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Alex Jones

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  • Alleged Toronto attacker has confirmed links to misogynistic online communities

    While misogynistic online groups praised the attack and called for an uprising, right-wing conspiracy theorists and prominent far-right trolls blamed Islam and the alleged perpetrator’s ethnicity

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On April 23, Alek Minassian allegedly drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, killing 10 and injuring 15. In posts on Facebook that the social media company has confirmed as his, Minassian alluded to online message board 4chan’s women-hating “involuntary celibate” community (whose members call themselves “incels”). The "incel" community, part of the broader "men's rights" community, has cheered the attack, while right-wing conspiracy theorists and far-right trolls have blamed it on Islam.

    In his social media posts, Minassian also used the terms “Chads” and “Stacys,” which are often used by online “incel” communities to mean “attractive popular men who are sexually successful with women” and their female partners.

    In the same post, Minassian praised Elliot Rodger, who went on a killing rampage in Isla Vista, CA, in 2014 that Rodger described in a note as a “Day of Retribution” for his virginity, which he attributed to “the cruelness of women.” The incel community often celebrates and discusses Rodger, and in his post, Minassian wrote, “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

    The “incel” community celebrated Minassian online

    Sites linked to the “incel” community responded to Minassian’s attacks with violent memes, celebratory postings, and called for “More Trucks of Peace,” in apparent reference to the use of heavy vehicles to attack pedestrians. The most popular post had memes calling for a “Beta uprising” saying, “It’s now or never.” In the message thread, one poster complained about not having a “good enough weapon,” to which another member replied, “Get a car you cuck.”

    Far-right figures immediately connected the attack to Islam

    In the aftermath of the attack, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones scrambled to connect the attack to Islam during his live show. In a later video titled “Reporters Face Ten Years In Prison For Covering Islamic Truck Attack In Toronto,” Jones claimed that such truck attacks were “part of radical Islam” and said that the accent of the killer “sounds Islamic, sounds Middle Eastern.”

    Even after learning of the alleged killer’s ties to women-hating groups, Jones continued to link the attack to Islam during his April 24 broadcast, claiming that “he has an Islamic-sounding last name” and that “he’s a foreigner” and attributing the misogynistic aspects of the “incel” movement to Islam.

    Like Jones, prominent far-right internet trolls used the attack to smear Muslims and Islam on Twitter, mirroring conversations taking place on internet message boards Reddit and 4chan.

    Gavin McInnes, founder of the male chauvinist fraternal organization Proud Boys:

    Conspiracy theorist and online troll Laura Loomer:

    Infowars host Paul Joseph Watson:

    Leading anti-Muslim voice Pamela Geller:

    Troll account "Alba_Rising:"

    In a since-deleted Facebook post, the Canadian chapter of McInnes’ Proud Boys chimed in with anti-immigrant sentiments, stating, “The blood may be directly on the hands of the Trudeau regime for this latest terror attack.”

    Anti-Muslim and racist messaging quickly spread

    Fox News’ line of questioning suggested the attack had connections to ISIS. Immediately following a press conference in which authorities explained that the identity and motives of the attacker were still unknown, guest Howard Safir and host Maria Bartiromo discussed strategies to combat ISIS, suggesting to audiences a motive and connection that had not been confirmed by authorities.

    A Reddit thread connected the attack to Islam: “It's such a sad thing that civilized western nations are allowing this to happen. There's a reason why Islamic nations are in a constant state of tyranny or chaos”:

    A 4chan thread linked the tragedy to the QAnon conspiracy theory: A thread in the “politically incorrect” 4chan message board connected the attack to the Alex Jones-endorsed far-right conspiracy theory known as “The Storm” or QAnon. The conspiracy theory posits that President Donald Trump has a master plan to kneecap members of the “deep state” and that an intelligence officer with the highest clearance level is keeping people informed by posting anonymous messages and signing them as “Q.”

    4chan users called the attack “a government orchestrated false flag.”

    On YouTube, the channel ThePureVeritas claimed that the attacker was a “MUSLIM man.” The video is still up and has over 9,000 views.

    Hyperpartisan website Conservative Daily Post  also blamed Muslim immigrants for the attack:

    “While police have yet to reveal the motive behind the attack, the timing of the incident coupled with the cultural shift in Canada raises serious questions. … It also comes as Canada has become a hotbed for radical Islamic terrorism. Canada has not only allowed tens of thousands of Muslim migrants to assimilate to the nation, there has also been a dramatic uptick in crime against civilians. … [Trudeau’s] allowing Sharia Law to overtake Canada, and now innocent civilians aren’t even safe to walk down the street any longer.”

    Natalie Martinez and Alex Kaplan contributed research to this piece.

  • YouTube removed a compilation of Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook lies due to “harassment." His own videos are still up.

    Why does YouTube hold Alex Jones to a lower standard than other users?

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE

    Update: As of 1:50 p.m. ET, the video has been restored to YouTube. 

    On April 17, two Sandy Hook families announced defamation lawsuits against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. While Media Matters has long documented Jones’ claims that the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, CT, was staged, upon hearing the news of the legal action, my colleague Leanne Naramore made a compilation video of some of Jones’ attacks, which a cursory search showed no one had done before. Watch:

    At some point over the next five days, though, YouTube removed the video from its website. If you go to the link now, this is all you see:

    Upon logging into the YouTube account, we were greeted with this message:

    Yet here is a sampling of the Sandy Hook videos still live on Jones’ YouTube page, a number of which were used in making the compilation:

    In February, Jones’ YouTube page was reportedly one strike away from being banned. Shortly thereafter, a large number of advertisers pulled their ads from his channel; President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee kept airing ads on it, though.

    It is not clear why YouTube holds Alex Jones to a lower standard than it does other users. The Sandy Hook hoaxes are not the only example of harassment on his channel. It’s pervasive -- part of Jones’ entire brand.

    Meanwhile, research shows that YouTube’s algorithm directs users towards videos like the ones Jones posts, which the site then profits from. And while Facebook has undergone significant scrutiny in recent weeks, YouTube has thus far escaped significant criticism. There’s no better time than the present to change that.

  • Sandy Hook families are suing Alex Jones. This is what he said about the shooting.

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is being sued for defamation by the parents of two children who were killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, that left 20 students and six educators dead.

    Over the past five-and-a-half years, Jones has repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories about the tragedy, including casting doubt about whether it even happened or claiming that the shooting was staged by nefarious groups using actors.

    Jones has said the shooting has “inside job written all over it,” called it “synthetic, completely fake, with actors, in my view, manufactured,” claimed “the whole thing was fake,” said it was “staged,” called it a “giant hoax,” suggested that some victims’ parents lied about seeing their dead children, and pushed other toxic conspiracy theories:

  • Fox’s Steve Doocy uncritically pushes Russian smear about Syrian first responders

    Other pro-Trump and right-wing media figures have suggested the alleged chemical attack was a “false flag”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    During the coverage of possible American strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy uncritically pushed a Russian-backed smear against an organization of first responders on the ground in Syria called the Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets. While discussing the potential American response to the April 7 apparent chemical attack outside Damascus, Doocy said, “Some of it could be Russian propaganda, but I was reading this morning in Newsweek … that apparently this group called the White Helmets, … there are stories that they staged bodies to make it look like there was a gas attack.” From the April 12 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): There are these stories out there, and you've got to figure some of it could be Russian propaganda, but I was reading this morning in Newsweek, online because there is no print edition anymore, that apparently this group called the White Helmets, which used to be the Syrian defense organization, there are stories that they staged bodies to make it look like there was a gas attack. Meanwhile, you've got Russian media saying, "We sent investigators in, our military did, and they could not find any traces of any toxins or gas on any of the bodies."

    Doocy's co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt pushed back on Doocy’s comment, with Kilmeade saying, “Unbelievable, they really expect us to buy that?” What Doocy inadequately stipulated “could be Russian propaganda,” is, in fact, Russian propaganda. As it has been well-documented, the White Helmets have been “the target of an extraordinary disinformation campaign” that is “propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government (which provides military support to the Syrian regime).” According to Wired, the “smear campaign” against the first responders is “designed to bolster the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad and undermine its opponents, including the United States.”

    Doocy’s uncritical parroting of a smear against the Syrian first responders comes as numerous pro-Trump and right-wing media figures, such as Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and other conspiracy theorists have suggested the April 7 chemical attack was a “false flag.”

  • A Sinclair national correspondent frequently interviewed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for Russian-funded TV

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Before she became a national correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group, Kristine Frazao worked for the Kremlin-backed network RT (formerly Russia Today), where she interviewed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on more than 20 occasions. During those friendly interviews, Frazao allowed Jones to push conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks, 2011 Norway shooting, and 2005 London bombings, among other events.

    In an email to Media Matters, Frazao stated that being at RT had given her a “refreshing” opportunity to report “on less covered subjects” but said she's now “very glad” to no longer work there. She also said she had no role in booking Jones as a guest. 

    Sinclair Broadcast Group has drawn heavy criticism recently for mandating that its local news anchors participate in identical segments echoing President Donald Trump’s anti-press attacks. The company has a history of pushing conservative content on its local stations and currently requires them to air "must-run" segments featuring former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn.

    Frazao’s role within Sinclair and prior employment with RT have also come under scrutiny in recent days after she produced a March 21 segment in which “former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka parroted a Trump talking point regarding the existence of a ‘Deep State’ attempting to undermine the U.S. government,” as SeattlePI.com wrote. That segment aired on at least 22 stations in 15 states, according to a Media Matters review.

    Before joining Sinclair, Frazao worked as an anchor and correspondent for RT from December 2009 to January 2013. U.S. intelligence agencies and media observers have criticized the Kremlin-backed RT for airing propaganda and conspiracy theories over the years. RT was one of the early enablers of Alex Jones and his conspiratorial rhetoric (Donald Trump and his allies have now embraced the once-fringe host).

    Frazao told Media Matters that when she joined RT, she "found the opportunity to report on less covered subjects to be refreshing and, ultimately, an important catalyst for my growth as a journalist. I become more familiar with different, less US-centered viewpoints." She added that her view on the network has changed, writing: "Time has shown with Russia's invasion of Crimea and the 2016 election that RT has gone in a different and troubling direction- one that does not align with most noble pursuits of our profession. I am very glad that I no longer work there."

    Regarding her on-air segments with Jones, Frazao said she "did not have a role in booking Alex Jones or any other guest. We were told which guests were appearing on the shows and what the topics would be."

    "I can tell you that RT had a keen interest on growing their internet audience and our producers and guest bookers knew that Alex Jones has a large online following," Frazao said. "Our producers seemed to think that because of that, his perspective was relevant."

    As a contrast to her Jones interviews, Frazao pointed to work she did on RT involving civil rights for American Muslims, contaminated water because of fracking, and the suicide rate among Native Americans.

    RT described Jones as one of its “frequent contributors” and regularly hosted him during the Obama administration. Though Jones no longer appears on the network as frequently, he estimated last year that he has appeared on it "200 times." Jones has claimed that he was told years ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a big listener" and was previously informed that the “Russian government listens to" his show and that the Kremlin partially “modeled” RT off of his Infowars network.

    As Media Matters has documented, the right-wing host has used his own program to push toxic and false claims about the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and the Boston Marathon, among others. He has also spread conspiracy theories about Pizzagate (and was later forced to issue an apology for pushing smears).

    At the time of the Frazao interviews, Jones’ website referred to him as “one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement” and he had been gaining notice in the media for pushing fringe conspiracy theories.

    Media Matters reviewed 22 interviews* that Frazao conducted with Jones from 2010-2012. Jones told Frazao and RT viewers that there’s a “criminal, illegitimate, foreign banking cartel that runs America and stages the terror attacks”; the United States government faked Osama bin Laden’s death; the government set up the “underwear bomber”; and 9/11, the 2011 Norway shooting, and the 2005 London bombings were “false flag” attacks.

    During one interview, Frazao told Jones, “It’s a good thing, though, that you’re getting a lot of press out there. As they say, no press is bad press, and certainly your message is getting out there.” In a segment about the U.S. State Department fighting propaganda, Frazao said: “Who better to talk to about this than radio host Alex Jones.”

    While talking about news that year about actor Charlie Sheen, Frazao said to Jones: “First of all, do you think that he said what he said on your show because you're not like the rest, because you give a platform for people to not have to be P.C.? And second, I’m wondering what you think about the fact that you’re being so sought out after now because of it?”

    Commenting on the nature of the Jones interviews, Frazao told Media Matters she tries “to be courteous and respectful to everyone that I interview- no matter their personal opinions or mine.”

    In a May 2011 interview with Frazao, Jones said that the U.S. government helped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called underwear bomber, get on a plane to attempt to bomb it. He then said that Osama bin Laden wasn’t actually killed in 2011 but died years before and then was frozen so he could be rolled out at a convenient time.

    He later stated that there’s a “criminal, illegitimate, foreign banking cartel that runs America and stages the terror attacks or finds mindless patsies run by their MI6, Mossad, CIA handlers like Anwar al-Awlaki, the CIA lackey, and Adam the American Gadahn.” Frazao ended the segment by stating: “All right, certainly an interesting and unique perspective as always.”  

    In a July 2011 video, Jones said the Norway shooting that month was a “very sophisticated form of false flag attack where whether [the shooter is] a mind-control patsy or whether he believes he's acting as part of this, this Illuminati Knights Templar knighthood, it is invoking a clash of civilizations.” The segment ran with the on-screen text: “Decoding the symbols: Did Masonic psychology inspire Oslo attacks?”

    During a November 2011 segment, Jones suggested that the United States government wants to impose martial law on the country.

    The following month, Jones said that his sources say Osama bin Laden actually “died many years ago of kidney failure.” He then said that the government is “monitoring people that are aware that government and corporations use drills to cover-up real false flag terror attacks or frame-ups that they're going to run and time and time again since we've discovered that 9/11 had drills of the same targets being hit, 7/7 in London had drills of the same targets being hit. They do this drill business over and over and over again to cover real operations. Same thing with a Norway shooter.”

    The Jones segments are posted on YouTube with such dizzying headlines as: “NWO: 'Bilderberg controls the world' -- Alex Jones”; “Alex Jones: Senate wants martial law in America”; “Alex Jones doesn't buy Bin Laden's death”; “Alex Jones: The globalists have kept us from having kids”; and “Alex Jones: 'Anders Behring Breivik was Masons' Patsy.'”

    *Videos from: 3/25/10, 4/15/10, 6/1/10, 10/4/10, 1/6/11; 1/30/11, 3/3/11; 3/17/11, 3/29/11, 5/2/11, 5/26/11, 6/10/11, 7/25/11, 8/18/11, 9/1/11, 9/20/11, 11/16/11, 11/29/11, 12/28/11, 1/19/12, 4/9/12, 4/30/12.

    Pam Vogel contributed research to this post.

  • This is what it sounds like when right-wing media figures talk about Martin Luther King Jr.

    In the last year, they’ve compared King to Trump and misrepresented his legacy 

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & GRACE BENNETT

    On April 4, 1968, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN. Fifty years later, most of the United States remember King for his tireless efforts toward achieving racial equality and his leadership during the civil rights movement. But in the last year alone, various right-wing media figures have misrepresented King’s legacy and invoked his name to push for their own interests. Here is what they’ve had to say about the King in the last year:

    • Former CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord twice compared President Donald Trump to King. He told CNN viewers to “think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care,” and then doubled down on that comparison, claiming Trump and King used similar “strategy.”

    • Lord then penned an op-ed for The American Spectator in which he claimed that identity politics -- “the grandson of slavery” -- “is merely the modern version of the segregation that King would give his life fighting to end.” Lord also scolded the NAACP for being insufficiently grateful to Trump after “black unemployment had hit its lowest level on record.”

    • Fox’s Pete Hegseth attacked King’s 9-year-old granddaughter, who spoke at the March For Our Lives: “Her grandfather, Martin Luther King, did so much for this country, but she's saying, ‘I dream of a world without guns.’ It's like, I dream of a world without Islamists, too.”

    • Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones compared himself to King, claiming, “I’m one of the biggest proponents of nonviolence [along with] Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”

    • Fox’s Neil Cavuto questioned whether King would have recoiled at Confederate statues, asking King’s niece Alveda King, “Did your dad or uncle have anything to say about growing up in the Atlanta area and the South where there were a lot of these statues back then -- did they recoil at them? Did they hate them?” King’s niece replied, “There was never a recoiling.”

    • Pro-Trump writer Jacob Wohl compared Trump to King, tweeting: “President Trump, like Martin Luther King, is a civil rights icon.” Wohl also argued that “Martin Luther King would be a Trump Supporter” and recycled a favorite right-wing claim that the Democratic Party was the party that “opposed Abraham Lincoln, founded the KKK, supported segregation and attacked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

    • Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson tweeted, “Modern ‘progressive’ activists & #BlackLivesMatter supporters oppose everything Martin Luther King stood for. Judge people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”

    • Fox opinion contributor Jeremy Hunt wrote, “Please stop politicizing Martin Luther King Day. It's a day for national unity, not political division. … On a day designed for public service and national unity, some in the media insist on making it about politics.”

    • The New York Post's editorial board wrote, “Race is no longer a barrier to elective office, let alone to voting,” and added that King would be “distressed by today’s hypersensitivity and growing political correctness that have made honest dialogue and discussions of race and other issues nearly impossible.”

    • During a white nationalist rant, Alex Jones compared King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech to the rise of Trump-ism in America: “It’s just incredible that we’re in the middle of this epic historical battle. And Trump’s right when he said this is the new American moment. This is like Martin Luther King 'I Have a Dream' speech.”

    • The Atlantic’s Kevin Williamson wrote, “Using King’s moral stature to promote socialism or global-warming legislation in 2018 is morally and intellectually dishonest.”

  • Kelly Jones speaks out: My marriage to Alex Jones was a “domestically violent situation”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Alex Jones' ex-wife Kelly Jones said the prominent conspiracy theorist was violent toward her during their marriage.

    Jones described her “nightmare” marriage during a wide-ranging April 3 interview on the David Pakman Show in which she talked about an ongoing custody dispute with her ex-husband, his threats last year against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and his rise as a prominent backer of President Donald Trump. The couple divorced in 2005.

    Kelly said that she and her ex-husband met after she moved to Austin, TX, and was working for a public access TV station where they had the same producer. While initially drawn to him because he was “different than anybody I had ever met,” she said that several years into the relationship, “suddenly I was living in a domestically violent situation completely isolated from all friends and family.”

    Citing what she described as her ex-husband’s “lack of control,” anger problems, and substance abuse issues, Jones said, “It was a nightmare to be with him, it was horrible, and especially towards the end it was awful, untenable.” Jones said she stayed in the relationship for as long as she did because she was in "a domestic violence cycle." But she said when she saw her children “starting to emulate” some of their father’s mannerisms, she concluded that “like a lot of domestic violence victims” she was “fooling” herself that “this isn’t having an effect on them.”

    Jones said that she is speaking out to help others who may be in similar situations, telling Pakman, “The reason why I’m coming out so hard, too, is I divorced Alex Jones. And everybody looked at me and gaslit me and said I was a liar and worse and treated me horribly, victim-shamed me when I came forward with serious concerns about abuse, and neglect, and other things.”

    “If that can happen to me with Alex Jones, there’s people back there all over Travis [County in Texas] and all over this country who don’t have the possibility of this kind of publicity because they didn’t divorce a notorious unwell person. But I did. Doesn’t that concern you, America, that this is happening in family court?”

    Two former employees of Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet recently filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging abusive behavior from Jones and other Infowars employees while on the job. He is currently embroiled in controversy over his attacks against student survivors of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, and he is facing defamation lawsuits brought by individuals he or his outlet falsely identified as being involved in recent mass casualty events.

    Kelly Jones’ full interview is below: