Alex Jones

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  • Andrew Napolitano Off Fox News “Indefinitely” After Media Matters Exposed His Lie About Britain Spying On Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Los Angeles Times reported that Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano “is being kept off the air indefinitely” after Media Matters exposed his false claim that President Barack Obama allegedly used British intelligence community to wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 election. The claim originated from a discredited conspiracy theorist on the Kremlin-backed news network RT.

    On March 14, Napolitano told hosts of Fox News’ Fox & Friends that Obama asked “the British spying agency” for “transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump” without “American fingerprints” to sidestep the American intelligence community. Napolitano’s claims were repeated by White House press secretary Sean Spicer while he was defending Trump’s baseless claims that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election.

    The Trump administration’s promotion of Napolitano’s conspiracy theory resulted in an international incident with the U.K., and Trump faulted Fox News during a news conference with German President Angela Merkel. Fox News distanced itself from Napolitano’s claims in a statement explaining that the network “knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop.”

    Media Matters first traced Napolitano's wiretapping conspiracy back to an interview on the state-sponsored Russian television network RT with the former CIA analyst and discredited conspiracy theorist Larry C. Johnson, who previously promoted false claims that Michelle Obama used a racial slur against Caucasian people. Following Media Matters’ post, The New York Times confirmed that Napolitano used Johnson as “one of the sources” for his bogus wiretapping claim on March 17. Media Matters also exposed Napolitano's history as a 9-11 truther, reporting that he told renowned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that it is "hard for me to believe that" World Trade Center Building 7 "came down by itself."

    On March 20, the Los Angeles Times reported that Napolitano is “not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future” after being “conspicuously missing from the network’s coverage of the confirmation hearings” for Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. From the article:

    Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is being kept off the air indefinitely amid the controversy over his unverified claims that British intelligence wiretapped Trump Tower at the behest of former President Obama.

    Fox News did not respond to inquiries about Napolitano’s status Monday. Napolitano was conspicuously missing from the network’s coverage of the confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — an event in which he typically would have played a significant role. He has not been on the air since Thursday.

    People familiar with the situation who could speak only on the condition of anonymity said Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future. Napolitano was not available for comment.

    Media Matters President Angelo Carusone released the following statement:

    Media Matters’ war on Fox News may be over. But, we don’t need to be on a war footing to expose when they promote conspiracies that originated from a segment on Russian state media. Especially when that false information gets into Donald Trump’s brain and leads to an international incident, as it did this week with Andrew Napolitano’s Fox & Friends segment.

    Most people may not realize it, but Napolitano has long been one of Trump’s favorites (I’m sure that’s not just because he’s one of Trump’s tenants either). Just a few months ago, Trump confidant Roger Stone was predicting that Trump would eventually nominate Napolitano to the Supreme Court. And, don’t forget that Napolitano met with Trump on multiple occasions between election day and inauguration day to reportedly advise Trump on filling Supreme Court vacancies among other things.

    So, it’s somewhat ironic that Donald Trump is responsible for getting Andrew Napolitano booted from the airwaves. And, yes, it’s all Trump’s fault.

    Napolitano has been peddling convoluted conspiracies and false claims on Fox News for years. It wasn’t that long ago that Napolitano was bouncing back and forth between Alex Jones’ radio program and Glenn Beck’s since cancelled Fox News show, cross pollinating nonsense and lies.

    But, Napolitano’s conspiracies never mattered to Fox News before. They only mattered now because Trump parroted one and subsequently sparked an international incident with the United Kingdom. (A country, by the way, where Fox News owner Murdoch is currently being carefully scrutinized in order to secure regulatory approval to expand his media empire and take over Sky News).

    If Fox News was actually concerned with standards, they would have sanctioned Napolitano years ago -- and they would certainly do something about the litany of lies that Trump continues to consume by watching Hannity, Tucker, and Fox & Friends.”

    This post has been updated for clarity.

  • Birthers And Fringe Outlets Claim NSA Documents Back Up Trump’s Wiretap Lie

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    In order to back President Donald Trump’s false allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, fringe outlets and fake news purveyors -- along with some right-wing media -- are hyping a claim from Infowars’ Jerome Corsi and Alex Jones that supposedly reveals National Security Agency (NSA) documents that show Trump was spied on for years. Corsi and the “sources” he and Jones rely on have been major proponents of the debunked myth that Obama’s birth certificate is fake.

  • Donald Trump Jr. Liked Alex Jones Tweet Claiming That Obama Used British Intelligence To Spy On President Trump

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Donald Trump Jr. liked a tweet by Alex Jones pushing the baseless claim that President Barack Obama “went outside" the chain of command "to spy on Trump" during the 2016 election with the help of the British government. The Trump administration was heavily criticized after White House press secretary Sean Spicer pushed the same conspiracy at a March 16 press conference.

    On March 15, Alex Jones tweeted:

    Jones’ tweet linked to a March 14 Infowars piece with the headline “Judge Napolitano: Obama Used British Intelligence To Spy On Trump.” The unbylined article highlighted an appearance Napolitano made on Fox & Friends during which he said that “three intelligence sources told him if Obama asked an American agency for a wiretap on Trump, there would be a record of that request, but by using British agency GCHQ Obama avoided leaving any ‘fingerprints.’”

    Trump Jr. subsequently liked Jones’ tweet:

    Alex Jones and Andrew Napolitano are 9/11 conspiracy theorists who are not credible.

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer created an international incident by citing Napolitano’s Fox News report during yesterday’s White House briefing. The British government has strongly denied the spying claims and Trump officials have reportedly attempted to "soothe British officials" over the claim. 

    Trump Jr. has repeatedly promoted fringe conspiracy theories that originated with conservative media, including Infowars. He also has frequently tweeted out content from Alex Jones and Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson (@prisonplanet).

    Jones claimed in February that President Donald Trump and his sons watch his videos and show “every night.”

  • Meet Lauren Southern, The Latest “Alt-Right” Media Troll To Gain Access To The White House Press Briefing

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Lauren Southern, a Canadian “alt-right” media figure, is the latest troll to gain access to the White House press briefing. Southern has a record of making incendiary remarks, denying the existence of rape culture, and demonizing racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Southern is just the latest of the fringe, sycophantic “alt-right” media personalities that the White House is letting into its press briefings.

  • Alex Jones Is Not Bragging

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones wants to be very clear that he is not bragging when he says the things he says.

  • Right-Wing Media Scramble To Recast Obama As Trump-Era Villain

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In science, nature abhors a vacuum. On cable news, Fox News abhors not having a Democratic villain. So the network is trying to bring back former President Barack Obama for the starring role.

    Desperately searching for someone with a high profile to blame for the generally chaotic start of Trump’s controversy-filled administration, the conservative media are refitting the former Democratic president, who has kept a low profile since exiting the White House, as an all-powerful gremlin who’s to blame for Trump’s laundry list of political woes.

    And now, of course, Trump has seized on the right-wing media theme. Brandishing little more than a right-wing radio rant that was typed up by Breitbart.com, Trump over the weekend made the wholly unsubstantiated, and nonsensical, claim that Obama ordered a wiretap at Trump Tower. Trump then demanded that Congress investigate the alleged abuses. (Surprise! Trump’s right-wing media allies support the call.)

    The burgeoning blame game started last month with allegations that Obama was responsible for the big crowds protesting Trump’s presidency. (He wasn’t.) Since then, the allegations have widened, and now Obama is viewed as some sort of all-powerful troll who’s mysteriously capable of disrupting all factions of the Trump administration.

    But let’s take a step back and understand what’s also going on: The right-wing media cannot survive without high-profile liberal villains who can be used to rile up the Republican masses. For the previous eight years, Obama was portrayed as an almost demonic figure bent on destroying the American way of life. And for the last two years of Obama’s term, Hillary Clinton received co-star status as America’s Villain on Fox News and in other right-wing media, which denounced her every move, real or imagined, as an outrage.

    Being outraged, and especially being outraged about made-up things, has been a signature of the far-right press for years. It certainly defined the Obama era, blossoming into Fox News' entire programming blueprint. Fox News posted huge profits each year by overreacting to imagined Obama slights. (Remember when Obama disrespected the Oval Office by putting his feet on his desk, watched too much sports television, was too mean to Republicans, and ordered too fancy a mustard on a burger?) 

    But with Republicans now controlling the White House, the Senate, the House, and possibly soon the Supreme Court, it’s getting hard for Republicans to focus on a single villain. (Can Trump’s failures really all be blamed on the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?)

    So Fox News and friends have for weeks been trying to drag Obama out of retirement for the top role of Democratic scoundrel. Even though Obama has remained mostly silent since Trump was sworn in, he has been denounced as a devilish figure and used to rile the GOP base.

    Today, from Fox News to the National Enquirer, from Alex Jones to Rush Limbaugh, the rallying cry is emerging: Barack Obama is an omnipotent force who’s obstructing and dooming Trump’s agenda.

    Here was New York Post writer Paul Sperry frantically sounding the Obama alarms on Alex Jones’ conspiratorial radio show, according to a transcript from the Austin American-Statesman (emphasis added):

    Forget about Hillary, Hillary’s gone. His main concern right now is Obama. I mean the guy’s set up a bunker down the street from the White House..He’s got a mansion. He’s got an office. OFA, the Obama Foundation he’s setting up. He’s got his own chief of staff, press secretary. He’s setting up his own shadow White House, just within two miles of the White House .. This is something on the order of a civil war here.

    Jones was a believer: “And I agree with you, at a gut level I am more concerned about this than anything I’ve seen in 20 years on air.”

    The right-wing Daily Mail has also been issuing the warning, insisting that “Obama's goal is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment” and that Obama’s new Washington, D.C., home was being turned “into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor.”

    Politically, why the urgent need from the Trump loyalists in the press to bring back Obama, and his allegedly conniving cohorts, just weeks after he left office? Because there has to be an explanation for why Trump and his administration have suffered such a chaotic first few weeks, why they have sparked so many controversies and experienced so many early losses. There must be an explanation for why Obamacare hasn’t been repealed, why the White House travel ban was overturned by the courts, and why Trump is so deeply unpopular.

    Yes, the White House has declared war on the press, but that blame game doesn’t really address Trump’s endless political setbacks. So the default explanation has become “It’s Obama’s fault.” That, and his all-powerful “shadow government.” (He’s kinda like George Soros, but with Secret Service protection.)

    By elevating the supposed looming, off-stage threat of Obama, the right-wing media also allow Trump to play the perpetual victim.

    What’s funny is that while Obama has remained mostly mum about his successor, it was former Republican president George W. Bush who made headlines last week when he seemed to voice concerns about Trump’s presidency.

    From The New York Times:

    Former President George W. Bush implicitly criticized President Trump on Monday, taking issue with his approach to immigration and the news media, and suggested that any ties between the new president’s team and Russia should be investigated.

    Today, there’s no evidence to support right-wing media claims that Obama has turned his home into an anti-Trump “nerve center,” or that he’s marshaling the forces of his “shadow government” to overthrow the administration. But there is plenty of proof that Obama’s living rent-free inside the heads of Fox News pundits.

  • Infowars Denies It Promoted “Pizzagate” Conspiracy Theory After Deleting Content From Its Website

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A piece on the notorious conspiracy theory website Infowars.com blatantly lied about the site’s promotion of the so-called “pizzagate” conspiracy theory, after the site’s creator Alex Jones deleted evidence he promoted the conspiracy.

    In a February 24 article for Infowars.com, editor Kit Daniels falsely claimed that “the discussion around Pizzagate largely occurred on Reddit, 4chan and Twitter -- but not Infowars,” in an attempt to rebut claims made by former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta during a discussion with John Heilemann.

    In fact, Alex Jones promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory on his radio show, urging his listeners “to go investigate it for yourself.” Jones urged his audience to “go to the report, Pizzagate Is Real,” and stated “Something’s going on. Something’s being covered up. It needs to be investigated”:

    ALEX JONES: Now I want to be clear. Not everybody in the WikiLeaks is involved in this. Clearly. You have to go investigate it for yourself. But I will warn you, this story that’s been the biggest thing on the internet for several weeks, pizzagate as it’s called, is a rabbit hole that is horrifying to go down.

    […]

    Let’s go ahead and go to the report, Pizzagate Is Real. The question is: How real is it? What is it? Something’s going on. Something’s being covered up. It needs to be investigated. To just call it fake news -- these are real WikiLeaks. This is real stuff going on.

    During that broadcast, Infowars producer Jon Bowne said Clinton allies were “using a code to communicate child sex trafficking as casually as ordering a pizza,” and Alex Jones suggested he would be “getting on a plane” to visit Comet Ping Pong” because “it’s just like Bohemian Grove and stuff, I can’t just say something and not see it for myself. They go to these pizza places, there’s like satanic art everywhere.” Infowars has additionally published articles headlined “Pizzagate: The Mysterious Death Of A Human Trafficking Investigator,” and “Pizzagate Is Global.”

    One week after Jones’ promoted the “pizzagate” conspiracy, gunman Edgar Welch told The New York Times that he listens to Alex Jones, and reportedly went to Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle to investigate the conspiracy. Days later, Alex Jones attempted to scrub pizzagate content from his website, and downplayed his role in promoting the conspiracy theory, while stating Welch was an “admitted actor,” claiming “the whole thing is classic scripting. I’m not saying it’s scripted -- it has all the telltale signs, they’ve been caught doing it before.”

  • Alex Jones Apologizes To Donald Trump For Missing His Calls

    9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Also Claims That Trump And His Sons Watch His Show “Every Night”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Radio host Alex Jones issued a bizarre and rambling message to President Donald Trump during which he touted his connections to the president, stated that he regrets having “missed” Trump’s phone calls, and claimed that Trump and his sons watch his videos and show “every night.” Jones also told his perceived enemies: "We're going to get you, assholes. ... How about you die?! Kill your fucking selves, you fucking globalists!”

    Jones is a toxic conspiracy theorist who has claimed that the United States government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, and the Boston Marathon, among others. Trump has helped mainstream Jones and his once-fringe website Infowars and has reportedly consulted him for political advice.

    Jones posted a February 21 video headlined “Emergency SOS To Donald Trump,” which features the host talking to a camera while driving a car and warning the president that his political enemies are attempting to censor pro-Trump media like Infowars and Breitbart.

    During the video, Jones repeatedly bragged about his access to the president. He stated: “I know that I have missed more of your calls than I’d like to, sir. I wish I always had the phone glued to me when you call. And I know that you’ve expressed your appreciation for the audience and what we do for this country.”

    He later said that Trump and “his sons, they end up watching these. They watch every night. We’re not bragging. We brought the president where he is -- doesn’t mean he didn’t have the will like a ship to be on the ocean, but we were on the ocean that Trump was on. He knows that.” Jones added, “People are like, ‘Oh, you want access to power.’ You goddamn idiots. We’ve got the frickin audience, dumbasses. But we don’t care about the audience for some peacock stuff -- we care about it to change destiny, to change the will of the people.”

    The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg recently reported that “where Mr. Jones’s content fits in Mr. Trump’s broad media diet isn’t clear. White House officials declined to talk about it in detail.” He noted:

    Mr. Jones demurred when it came to his influence on Mr. Trump, which he said the “MSM” (mainstream media) overstated to undermine the president. “MSM tries to say Alex Jones is an eight-headed kook with all these warts and Trump’s copying everything he says,” Mr. Jones told me. “It’s just not true.”

    For instance, he said, when he urged Mr. Trump to address illegal voting allegations during one phone conversation, “he said, ‘I already know, I’m making a speech in two days.’” (Mr. Trump, he said, “was an Infowarrior before I was born.”)

    Mr. Jones said that conversation had taken place earlier in the campaign, not on the phone call immediately after the election that my colleague Maggie Haberman reported on, in which Mr. Jones said the president had thanked him for his support. Mr. Jones told me that he had spoken with Mr. Trump since that call, though an aide to the president, communicating on the condition of anonymity, played down the frequency of their contact.

    Jones has repeatedly bragged about his communication and influence with Trump, stating in August that it’s “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later. It is amazing.”

    During the February 21 video, Jones also accused unnamed “globalists” -- his term for corporate and political elites who are purportedly trying to destroy the world -- of trying to kill Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and successfully killing Justice Antonin Scalia, claiming:

    ALEX JONES: Clarence Thomas was called in -- and everybody knows, because he was the only other conservative guy and they killed the other one -- he was told, “It’s all over. Shut up. It’s over.” They threatened him. And Thomas wanted to leave the country. They threatened his life. And I didn’t get that from Drudge, so I’m not going to have a source. I got it from two other people. They told Clarence Thomas, “We’ll kill your ass, OK? Shut your fucking mouth and stop ruling like this or you’re going to be dead.” And then they killed the other guy, Scalia, because he wouldn’t go along with it. That’s the fucking shit we’re dealing with, people!

    He also issued a violent warning to unnamed globalists, stating: “We’re going to get you, assholes. Just know that. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect. But we’re not out to screw women and children and hurt people. You understand that, assholes? You hate humanity because you project your own hatred of yourself on us, asshole. You wanna kill us? How about you die?! Kill your fucking selves, you fucking globalists! Go ahead, [Infowars writer Rob] Dew. … Fuck yeah, fuck them! I’m sick of their shit, I don’t fucking care anymore!”