “actors.”

    During the August 24 edition of Fox & Friends, the show hosted Jason Fyk, who was identified as an entrepreneur, along with Fyk’s attorney to discuss Fyk’s lawsuit against Facebook for “unlawfully silencing people … for its own financial gain.” During the interview, co-host Steve Doocy praised Fyk for using Facebook to build a business and pursuing “the American dream,” while Fyk compared himself to YouTube personalities Diamond and Silk, citing the duo’s false Facebook censorship claims.

    The show -- which President Donald Trump consistently watches -- did not disclose that Fyk has appeared multiple times on Infowars, the far-right conspiracy theory outlet that has been banned from multiple tech platforms for violating their hate speech and harassment policies. On his own Facebook profile, Fyk has also repeatedly promoted posts from “Q,” the supposed figure behind the QAnon conspiracy theory who claims that Trump has a master plan to dismantle child trafficking rings supposedly linked to powerful politicians and celebrities and defeat his perceived enemies and the “deep state.” (Three conspiracy theorists reportedly spread the conspiracy theory for financial gain.) In March, Fyk posted an image of a “Q” post calling the Parkland mass shooting “FAKE” and a “distraction” that was “organized & designed to DISTRACT” and that it featured “ACTORS [who] are ACTING.”

    Fyk also discussed QAnon in January while appearing on Infowars (which fully embraced the conspiracy theory early on), with an Infowars host saying to Fyk, “What do you think of these latest QAnon posts hot off the press? ‘Chuck Schumer will live in fear from today forward.’ This is turning out to be a really good day.” Fyk responded that it was “definitely a win for the right.”

    Trump himself may have also tweeted in response to Fyk's appearance when he claimed social media platforms were "silencing millions of people."