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Alex Jones

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  • Tucker Carlson's descent into white supremacy: A timeline

    ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    Since the early days of his tenure as a Fox prime-time host, Tucker Carlson’s unabashed championing of white grievances earned him the accolades of neo-Nazis, who praised him as a “one man gas chamber” and complimented the way he “lampshad[ed] Jews on national television.” While Carlson claims to have nothing in common with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, he constantly echoes their talking points on his show and was very reluctant to condemn white supremacists following their deadly 2017 demonstration in Charlottesville, VA. In fact, Carlson’s racist roots can be traced back more than a decade.

    Here’s a timeline of the public devolution of Tucker Carlson’s thinly veiled racism into full-throated white supremacy (this list will be continually updated):

  • Facebook said it was banning Infowars content from its platforms -- but several associated pages are still up

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Update (5/6/19): The following pages have since been removed: The David Knight Show, Infowars Prisonplanet, InfoWars Emergency Page, InfoWars Live Feeds, Infowars south-Africa, Infowars.com, Infowars Bill of Rights Channel, INFOWARSMUSIC.COM, InfoWars Breaking News, both infowars.com pages, Alex Jones Is The Illuminati Slayer, and Alex Jones Infowarrior Organization.

    Facebook announced on May 2 that it had banned a handful of dangerous extremists from its platforms Facebook and Instagram: conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his site Infowars (for the second time), Infowars talking head Paul Joseph Watson, anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer, neo-Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos, white supremacist Paul Nehlen, and anti-Semitic Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan.

    Because of Jones’ record in circumventing social media bans, Facebook also announced a stricter approach to Infowars content, as reported by The Atlantic:

    Infowars is subject to the strictest ban. Facebook and Instagram will remove any content containing Infowars videos, radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content), and Facebook will also remove any groups set up to share Infowars content and events promoting any of the banned extremist figures, according to a company spokesperson.

    A review from Media Matters after the tech company enforced its ban has found that multiple Facebook pages that have promoted Infowars content are still active, as is a page for one of Infowars’ shows.

    Paul Joseph Watson's Summit News​ is still live on Facebook. The page's "about" section even lists Watson's YouTube channel, heavily featured on Infowars, and nearly every post to the Summit News Facebook page features articles with Watson's byline.

    Facebook pages that associated themselves with Infowars in their "about" sections

    These Infowars-centric pages have shared a substantial amount of Infowars content

  • Eric Bolling is using his Sinclair and BlazeTV shows to elevate conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Roger Stone

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Right-wing media personality Eric Bolling now hosts regular programs at two different outlets: Sinclair Broadcast Group and BlazeTV. In the space of a week, he has used both platforms to interview well-known conspiracy theorists -- and appeared on one of their shows as well.

    In early April, Bolling began hosting a weekly show for Sinclair called America This Week, which streams online on websites of Sinclair news stations and is promoted with on-air teasers or sometimes aired in full on some Sinclair news stations. The program has also already featured a number of right-wing media talking heads and members of the Trump orbit, including: President Donald Trump himself, former Trump adviser and Sinclair contributor Sebastian Gorka, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Sinclair reporter and former Fox employee James Rosen, presidential daughter-in-law and current Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, and Sinclair chief political commentator and former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn.

    On the May 1 edition of Sinclair's America This Week, Bolling interviewed longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. Stone is a sexist, racist conspiracy theorist who has pushed conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terror attacks, the JFK assassination, the Clintons and Bushes (saying they committed murders), the 2016 presidential election, the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, and more. In January, Stone was indicted for obstruction, making false statements to Congress, and witness tampering as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    In the 10-minute interview with Bolling, Stone discussed his current criminal defense, his background as an aide to President Richard Nixon, his relationship with Trump, and the 2020 presidential election. Below is the full segment:

    Before joining Sinclair, Bolling was already hosting a regular program on the conservative outlet Blaze Media’s streaming platform BlazeTV. The show, America with Eric Bolling, continues to stream online most weekdays for a subscription audience.

    The April 24 edition of America with Eric Bolling featured an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Major social media networks have taken actions against Jones and his outlet Infowars to limit their ability to share content. Jones has used his outlet to spread rampant bigotry, hint at violence, host and promote white supremacists, and push conspiracy theories about mass tragedies including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Parkland high school shooting, the 9/11 attacks, and the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as the 2016 presidential election and “globalist” plots by prominent political figures such as the Clinton and Obama families.

    In the episode, Bolling introduced Jones as a “good friend of the show, good friend of mine.” The segment also re-aired an Infowars clip (of Jones yelling into a bullhorn outside the White House). At one point during their interview outside the Capitol, the men attempt to confront a woman who called one of them a liar as she passed by. Bolling half-heartedly tried to downplay some of Jones’ more extreme views, saying that he disagreed with what Jones has said about Sandy Hook and 9/11 specifically but that he believes Jones should be free to say what he wants. Jones responded by asserting that media and tech companies conspired to twist his words on those topics, which Bolling did not challenge. (Jones has repeatedly tried to rewrite the history of his comments on Sandy Hook, but Media Matters has documented his repeated lies on the subject.)

    Jones ended the interview by promoting his website and telling viewers, “Tune in to this guy, spread the word about his show, my show, and the free, independent media that’s bringing this country back.”

    On the same day, Bolling and Jones also filmed a second interview -- this time with Jones interviewing Bolling for Infowars. A video was posted to the Infowars website on April 27 that included both Jones’ interview of Bolling and Bolling’s previously aired interview of Jones for BlazeTV. In the Infowars interview footage, Bolling and Jones discussed several supposed smear campaigns against them from “the left” and each talked about his personal relationship with Trump. At one point, Jones called former first lady Michelle Obama an anti-trans slur and referred to her as “Michael Obama,” and Bolling laughed and said he was staying out of it. The interview ended with Bolling promoting his BlazeTV and Sinclair shows and discussing Sinclair’s move toward hiring more conservatives and possibly competing with Fox News.

    During his lengthy tenure as a host at Fox News, Bolling himself trafficked in conspiracy theories. He was one of the outlet’s leading voices pushing the racist Obama birther conspiracy theory and also hinted at far-right claims about the tragic death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Bolling left Fox in 2017 amid reports that he had sent multiple colleagues unsolicited images of genitalia.

    Bolling is now in the unusual position of simultaneously hosting shows on dual media platforms with ostensibly different missions. Sinclair is now well-known for injecting conservative bias into its local news broadcasts and for employing an outsize number of right-wing personalities, but it still styles itself as a more neutral media outlet. BlazeTV is a relatively new right-wing behemoth cobbled together from two obviously and openly conservative online outlets: Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze and Mark Levin’s CRTV. Both of Bolling’s shows attempt to create a veneer of legitimacy by bringing on token liberals or actual journalists for discussions, but they do far greater harm by elevating far-right conspiracy theorists in the same place.

    Notably, Bolling also uses the two shows to cross-promote his own work. During one Sinclair special program in February, Bolling appeared in front of a background with the BlazeTV logo and aired clips from his interviews for BlazeTV. Advertising for BlazeTV programming was also shown on screen. And on his BlazeTV show, Bolling has aired snippets of his Sinclair interview with Trump and told viewers to tune in to his Sinclair show.

  • Facebook just removed six extremists from its platforms. Here's what should happen next.

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Facebook just announced the removal of a notable cross-section of extremists from social networks Facebook and Instagram, including neo-Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos, anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer, far-right YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (again), and white supremacist Paul Nehlen, a failed Republican congressional candidate, while also removing Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan for his record of anti-Semitic rhetoric. This move by Facebook is a step in the right direction, opening doors to making its platforms safer and inspiring some optimism that the tech company might be capable of taking responsibility for the ways its platforms have empowered extremists. But it is clear that there is more to do.

    A long record of hate

    The newly banned figures owed their influence to the massive reach they were allowed to cultivate through Facebook and Instagram, using their accounts to post content that dehumanized entire communities, promoted hateful conspiracy theories, and radicalized audiences -- all while they profited from directing people to their own websites.

    After being banned from most other social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook itself, Jones found a safe haven on Instagram, where he had continued to post Infowars content that featured hate speech, promoted conspiracy theories, and amplified other extremists.

    Similarly, Laura Loomer used her private Instagram account to post content that violated the platform’s hate speech and bullying policies, consistently spewing dehumanizing anti-Muslim rhetoric.

    For his part, Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter in 2016 for leading a racist harassment campaign against actress Leslie Jones, but the former Breitbart editor went on to use Instagram and Facebook to spread hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric and mock people of color.

    Watson, who had long been affiliated with Jones’ Infowars outlet, used Facebook and Instagram to push anti-Muslim content, masquerading his hateful rhetoric as thinly veiled irony, and regularly maligning Islam as “incompatible with western society.”

    White supremacist Nehlen -- who has publicly stated that a “race war” needs to be “kick[ed] off” in the U.S. -- had already lost his Instagram account after posting anti-Semitic memes, but he still had an active Facebook page he used to share anti-Semitic dog whistles and screenshots of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer with tens of thousands of followers, as well as to profit from running ads on the platform.

    What comes next

    It’s a welcome but long overdue step in the right direction that Facebook has now taken definitive action against some of the most glaring examples of toxicity on its platforms -- especially considering the tech company’s record of struggling to enforce policies that are effective in curbing the reach and influence of extremists. The company’s recent attempt to ban white supremacist content from its platforms proved insufficient, as its lack of specificity allowed extremists to continue posting racist content as long as they weren’t too explicit.

    However, there are still a number of achievable measures that Facebook could take to make users safer and to convince the public of the company’s resolve to fight extremism. Shireen Mitchell, who founded Stop Online Violence Against Women and the nonprofit Digital Sisters to promote diversity in the tech industry, has explained how Facebook’s moderation policies have been weaponized to harass women of color -- especially if they’re advocating for social change. Speaking to Media Matters, Mitchell said Facebook has banned people of color and activists like herself as a result of posts that mention white people in the context of racism and white supremacy. Her experience is consistent with a Media Matters analysis of Facebook pages that showed that white supremacist content is often treated as equivalent to content from groups that actually fight oppression, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, seemingly treating white people as a protected group while ignoring the historical context of structural racism.

    Some achievable measures that could help curb extremism while protecting users who experience oppression include:

    • Commit to enforcing standards against more codified white nationalism by more effectively pairing automated and human reviews to better identify violating content. Increasing the number of people tasked with platform monitoring and staffing those positions with culturally competent individuals would help identify white supremacists’ use of the coded extremist rhetoric and insidious false equivalences that artificial intelligence seems to be missing. Doing so would also help curb the uncritical amplification of dangerous content such as video clips of violent hate crimes or the manifestos of their perpetrators.

    • Proactively limit the visibility of content when its traffic is being directed from known toxic sources like anonymous message boards 8chan and 4chan. As reported by NBC’s Ben Collins, platforms are already able to identify traffic coming from toxic sources. In light of recent crimes in which perpetrators have gone on anonymous message boards to link to their Facebook accounts and broadcast mass shootings as extremist propaganda, the platform should more actively limit the visibility and spread of content that starts receiving high influxes of traffic from extremist sites.

    • Extend anti-discrimination policies currently applied to ads to include event pages and groups. Event pages and private groups are often useful tools that help extremists organize and mobilize. Existing anti-discrimination policies should also apply to content in these pages and groups.

    • Reassess fact-checking partnership with Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, which has ties to white supremacists and anti-Semites. The Daily Caller has a long history of publishing white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots; just yesterday it was revealed that The Daily Caller has fired the managing editor of the affiliated Daily Caller News Foundation (DCFN) for his connections to white supremacists. DCFN provides significant funding to the Daily Caller's fact-checking operation, Check Your Fact. Daily Caller founder Carlson constantly echoes white nationalist talking points on his Fox News show. And yet Facebook has teamed up with Check Your Fact as a fact-checker.

    • Pay attention to the cross-platform influence of highly followed users. White nationalists often use platforms like Instagram to sanitize their images with lifestyle content while spreading extremist propaganda on other platforms. As Data & Society research affiliate Becca Lewis told Media Matters, influential extremists on Instagram “will simply mimic fashion, beauty, or fitness influencers, but will espouse white supremacist propaganda elsewhere. In those cases, Instagram acts as a kind of honeypot.” Lewis suggested Facebook emulate Medium’s cross-platform moderation approach, in which users that violate Medium’s content policies on other platforms get banned on Medium.

    • Increase transparency in metrics for third-party auditors. Experts have warned about the risks of Facebook’s most recent privacy initiatives that limit Application Programming Interface (API) access to researchers (or access to the tools that allows individuals unaffiliated with Facebook to build software that uses Facebook data), hide Instagram metrics, and prioritize groups on Facebook (which would allow propaganda and extremism to propagate unchecked). As BuzzFeed’s Jane Lytvynenko pointed out, the move makes it harder for researchers and experts to audit content and metrics on the platforms. While it might save the tech company some bad press, it hinders outside researchers in their efforts to identify and scrutinize security concerns.

  • In the past 24 hours, Alex Jones and Laura Loomer have taken to Instagram to promote white nationalism

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Update (4/11/19): Since the publication of this article, Laura Loomer set her Instagram account @loomered to private and posted a message on her story. She stated that “everything [she] said is 100% true.”  

    In the past 24 hours, anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have posted videos on their Instagram stories that violate Instagram’s hate speech and bullying content policies. Last week, Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) implemented a new policy supposedly banning “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism.” But according to Vice’s online magazine Motherboard, this ban applied only to explicit mentions of white nationalism and separatism, not to content that features “implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism.” On Instagram, this policy has resulted in prominent white nationalist accounts continuing to use the platform to sanitize and promote their bigotry.

    LAURA LOOMER: I just have to say that I truly hate Ilhan Omar. I think she’s a despicable human being because how evil and deranged do you have to be to describe 9/11 as “something that some people did”? Yeah bitch, it’s something that your people did. Are you guys enjoying your first Muslim congresswoman? It’s almost as if everything I told you about this lady was completely true. She hates the Jews. She hates the gays. And she thinks that 9/11, aka an act of Islamic terrorism, is something trivial that she should just make light of -- something that we don’t need to talk about because it’s just something that some people did. Well you know what you guys, no one is going to say this on TV, because unfortunately the Muslims have totally hijacked our media institutions. And even Fox News is now putting a muzzle on their hosts and their contributors who are not allowed to speak truth about Islam. But the truth is, is that Islam is a cancer on society. Islam is a cancer on humanity, and Muslims should not be allowed to seek positions of political office in this country. It should be illegal.

    Alex Jones (@real_alexjones), who has been banned from every other major social media platform (including Facebook), has posted white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ, and conspiracy theory Infowars videos on Instagram. Yesterday, Jones posted a video on his Instagram story promoting the white nationalist campaign “It’s OK to be white” that originated on message board 4chan. In the video, a man identified as part of the “Infowars army” according to text on the video keeps asking a woman if it’s “OK to be white.” As she gets visibly upset, the person behind the camera tells her to “jump off the bridge.” This call for self-harm violated Instagram’s community guidelines, which prohibit content that encourages violence and self-injury. And when the woman reveals that her family came from Mexico, the person calls her “one of the least brown-looking Mexican people [he's] ever seen.” Another Instagram handle which seems to be affiliated with Infowars also shared this video.

    UNKNOWN: So jump off the bridge. The bridge is right there, she might as well just  jump off.

    ...

    UNKNOWN: Her family came from Mexico? That’s one of the least brown-looking Mexican people I’ve ever seen.

  • The white nationalist influencers of Instagram

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Last week, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, started implementing new content policies purporting to ban praise for white nationalism and white separatism on the social media sites. According to reporting from Motherboard, Facebook’s focuses on explicit mentions, not content which features “implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism.” The narrow focus of Facebook’s policy has thus resulted in a failure to remove a large amount of extremist content, and while the platform has continued to fine-tune the enforcement of its policy following reports of its ineffectiveness, many extremists might still be able to skirt the rule by simply not using explicit labels while pushing white nationalist and separatist talking points.

    As it stands, Facebook and Instagram’s ban on white supremacy and separatism is a policy designed to fail. Last week, Media Matters published a noncomprehensive list of Facebook pages which are affiliated with prominent white supremacist figures and/or push white supremacist content. Of the 43 pages flagged, only three were taken down following the implementation Facebook’s new policy.

    Like Facebook, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) has failed to remove major white nationalist accounts. Media Matters reviewed 19 Instagram handles affiliated with white nationalist media outlets and figures and extremist social media figures and found that only a few were regularly posting images, captions, and stories which explicitly praised white nationalist anti-immigrant, anti-semitic, and anti-Muslim stances.

    A majority of these handles affiliated with prominent white nationalists did not regularly post white nationalist content or even any sort of content which would violate Instagram’s community standards. Instead, these figures appear to use Instagram as a promotional platform to direct followers to external sites that contain extremist content. Many of the handles included in our analysis are affiliated with white nationalist YouTubers who appear to use Instagram to promote their YouTube shows.

    And as other tech platforms have come under increasing scrutiny for their complicity in the spread of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist content, Instagram-- which has mostly evaded criticism -- has become a hub for far-right memes and videos. Many of the Instagram handles linked to white supremacy that we reviewed have seen drastic increases in followers over the past nine months, as well as video view increases.

    There are widely followed Instagram handles directly posting white nationalist content:

    Laura Loomer (@loomered), who was banned from Twitter for making anti-Muslim attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), has turned to Instagram to push the same bigoted misinformation. In one post, Loomer called Omar a “hate crime hoax expert” and claimed that she had faked bomb threats made against her. In other posts, Loomer has falsely labeled Omar as “pro sharia law”; claimed that Vogue supported “terrorism and Jew hatred” because the magazine put Omar on a cover; and wrote that Omar’s “lifestyle is bankrolled by Arabs who only have a loyalty to Islam.”

    Loomer’s anti-Muslim, white nationalist Instagram content extends beyond bigoted attacks on Omar. One day after the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 49 people were killed by a white supremacist, Loomer published three posts downplaying the anti-Muslim terrorist attack. In the first post, while also referencing smears against Omar, Loomer stated: “The media makes so many excuses for anti-Semitism but then they want us to care about certain groups of people more than others.” In the second, Loomer came after the media again for covering the Christchurch terror attack while allegedly ignoring Christians “murdered by jihadists.” And in the third post, Loomer wrote: “How come the New Zealand mosque shooting video is available online, but pictures from inside Bataclan theatre in paris are not … ? ... Never forget these innocent people in Paris who were so selfishly murdered simply because they were Westerners.” Loomer has over 111,000 followers.

    Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos (@milo.yiannopoulos), who has connections to white supremacists, has amassed over 406,000 followers on Instagram. Yiannopoulos, who was was banned from Twitter after leading a racist harassment campaign against actress Leslie Jones, now blends personal brand and anti-Muslim content on his Instagram handle. He posted a photo of New Zealand news anchors wearing hijabs in solidarity with Muslim victims after the Christchurch terror attack with the caption “cultural suicide.” Yiannopoulos also claimed that “mainstream Islam” in the West had turned British cities into “hotbeds of radicalization and prejudice.”

    U.K. far-right bigot Katie Hopkins (@_katie_hopkins_) uses Instagram to post videos in which she smears Muslims and immigrants to her almost 29,000 followers. In reaction to the Christchurch attack, Hopkins posted a video with the text “Must we give up our culture? Do we see the same reaction when we are the victims of Islamist attacks?” In another video, Hopkins ranted that Rep. Ilhan Omar was leading the “Islamification” of the U.S. and fearmongered that immigration was leading to a religious “voting bloc” which are “facilitated by the mosque.” And in two posts, Hopkins posted videos criticizing “demographic shifts” and “multiculturalism” in two British towns with substantial Muslim populations, both terms that fit with white supremacist narratives. In one of these posts, Hopkins asked if Muslims “control” the U.K.

    The far-right comedian Owen Benjamin (@owenbenjam) has posted a plethora of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including posts that push the white supremacist conspiracy theory that Jews “control” the government. He also regularly posts anti-LGBT hate. Benjamin has over 61,000 followers on Instagram.

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (@real_alexjones), who seems to have been banned from every other major social media platform, has recently begun using Instagram to livestream his show and post clips which feature guest appearances by other extremists, as well as white nationalist talking points.

    And the private handle for the social media personality and self-described Islamophobe “The Gay Who Strayed” (@thegaywhostrayed), with over 99,000 followers, regularly posts memes containing anti-Muslim messaging consistent with white nationalism. The accompanying text for one such anti-immigrant meme makes the white supremacist claim that “not all cultures are equal.” It also says: “When you import a third world country, it’s only a matter of time until you become a third world country.” Other posts push white nationalist talking points on “assimilation” and controlling the size of the Muslim population in Western countries.

    Some white nationalists use Instagram as an intermediary between a sanitized media brand and extremist, hateful content.

    Many of these handles seem to almost never, if ever, violate Instagram’s community standards. By avoiding posts that contain explicit hate speech, these white nationalists are able to use Instagram to reach users and direct them to content the accounts post on other platforms, compartmentalizing their extremist messaging across multiple platforms.

    Some of these figures solely use Instagram as a marketing tool to push shows and media outside of the platform. Far-right social media commentators who constantly spew white supremacist content elsewhere, like Stefan Molyneux (@stefanmolyneux) and Jesse Lee Peterson (@jesseleepeterson), both use Instagram to promote their extremist YouTube shows. The white supremacist YouTube channel Red Ice TV (@redicemedia) almost exclusively posts image promos for upcoming live shows.

    Although most posts pass community standards, some videos and descriptions push white nationalist ideas. In one video, Peterson declared July “white history month”; stated that Black and gay people “haven’t done a thing”; and thanked white people for “their” country because “no one else can do this.” One Red Ice image post previewed an episode on the white supremacist “population replacement” conspiracy theory, which stipulates that minorities and immigrants are replacing the white population of Western countries (and which was echoed by the Christchurch shooter in a manifesto titled “The Great Replacement,” which he posted online before allegedly committing the massacre).

    The white supremacist YouTube channel Goy Talk (@_goytalk.com_) also uses Instagram to advertise its show. Goy Talk’s Instagram posts have included racist and anti-semitic images, and its shows have promoted other white supremacist figures such as “Unite the Right” Charlottesville, VA, rally organizer Christopher Cantwell, Paul Nehlen, and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

    Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News (@tuckercarlsontonight) has an active Instagram handle, posting clips and previews for the show usually a couple of times a week. However, most show clips posted on Instagram aren’t necessarily representative of Carlson’s white nationalist programming

    Others are using the platform to blend typical Instagram lifestyle posts with extremist memes and messaging.

    Four prominent white supremacists all mostly use Instagram to post photos of their daily lives, not unlike other “brand-peddling marketers” on the platform. Far-right YouTuber Lauren Southern (@laurencheriie), most recently known for amplifying the white supremacist conspiracy theory of a white genocide occuring in South Africa, almost exclusively posts selfies and photo shoots of herself to her 173,000 Instagram followers. Unite the Right marchers Nick Fuentes (@nicholasjfuentes) and James Allsup (@jamesallsup) also mostly post personal photos on Instagram, occasionally embedding general pro-President Donald Trump messaging or imagery. White separatist Brittany Pettibone (@brittpettibone), who promoted the “Defend Europe” project that intended to disrupt the life-saving work of European humanitarian groups helping refugees cross the Mediterranean, almost exclusively posts apolitical pictures of herself, friends, and her fiancé, the anti-Muslim extremist Martin Sellner, who received almost $1,700 in donations from the white supremacist charged with committing the Christchurch mosque shootings.

    Far-right hack Carl Benjamin, known as Sargon of Akkad (@sargonofakkad100), mostly just posts travel and scenery photos on Instagram, occasionally posting nondescript previews for his YouTube show, racist memes, and anti-Muslim content. And the white supremacist YouTuber Carl Robertson, who goes by the pseudonym Millennial Woes (@millennialwoes) posts pictures of himself and behind-the-scenes-style content of his show.

    Rebel Media personality Martina Markota (@martinamarkota) pots a mix of anti-LGBT jokes and racist memes with personal posts. Nazi-promoter Tim Gionet, known online as Baked Alaska (@bakedalaska), primarily uses Instagram to post joke lifestyle content associated with his brand of far-right humor. And although Gionet recently “denounced” the “alt-right,” he continues to engage with white nationalist figures on Instagram, including liking a post promoting Faith Goldy’s interview with white supremacist Jared Taylor.

    White nationalist fans are flocking to Instagram.

    Figures whose extremism gets them banned from other platforms find in Instagram a helpful tool to continue engaging their audiences, as evidenced by follower counts after bans from other networks. Just before she was banned from Twitter in late November, Laura Loomer had about 38,000 followers on Instagram. As of April, she has over 111,000 -- a 191% increase in followership over just four and a half months. Alex Jones also saw an increase in Instagram followers after his Twitter and Facebook ban, with his numbers jumping by 49%. And since Tucker Carlson began fanning the flames of debunked claims of big tech censoring conservatives one year ago, his show’s Instagram account has seen a 350% increase in followership, from 70,000 followers in March 2018 to over 315,000 followers in April 2019.

    The handles of other extremists are seeing steady but drastic increases in followership as well. In the past six months: Nick Fuentes’ Instagram followership has increased by 140%; Jesse Lee Peterson’s has increased by 57%; and Stefan Molyneux’s has increased by 29%.

  • Fox News figures repeatedly suggested the Obamas were behind dropped Smollett charges

    Right-wing figures on social media went further, suggesting the Obamas were involved in the staged Smollett attack

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Multiple Fox News figures and other right-wing media personalities are suggesting that former first lady Michelle Obama helped actor Jussie Smollett after his alleged attack that police say he staged. The claim comes after far-right message boards, social media accounts, and other outlets pushed conspiracy theories that the Obamas or Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) had been involved in the Smollett incident.

  • The NRA and its media outlet have long been a breeding ground for odious conspiracy theories

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    A National Rifle Association official had a conspiratorial correspondence with an infamous Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist after the 2018 Parkland, FL, school shooting, according to a March 27 HuffPost exclusive. The story is indicative of a culture at the NRA that allows the promotion of conspiracy theories about mass shootings, gun policy, and other topics by some of its leaders.

  • Instagram is helping promote Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories about the death of a Sandy Hook father

    The father, Jeremy Richman, was suing Jones for defamation over Jones' false Sandy Hook claims 

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    An Instagram account associated with Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet is using the platform to promote Jones’ conspiracy theories about the death of Jeremy Richman, whose daughter Avielle was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT.

    Richman died of an apparent suicide on March 25. He was part of a group of Sandy Hook families who are suing Jones for defamation, arguing that false claims Jones made about the 2012 shooting -- including that the tragedy was a “giant hoax” -- spurred harassment and threats against them.

    Instagram account @thenewswars, a reference to Infowars website News Wars, is followed by the outlet’s primary Instagram account and exclusively posts Infowars content. On March 25, the account posted a video about Jones’ comments on Richman.
     

    The video was posted with the description “MSM Uses Tragic Suicide Of Sandy Hook Dad To Smear Alex Jones.” The post included the hashtag #SandyHook and urged people to read a linked Infowars article to view the full video. In that full video, Jones complained that Richman’s reported suicide meant that Jones won’t get a “fair trial” in the defamation lawsuits he is facing. He also questioned the known facts of Richman’s death, saying, “I mean, is there going to be a police investigation? Are they going to look at the surveillance cameras? I mean, what happened to this guy? This whole Sandy Hook thing is, like, really getting even crazier.” He also speculated that Richman was murdered and that his death was timed to distract from the release of the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    As Media Matters’ Natalie Martinez reported, Jones’ primary Instagram account, @real_alexjones, routinely posts content that includes hate speech and conspiracy theories and features appearances from other extremist figures banned by the platform. While Facebook, Instagram's parent company, banned Jones and his outlet, he is increasingly making the social media giant's subsidiary his home. 

    Natalie Martinez contributed research to this report.

  • Alex Jones is pushing conspiracy theories about the death of a Sandy Hook father who was suing him

    Jones: “I mean, what happened to this guy? This whole Sandy Hook thing is, like, really getting even crazier.”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Update (3/26/19): This piece has been updated with additional information.

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones made a series of conspiratorial comments following the death of Jeremy Richman, whose daughter Avielle was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT. Jones questioned whether Richman really died by suicide, as is reported, and suggested that the death was timed to distract from “good news” that had come out about Jones.

    Richman was found dead at his office building in Newtown the morning of March 25 in what police say is an apparent suicide. He was part of a group of Sandy Hook families who are suing Jones for defamation, arguing that false claims Jones made about the 2012 shooting spurred harassment and threats against them.

    Following the mass shooting, Jones definitively and repeatedly said that the violence at Sandy Hook, which left 20 students and six educators dead, didn’t happen. After his public profile was raised, and particularly after a December 2015 appearance by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump on his show, Jones has sought to backtrack and spin his past comments in some cases while advancing new Sandy Hook conspiracy theories in others.

    Jones commented on Richman’s death during his March 25 broadcast, repeatedly suggesting that Richman did not die by suicide. He also claimed that the timing of Richman’s death was suspicious and meant to distract from the release of the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Complaining that Richman’s reported suicide means he won’t get a “fair trial” in the defamation lawsuits he is facing, Jones questioned the known facts of Richman’s death saying, “I mean, is there going to be a police investigation? Are they going to look at the surveillance cameras? I mean, what happened to this guy? This whole Sandy Hook thing is, like, really getting even crazier.”

    ALEX JONES (HOST): I mean, how do I get a fair trial with stuff like this? I’ve never said this guy’s name. Never said his name, until now. And obviously first it’s "we don’t know, he’s got gunshot wounds or whatever." Now it’s, well, apparent suicide.I mean, is there going to be a police investigation? Are they going to look at the surveillance cameras? I mean, what happened to this guy? This whole Sandy Hook thing is, like, really getting even crazier.

    Moments later, Jones raised the possibility that Richman was murdered, before saying, “Look, the good news of no collusion, the good news that I’m not a Russian agent comes out, and now this happens right on time. Just amazing.” Jones’ broadcast displayed an image of Richman’s deceased daughter while he made the claim:

    JONES: We have no idea whether he was even murdered at this point. Why would some anti-gun guy do this? This is really sad. My prayers go out to him and his family and we wish for the truth of whatever really happened here to come out. We don’t know yet. And we’ll see the corporate media say outrageous lies, but it’s what they do. And look, the good news of no collusion, the good news that I’m not a Russian agent comes out, and now this happens right on time. Just amazing.

    Jones also used his discussion of Richman to dispute that there is any connection between what he has said about the Sandy Hook shooting and the harassment experienced by Richman’s family. Jones said, “I have never said Jeremy Richman’s name. In fact, most of the people in these suits, I never even said their names, and there are like 80-page lawsuits and I read it and most of the stuff I have never even said.” He also claimed that he has talked to cable TV pundit and lawyer Alan Dershowitz about the lawsuits. (When reached by email, Dershowitz declined to comment on whether Jones’ claim was true, writing, “I can’t comment on any statement regarding possible requests for legal services.”)

    As The New York Times’ Elizabeth Williamson noted in a thread on Twitter, there is a clear connection between Jones and Richman via Infowars’ promotion of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Wolfgang Halbig who made multiple appearances as a guest on Infowars.

    Williamson is correct. According to a Media Matters archived copy of a deleted Infowars video, an Infowars camera crew did travel to Connecticut in 2015 with Halbig in order to advance the conspiracy theory that the shooting was a hoax. In the video, Halbig and others are shown disrupting a meeting of the state’s Freedom of Information Commission, from which he had requested documentation related to the Sandy Hook shooting. Halbing is also interviewed by a correspondent with an Infowars microphone in the video.  

    If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

  • Despite ban, Alex Jones’ Infowars appears to be operating yet another YouTube channel

    The channel has numerous Infowars videos attacking survivors of the Parkland school shooting, including comparing David Hogg to Hitler

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Update (3/25/19): Following the publication of this post, the The Free Speech Channel channel was removed from YouTube, with a message telling visitors to its page the “account has been terminated for a violation of YouTube's Terms of Service.”

    Although YouTube has banned several channels associated with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, his Infowars outlet still appears to be able to spread its message on the video platform on a channel called The Free Speech Channel.

    On March 19, YouTube banned a channel that exclusively shared Infowars content under the name Resistance News following reporting by Media Matters. The Free Speech Channel, previously dormant for the last seven months, has now come back to life to share Infowars content.

    The channel was created on March 3, 2018, and exclusively posts videos from Infowars broadcasts. Notably, a March 3, 2018, Infowars.com article tells readers to “support these two new channels in the fight for free speech” before listing The Free Speech Channel and Infowars Censored. The Infowars Censored channel’s account was previously terminated by YouTube.

    As was the case with the Resistance News channel, Infowars websites embed videos posted to The Free Speech Channel in articles. Videos posted to the channel that are more than seven months old include the description, “Help us spread the word about the liberty movement, we're reaching millions help us reach millions more,” and feature links to Infowars-operated websites and Alex Jones’ social media accounts.

    The videos posted to The Free Speech Channel reflect the toxic conspiracy theories found at Infowars.com. For example, the channel is currently hosting numerous videos attacking David Hogg and other student survivors of the 2018 Parkland, FL, school shooting.

    The channel also hosts a video of Jones interviewing NRA board member Ted Nugent. In the interview, Nugent advocates for Democrats to be shot on sight like “rabid coyotes.”

    Channels that violate YouTube’s rules by exclusively sharing Infowars content are easily found on YouTube, but the video platform doesn’t appear to be devoting many resources to enforcing its own rules.

  • Alex Jones reacts to Mueller report summary by expressing his willingness to execute "traitors"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones reacted to Attorney General William Barr sharing with Congress his summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report by talking about his willingness to execute supposed "traitors." While Jones was talking about how he would “pull those levers all day” to hang traitors, video footage of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was shown on screen.

    On March 24, Barr delivered a summary to Congress of Mueller’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. According to Barr, Mueller found no evidence of collusion, but also did not exonerate Trump of engaging in obstruction of justice by interfering with the investigation. Democrats in Congress are now calling for Mueller’s full report to be released to the public.

    Jones, a top media ally of Trump, focused his March 25 Infowars.com broadcast on the report summary and used it to make disturbing comments involving MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who extensively covered Mueller’s investigation on her show. Jones complained about “scum” claiming that he and Trump are “on foreign payrolls” before saying, “If you’re found guilty of treason, and they want me to kick the switch to open that trapdoor and drop your neck down and snap that son of a bitch, I swear to God I’ll pull those levers all day,” as video footage of Maddow was shown on screen.

    While Jones is banned from major social media platforms -- with the exception of Instagram -- he continues to broadcast to a large terrestrial radio audience and still purports to receive inside information from Trump’s inner circle.

  • Instagram is the new home for Alex Jones and Infowars

    Since December, Alex Jones has used Instagram to post Infowars videos featuring hate speech, conspiracy theories, and extremist figures who are banned from the platform.

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Melissa Joskow / MMFA

    Update (3/22/19): Six posts and one IGTV video featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes have been removed from the @real_alexjones account since this article was published. They appear to have been removed by Instagram for violating their community guidelines.

    Update (3/20/19): Since the publication of this article, three videos containing anti-LGBTQ speech and three videos containing white nationalist content have been removed from the @real_alexjones account. They appear to have been removed by Alex Jones, not Instagram.

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been using Instagram to regularly post Infowars videos that often include hate speech, conspiracy theories, and appearances from other extremist figures banned by the platform. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is the only major social media platform that still permits Jones’ use after he and several other Infowars-affiliated accounts were banned from Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify in August 2018. In the wake of those bans, Jones has made Instagram his new home on social media.

    Jones’ Instagram account, @real_alexjones, gained over 100,000 followers in the months following his Facebook ban. And since December, Jones has been posting short clips, longer IGTV episodes, and live broadcasts of the widely banned conspiracy theory outlet Infowars. Most of the descriptions attached to these Instagram posts also contain links to Infowars’ site.

    Jones’ Instagram following has grown significantly in the months since his ban from other tech platforms.

    Jones’ number of followers has continued to increase over the past few months. The first bump in his follower count came between Jones’ temporary suspension from Facebook, starting on July 27, and his permanent ban, issued on August 8. Jones’ Instagram handle had over 199,000 followers the week of July 29; the following week, he had over 209,000.

    Between August 2018 and February 2019, Jones’ follower count steadily increased until February 28, when Jones saw a bigger increase, of more than 10,000 followers. This bump came one day after Jones appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.

    As of March 19, Jones had about 314,000 followers -- a 57 percent increase in followers since Jones’ Facebook ban seven months ago.

    Since December, Jones has been regularly posting Infowars videos on Instagram -- some featuring conspiracy theories, hate speech, and extremist figures.

    Before the wave of tech platform bans, Jones’ Instagram account posted somewhat infrequently. The handle @real_alexjones had been active since 2015 and its content primarily consisted of memes and GIFs, often promoting conservatives, mocking liberals, announcing future guests on the show, and self-parodying Jones’ persona and show. Jones’ Instagram content essentially served as a sanitized profile for promoting some of the more comedic and mainstream-conservative elements of Infowars’ show, and leaving out his far-right conspiracy theories and explicitly bigoted coverage.

    But a couple months after Infowars was banned from Facebook and other tech platforms, Jones started publishing Infowars clips and livestreams and extreme, hateful content to Instagram. Since Jones began regularly posting content on December 13, his handle has earned over 5.7 million video views.

    Jones posted multiple videos containing derogatory language targeting transgender, nonbinary, and queer people.

    A March 6 post by Jones featured an Infowars clip of white nationalist and VDare writer Faith Goldy recapping events at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. In the clip, Goldy uses an anti-trans slur, pushes a conspiracy about a “trans lobby” influencing CPAC, and derogatorily refers to trans people as “men” dressed in “ostentatious ball gowns.”

    FAITH GOLDY: We actually have a very apparent-to-the-naked-eye trans lobby now, full of transvestites, transgenders, call them what you want, that were on the ground at CPAC. We’re talking about discernible men dressed in things like ostentatious ball gowns, etc. And so, you know, the conservative -- the so-called conservative, read neoconservative -- movement that is just grasping at the heels of Donald Trump are OK with everyone. No matter where they come from, no matter what they think or how they live their lives. They pass no judgement unless you believe in America First.

    In another post from Jones on March 1, Infowars host Owen Shroyer referred to gay people as “mentally ill” and biologically “abnormal.”

    OWEN SHROYER: Whosever (sic) raising this girl is mentally ill. And that’s not because they’re gay. They’re mentally ill -- it’s a totally separate thing. They have become radicalized by their sexuality or whatever, and I guess they don’t feel normal in society. I mean, OK, yeah, biologically, you’re supposed to be with the opposite sex. So, sorry, biology says you’re abnormal. But society doesn’t. But see, they can’t accept that. They want their biology to be normal. That’s why they want to erase the science of biology. So what you have here is two radical, sexualized whatevers who are now using their daughter as a political pawn to make their abnormal behavior normal. To normalize that into society, folks. And I’m telling you, because of the politically correct culture, we are letting mentally ill people dictate our society now. 

    And on January 2, Jones posted a clip from Infowars show Prison Planet of Paul Joseph Watson calling Louis C.K.’s attacks against nonbinary people during a stand-up routine “the truth.”

    PAUL JOSEPH WATSON: Louis C.K. offended a bunch of whiny millennial imbeciles by attacking nonbinary people. “He punched down.” Oh wait, he didn’t attack anyone. He merely told the truth and was funny.

    Other posts by Jones pushed white nationalist anti-immigrant talking points.

    One post from March 8 featured anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant extremist Katie Hopkins describing immigrants “snaking their way” through Europe and pushing out “white Christians” and “Christian culture.”

    KATIE HOPKINS: It’s one of the things that’s not spoken about, because migration to us is about caravans of people at the border or migrants coming across the Med. You know, snaking their way through the countryside. But there’s a quiet migration underway, one that no one is talking about. And that is the exodus of Jews from places like Paris and Germany. And the movement of people like myself, Christian -- white Christians or Christian Brits, Christian culture really, looking for a new place to call home. So I’ve just spent a few months from France, from Israel, in Germany, and in the North of England, where people are looking for their Judeo-Christian heritage. They’re looking for a new place to start afresh.

    On December 14, Jones posted an Infowars clip claiming that “globalists” (a term with anti-Semitic connotations) in the U.N. are “flooding nations with millions of foreigners who have no intention to assimilate and who are not held accountable for their criminal actions.” This white supremacist talking point -- that migrant caravans are evidence of a Jewish plot to replace white people -- was embraced by the shooter who went into a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, and killed 11 Jewish people last October.

    NARRATOR: The United Nations Global Compact for Migration was adopted on Monday by 164 governments at an international conference in Marrakech, Morocco. The historic event was described by U.N. chief António Guterres as the creation of a roadmap to “prevent suffering and chaos.” More double speak from the failing globalist agenda. Flooding nations with millions of foreigners who have no intention to assimilate and who are not held accountable for their criminal actions is perhaps the most potent recipe for suffering and chaos the world has ever known. 

    A post from January 10 pushed the white nationalist conspiracy theory that a white genocide is occurring in South Africa. The video featured an interview with Simon Roche, a member of a white nationalist South African group. The video description claimed there was an “Anti-White Liberal Indoctrination In South Africa” that has led to the “#persecution of #whitefarmers.”

    In a video posted January 7, kickboxer Emory Andrew Tate III went on an anti-immigrant tirade, saying he supports “openly divisionist” countries and criticizing the mayor of London for being Muslim.

    EMORY ANDREW TATE III: They’re upset with it because Russia is a country that understands -- they have no problem in being openly nationalist. If you go to Moscow, they will have apartment -- let's say for apartments, you can rent apartments. I’ve been there. And some of the apartments say, “We only rent to Russians. We only speak Russian, we only rent to Russians.” They’re openly divisionist. They’re openly like, “This is our country, it’s our rules. This is how we play by the rules. If you don’t like it, get out.”

    TATE: Absolutely, they won’t collapse. You cannot go to Russia and tell them how to be. This is the problem with, is -- I don’t have a problem with Muslims specifically --

    TATE: Absolutely, the mayor of London is a Muslim. When will the mayor of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia be a white Christian? Never. It will never happen.

    Jones’ account has also featured videos promoting extremists who have been banned from Instagram.

    Gavin McInnes, founder of violent gang the Proud Boys, has appeared in at least eight posts from Jones’ handle and one IGTV video since McInnes was banned from Instagram in October, along with other accounts affiliated with the Proud Boys. Some of these videos posted by Jones have promoted the Proud Boys. One post comedically assembled clips from an Infowars episode in which McInnes “initiated” Jones into the Proud Boys gang by punching him repeatedly while Jones listed cereal names.

    In another post, which has been deleted or removed, McInnes defended Proud Boys members who were arrested after attacking a group of protesters while yelling anti-queer slurs. McInnes claimed the Proud Boys were “defending themselves” -- a claim that was debunked by surveillance footage soon after McInnes’ appearance.

    GAVIN MCINNES: I appreciate your support. And it is time to fight. But you know, when your friends are facing years in prison for defending themselves, you get to the point where you think, “I fought the law and the law won.”

    Jones also posted an Infowars clip featuring British anti-Muslim bigot Tommy Robinson on March 7 -- one week after Robinson was banned from the platform for violating hate speech content policies. In this clip, Robinson claimed that far-left groups, media outlets, and “Muslim organizations” were all conspiring together to bring him down.

    Jones uses Instagram to rehash conspiracy theories and spread disinformation.

    On March 8, Jones shared video of a congressional hearing in which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) expressed opposition to mandating flu vaccines. The post described the video as “Infections From Vaccines In 3 States While 30 States Push Mandatory Vaccines.” Jones posted the video one day after Facebook announced it would ramp up efforts to reduce the spread of vaccine misinformation.

    In a post from March 6, Jones mocked a video of Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt speaking at a panel on the rise of global anti-Semitism. While Greenblatt was explaining that conspiracy theories targeting George Soros are rooted in anti-Semitism, Jones interjected, calling Soros “that poor baby” and repeating the false smear that he was “a Nazi.”

    Jones is not the only Infowars-affiliated account on Instagram.

    In addition to @real_alexjones, other Instagram handles which appear to be affiliated with Infowars have been active on the platform. These include @redpilledtv, @thenewswars, and @warroomshow. An account purporting to be Infowars personality Paul Joseph Watson (@pauljosephwatson) regularly posts videos of his Infowars program Prison Planet. Watson has not been banned from any major platform despite his employment with Infowars, and he recently announced he is launching a new project to “generate the next generation of YouTubers.”

    Charts by Melissa Joskow.

  • Alex Jones has a secondary YouTube channel where he claims the New Zealand mosque shootings were a false flag

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Alex jones
    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Update (3/19/19): Following the publication of this post, the Resistance News channel was removed from YouTube, with a message now telling visitors to its page the “account has been terminated for a violation of YouTube's Terms of Service.”

    Although YouTube has banned several channels associated with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars site, the outlet still maintains a secondary channel and is using it to claim that the the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques were “false flag” attacks.

    While YouTube banned Jones’ primary account in August 2018 and banned some related Infowars channels in the following months, Infowars appears to still be operating a channel called Resistance News. The channel was first created in May 2015 and has amassed nearly 12 million views and more than 64,000 subscribers. Resistance News exclusively posts Infowars content, and Infowars.com articles embed videos hosted by the channel.

    The channel has posted several videos promoting conspiracy theories about the mass shootings carried out by a white supremacist at two New Zealand mosques on March 15. In a video posted on March 18, Jones suggested the shooting was a “false flag” and played distressing footage from the gunman’s livestreamed video of the moments leading up to his attack.

    Jones said that the gunman “has an intelligence agent cutout and he says he wants to cause a global civil war. Well, that’s the definition of a false flag is when you stage something to blame someone else or to get a desired political outcome.” He then played a clip of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh pushing the false flag conspiracy theory.

    Soon after, Jones pivoted to attacking Muslims, asking, “Where are the Muslim groups decrying Islamic terror attacks on Christians and others? You could hear a pin drop.” The video’s description echoes this point, claiming that “the bought and paid for media is pushing an anti white American narrative while ignoring the decimation of Christians globally at a record pace.” The video concluded with advertisements for Infowars products, indicating that Infowars still hopes to profit from its videos that appear on YouTube.

    Another Resistance News video, published on March 15, carries the title “NZ Shooter Is A Leftist Communist Sympathizer” and also contains footage of the moments leading up to the attack on the first mosque.

    Additionally, the channel posted a video on March 17, titled “Podesta Labels NZ A Big Juicy Target For Weaponized Propaganda,” suggesting that former Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta -- a main target of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory -- was somehow connected to the mosque shootings. This new conspiracy theory had been heavily promoted by followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory and other far-right trolls on social media.

    Despite YouTube’s attempt to enforce its ban against Jones and Infowars, the conspiracy theorist remains a large presence on the video-sharing platform. A February 27 appearance by Jones on Joe Rogan’s podcast has amassed over 11 million views -- and the video is monetized, meaning that YouTube is profiting from Jones’ appearance via an ad revenue-sharing agreement with Rogan. Infowars personality Kaitlin Bennett also made a recent appearance to push Infowars talking points on the podcast of Logan Paul, one of the most popular YouTubers. And longtime Infowars figure Paul Joseph Watson recently announced that he will launch an Infowars-affiliated project to "generate the next generation of YouTubers.”

    Alex Kaplan contributed research.

  • Roger Stone’s Infowars co-host attacks judge overseeing Stone’s criminal case

    Stone is under a gag order that prohibits him from commenting on the case or directing others to do so

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Infowars host Owen Shroyer attacked Judge Amy Berman Jackson by alleging that she won’t give Infowars host and Trump confidant Roger Stone a fair trial because she is involved in covering up “the crimes of Barack Obama.”

    Shroyer and Stone are co-hosts on the Infowars program War Room, although Stone stopped making his regular appearances on the show after Jackson imposed a gag order on him.

    Stone, who is facing seven felony charges as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, was subjected to a gag order by Jackson on February 21 after he posted an image of Jackson next to crosshairs on social media and wrote a caption complaining about the “Obama appointed Judge.” The terms of the gag order prohibit Stone from speaking publicly about his case or Mueller’s investigation, and it additionally prohibits him from commenting on the case “indirectly by having statements made publicly on his behalf by surrogates, family members, spokespersons, representatives, or volunteers.”

    In a clip of War Room posted to Infowars on March 12, Shroyer said that Stone is innocent but that he fears he will be jailed “a politicized judge, nominated by Obama, one of the greatest criminals in American history.” Shroyer went on to add, “You don’t think for one second that judge wants to protect the crimes of Barack Obama?”

    OWEN SHROYER (CO-HOST): Bob Mueller and all these Democrats with Adam Schiff and everybody destroying all these innocent people’s lives, destroying America. They love it. They get off to it. It gets them high. And the average American can’t empathize with that. They don’t even have a scintilla of empathy for that. They couldn’t even comprehend having no remorse, just in cold blood destroying anyone’s life that’s in your way politically. And so, honestly, that’s why it’s so hard for America and for the average human to truly comprehend the evil that we’re dealing with. And the only reason I comprehend it is because I’ve seen it, I’ve studied it, and I now can flesh it out and know every move they make.

    And that’s why I’m afraid my friend Roger Stone, an innocent man, is going to be put in jail by a politicized judge, nominated by Obama, one of the greatest criminals in American history. You don’t think for one second that judge wants to protect the crimes of Barack Obama? I’m trying not to get mad right now. This is when I start screaming. Because America needs to wake the hell up.

    Stone’s Infowars boss, Alex Jones, previously used Infowars to broadcast his own attacks on Jackson. During a February 24 broadcast, he compared Jackson to Hitler and repeated Stone’s pre-gag order catchphrase that he will not “bear false witness against the president.”