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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones called on Neil Heslin, who lost his son during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, to clarify whether he actually held his son’s body and observed a bullet hole in his head.
Jones made the demand during the July 20 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show while complaining that he has come under attack for questioning official accounts of the December 2012 shooting, which claimed 26 lives.
The statement that Jones wants Heslin to clarify was made during Megyn Kelly’s interview with Heslin as part of her June 18 profile of Jones for her NBC show Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Heslin rebutted conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting, telling Kelly, “I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole through his head.”
Heslin’s son, Jesse Lewis, saved several classmates’ lives during the shooting by telling them to run when the gunman’s weapon jammed, according to investigators.
During the July 20 broadcast, Jones played a June video report from Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer that claimed it was impossible for Heslin to have held his son.
In the report, Shroyer said of Heslin, “The statement he made, fact-checkers on this have said cannot be accurate. He’s claiming that he held his son and saw the bullet hole in his head. That is his claim. Now according to a timeline of events and a coroner’s testimony, that is not possible.”
As evidence of his claims, Shroyer played a video clip from shortly after the shooting where a coroner explained to press that the victims were identified by parents with photographs rather than in person. Shroyer ended his report by saying, “Will there be a clarification from Heslin or Megyn Kelly? I wouldn’t hold your breath. So now they’re fueling the conspiracy theory claims.”
Shroyer’s report is easily debunked; according to news accounts, the bodies of the victims were released from the coroner and taken to funeral homes. Funerals where the children’s bodies were in the custody of their parents were widely reported on by the press.
Jones vacillated on whether Heslin was lying about seeing his son’s body and called on him to “clarify” what happened during his July 20 broadcast.
Before playing the Shroyer segment, Jones said, “Quite frankly, the father needs to clarify, NBC needs to clarify, because the coroner said none of the parents were allowed to touch the kids or see the kids and maybe meaning at the school. I’m sure later maybe the parents saw their children.”
After showing the segment, Jones said he told Shroyer, “I could never find out. The stuff I found was they never let them see their bodies. That’s kind of what’s weird about this. But maybe they did. So I’m sure it’s all real. But for some reason they don’t want you to see [Shroyer’s segment].”
Speaking more broadly about the shooting, Jones said, “Can I prove that New Haven (sic) didn’t happen? No. So I’ve said, for years, we’ve had debates about it, that I don’t know. But you can’t blame people for asking.”
Jones is lying. In the years following the shooting, he definitively called the tragedy a hoax. For example, in December 2014, Jones said, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”
After Jones’ profile was raised by his close association with President Donald Trump, he was heavily criticized for these claims and has subsequently tried to sanitize them by saying he was merely asking questions or debating whether the shooting happened. The bottom line is that even this type of commentary casts doubt on the shooting and fuels conspiracy theories that are used to harass the victims’ family members.
Alex Jones is now frequently claiming that the United States is on the verge of a bloody second civil war and often indicating his willingness to personally take up arms if such a conflict arises.
Jones, America’s leading conspiracy theorist, is the self-described “founding father” of the 9/11 truth movement claiming that the government perpetrated the terrorist attacks. He has pushed numerous other toxic conspiracy theories, including claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and other mass shootings and bombings were "false flag" operations or hoaxes.
He is also a major ally of President Donald Trump. In December 2015, Trump appeared on The Alex Jones Show and praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation. Jones says that he communicates regularly with Trump and has claimed that Trump calls him to see if Jones is “happy” with his performance as president.
Jones’ strident defenses of Trump increasingly include characterizing dissent against the president as Democrats’ attempt to start a civil war with the goal of executing a coup d’etat against Trump. During the last six months, Jones has posted at least 15 videos on YouTube with a reference to civil war in the title. But in the absence of any real plot to violently overthrow the president or a war divided along party lines, Jones’ rhetoric is only inflaming political tensions.
Jones has blamed various groups for supposedly inciting a civil war, including “liberals,” “the left,” “the democrats,” “leftists,” and “globalists.” Sometimes Jones does not specify the forces he say are plotting a war, i.e. merely referencing “you people.” He has also been inconsistent on whether civil war has already begun, is imminent, or if we are the in-between state of a “soft civil war.”
Jones is consistent, however, in stating that any violence carried out by the right would be self-defense in response to the other side starting the war. This is a rhetorical device that allows him to discuss the prospect of violence while denying that he has threatened anyone. In one typical iteration, Jones said during his June 15 show, “I’m not the one that’s calling for violence; you’re going to get wrecked bad. There are a lot of people like Santa Claus been making a list, been checking it twice about who's been naughty and nice. And you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.”
While raising the idea of a second civil war, Jones frequently talks about personally participating in armed conflict and his prowess with firearms. During his June 15 broadcast, in which Jones discussed the prospect of a civil war with “the Democrats,” he said, “I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards.” A month earlier while discussing a “physical war,” Jones had said, “I mean, I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class.” Beyond talking about participating in fighting if a war was to break out, Jones has volunteered to take part in mass arrests and personally hang convicted traitors.
Jones’ civil war narrative is coupled with a second disturbing narrative in which he has often urged Trump to arrest his political opponents or even direct the military to take action against his domestic opponents. Jones has called for the arrest or indictment of former President Barack Obama, former Democratic president nominee Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and former national security advisor Susan Rice. He has also urged Trump to have the military physically confront Americans, saying in June, “I'd support the president right now moving against these people physically. Let's be honest. We're in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now. The country is that big a crisis. We need to go ahead and move.”
Below are examples from the last several months of Jones repeatedly fantasizing about civil war, calling on Trump to take authoritarian actions against political opponents, and threatening violence against people and groups.
Jones: “I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,” but “we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.” While claiming he didn’t want to “kill a bunch of liberals,” Jones nonetheless urged people during his June 23 broadcast to get ready for civil war:
ALEX JONES (HOST): Did you see the video of President Trump speaking to a crowd and as soon as he says let’s have a moment of silence for [Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)] and the cops that got shot and others, they start booing and hissing and screaming, and I saw a top Democratic strategist on Fox News defending #HuntRepublicans. I don’t want to have this be violent. We just won, election-wise. We just saw Karen Handel win. We’ve just won four upset special elections despite the biggest Democratic spending ever. We’re winning the old-fashioned American way with ideas. I don’t want a war. I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals, I just -- but I also feel like I’m in dereliction as a citizen of my duty not saying we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/23/17]
Jones volunteered to personally hang convicted traitors following a civil war. Talking about a prospect of “the left” starting a civil war, Jones offered to execute convicted traitors because, he said, “I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.” During his June 23 broadcast he also said if a war starts, there is a “big Christmas list” of leftists:
ALEX JONES (HOST): We’re holding back, we don’t want to be violent, we’re winning. Letting them shoot congressmen and stuff, we tried to stop it but -- they’re clearly, the left is building up for a bigger tantrum, a bigger confrontation. How long do we take this, though, until Trump moves against them? I think the folks over in Bzezinski land on Morning Joe, they’re saying, “Oh, watch out, Trump’s about to become a dictator.” No, he got elected. But if we have to move in a very serious way against people openly wanting to murder everybody, that’s called your duty. I don’t want to have a big shooting war, I don’t want to have to arrest 10,000 of these people and have trials and hang their asses. But if it’s done by a jury, and we need to, I’ll be there and pull the switch. I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it. How long can they keep pushing for this?
JONES: If a civil war starts, there is a big Christmas list of these leftists. So I hope every one of them that wants violence and war knows this: I’m not going to talk about what people are planning in defense of this. But you just know this: This is a two way street. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/23/17]
Jones: “I’m not the one that’s calling for violence,” but “you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.” Jones fantasized about “Civil War 2” on his show after Scalise was shot. During the show, Jones also raised the prospect of someone shooting CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, saying, “What happens, Wolf Blitzer, when somebody pumps rounds into your little pumpkin head and says, ‘It’s just political’?” From the June 15 episode of The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Wolf Blitzer has a guest on: “So, this man wasn’t a monster, he was just tired of things.” Wolf Blitzer: “OK, thanks for your view. Hmm, very interesting.” What happens, Wolf Blitzer, when somebody pumps rounds into your little pumpkin head and says, “It’s just political”? Ha. You people. You guys better have some helicopter jump jets and be ready to get out of here real quick if the actual civil war kicks off. I mean, I’m not the one that’s calling for violence; you’re going to get wrecked bad. There are a lot of people like Santa Claus, been making a list, been checking it twice about who's been naughty and nice. And you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/15/17]
Jones' warning to “the Democrats” who want civil war: “I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass.” Following the Scalise shooting, Jones claimed that “the Democrats” were celebrating the shooting and threatening him, saying, “They all hate guns, they don’t know how to use them. But I can shoot bull's-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. They have no idea who they’re messing with.” Jones also said to those who would start a war: “You understand we are killing machines, you fools.” From the June 14 broadcast of Jones’ show:
ALEX JONES (HOST): I’m saying, don’t you people get it? You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.
JONES: The Democrats -- the tweets are all over Infowars.com, they’re tweeting at me going, “We’re going to get you next, you bastard.” I mean, they’re celebrating this. But they all hate guns, they don’t know how to use them. But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/14/17]
Jones: Leftists want a war, so “cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war.” Jones described “leftists” as “mentally ill people, losers, scum” and, while fantasizing about the prospect of war, claimed they “hope for violence” and they “want total conquering”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): The leftists are mentally ill people, losers, scum, and sociopathic and psychopathic elites. They want total conquering. They see as as schmucks that want open free societies. They see us as jokes that actually care about free market and actually care about people’s freedoms. They are allied with authoritarianism because they worship at the dark idol of tyranny. This is a historic fact. But they want a war? Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war. They want to kill our republic? Well the ghost of our king, Jesus, is now ravenously walking the battlefields of the mind and they have sown the wind. They are now reaping the whirlwind politically. They hope for violence because they are intellectually losing the war of ideas with us. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/31/17]
Jones to “chicken necks” who “want some physical war”: “I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class.” Jones raised the prospect of a “physical war” with globalists and others during his May 18 show, saying, “I hope all the chicken necks, and cowards out there that want some physical war, I hope you know how stupid you are trying to start a fight with everybody who knows how to actually fight. You’re idiots. You are morons. I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class.” From the May 18 edition of The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Let me just briefly stop here for a moment because I can sit here and put on an act that I’m not angry. But I am angry -- I mean, I’m pissed. These are evil people who really have it out to bankrupt us, make us poor. They attack Christians, they attack families. You just see what the globalists are up to. I wouldn’t be risking my life fighting some Boss Hog corruption. I would be speaking out against it, but I wouldn’t be hair-on-fire, wild-eyed if I didn’t know the people we’re up against run the gambit from devil worshippers, pedophiles, psychopaths. I mean, they’re just the worst people on earth, OK? And I’m done. Everything they say is a lie. Everything they say is a fraud. And we’re so honest we’re up here admitting we’re thinking about dirty tricks. That’s how honest we are. And I’m not going to do it. There’s a lot of people that are desperate at this point. And it’s just -- I hope all the chicken necks and cowards out there that want some physical war, I hope you know how stupid you are trying to start a fight with everybody that knows how to actually fight. I mean, you’re idiots. You are morons. I mean, I could take on 100 trendies and I’m not even warrior class compared to the warrior class. I mean, you guys are so far removed from men, I don’t even know what you call yourselves. Now let’s just stop right there. I need funding to prosecute a war. I -- with your help and the crew -- we have devastated the globalists. And we sell game-changing supplements, game-changing shirts where you meet like-minded people, game-changing, high-quality, non-GMO heirloom seeds, high quality, non-fluoride toothpaste with colloidal silver and iodine. It’s all there. InfowarsLife.com, InfowarsStore.com. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/18/17]
Jones: If supporters don’t take the actions he recommends, “we’re going to lose the information war and then we don’t have any recourse but to defend ourselves.” Claiming that Trump is “a dead man,” Jones said that if supporters fail to take nonviolent political actions such as buying billboards spaces and calling C-SPAN, “we’re going to lose the information war and then we don’t have any recourse but to defend ourselves.” Jones went on to rant about what he called “Bolshevik” elements in the United States who he said will rape and murder American families. From Jones’ May 17 broadcast (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Let me just give you a basic summation here. In the last four or five months, I’ve told you, since he was president-elect, this is a deep state coup d’etat operation to undermine him, to destroy him in the public eye first, and then they’re not going to let Trump go to prison or even step down. They know he won’t. They’re going to kill him. And the best minds agree with me. They’re going to kill him at the peak of the investigation. Donald Trump is a dead man. He’s a dead man. He’s dead. He’s walking dead right now unless with counter this.
Because I’m not just going to lay out where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going. We can change where we’re going if we admit how much trouble we are in. And let me say something else to everybody. A lot of you claim you want to fight tyranny. A lot of you claim you wanted free market. A lot of you claim you want to be American. Our forebearers (sic) had to fight bloody wars for what we’ve got. If you won’t fight information war, if you won’t spend money in this fight, if you won’t buy time on local radio, if you won’t call C-SPAN, if you won’t put billboards up, if you won’t go talk to your state House, if you won’t talk to your congress people in D.C. and get them by the hand and tell them you know what’s going on, and if they go along with this takeover of America, they’re going to be held accountable. If you don’t do that, we’re going to lose the information war and then we don’t have any recourse but to defend ourselves.
Because let me tell you something. These people, these globalists, they want us -- they have said they want to snuff us out once and for all. This is an existential war you are in. The very same Bolsheviks that came out of New York and London and Paris and major German cities like Berlin that took over Russia and exterminated the Christians en masse, that same disease is in America and plans a hot Bolshevik war. David Horowitz was brought up in New York City by parents that came out of this and he’ll warn you all day, they want to kill everybody. And I’m just telling you right now, they mean business. They will line you and your family up, and they’ll shoot you in the head, and they’ll rape your daughters, and they’ll kill your sons, and they’ll make your wife work in a field until she dies. So, you want to understand where we’re at? We’ve got the Bolshevik revolution 2.0 with a crazy Nazi collaborator, George Soros, who you know is making money. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/17/17]
Jones said he hopes the “deep state” makes a “bloody” coup attempt against Trump because “it will ensure our victory long term.” Jones fantasized about a violent coup attempt against Trump during his May 17 broadcast and said, “If you want a real war, a 1776 -- I've already done my stuff, telling the truth, I've already set the groundwork and already got the whole infowar ready, I've already go the battle space ready. I've looked at it real careful -- you guys are going to lose 90 percent.” From the May 17 edition of the show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES (HOST): I want to tell the criminals in the deep state, because there’s two different deep states, probably three or four, but two big ones. You’ve been identified. Globalism is un-elected, it's unaccountable, it's anti-human, it's anti-God, it's anti-Christ, it's pro-Islam. You're never going to get away with this. And a sick part of me, a Machiavellian part of me, actually hopes they bring down Trump because it's going to be bloody, and it's going to be bad, and it's going to be hard, but it will ensure our victory long term. Because if Trump just kind of stalemates and fixes a few things but he gets stagnated then it will just kind of permeate, and “Oh did patriotism fail, did free market fail?” But if you want a real war, a 1776 -- I've already done my stuff, telling the truth, I've already set the groundwork and already got the whole infowar ready, I've already got the battle space ready. I've looked at it real careful -- you guys are going to lose 90 percent. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/17/17]
Jones fantasized about what would happen to Keith Olbermann during a civil war while suggesting Olbermann should be put to death for treason. Jones claimed that Democrats are “organizing a military-attempted coup” during his May 12 broadcast and criticized journalist Keith Olbermann for Olbermann’s statement that foreign intelligence agencies should release information about Trump. Jones claimed that Olbermann’s comments were punishable by death, saying, “Sixty years ago, he would be in front of a firing squad in about a month.” He also said, “Hey jackass, you better pray that there’s not a civil war because I guarantee you, you’re the one calling for all of this, I guarantee you son. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Don’t open that door. You have no idea what’s on the other side of that door, you little chicken, you little wimp, you little nelly punk. You open that gate, you have no idea”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): Keith Olbermann has said we’re at war with Russia, that Russia is scum, that Russia stole our election. Now he has come out, with no proof of course of that, and said foreign governments including Russia, help us overthrow Trump -- you mean overthrow our government. And don’t worry, the Democrats are in major newspapers, major magazines like The New Yorker, saying they’re organizing a military-attempted coup, grabbing Trump, putting him in a paddy wagon. All this craziness because he dare turn our economy back on, put three-and-a-half trillion dollars into the stock market, secure our borders again, kill Obamacare, and everything else. It’s a giant screw job. And then Olbermann now calls on foreign powers to come in and overthrow our president. Do you understand? If he was a crazy on guy on the street corner the cops wouldn’t do anything.
The FBI, everybody, has to do something. This is clear, clear, absolute organized crime, treason, espionage. Calling on foreign powers for a coup is high treason. It’s punishable by being hung by the neck until dead -- it’s how the army still does it -- or firing squad, I guess he can pick either one. And I’m serious, man. If I was calling for foreign governments to come overthrow our government, I deserve a firing squad. Let me tell you something. Sixty years ago, he would be in front of a firing squad in about a month. I’m serious.
JONES: So they’re trying to sell the idea of a violent overthrow and a civil war. Hey jackass, you better pray that there’s not a civil war because I guarantee you, you’re the one calling for all of this, I guarantee you, son. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Sonny boy. Don’t open that door. You have no idea what’s on the other side of that door, you little chicken, you little wimp, you little nelly punk. You open that gate, you have no idea. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/12/17]
Jones routinely posts videos suggesting civil war is imminent or has already begun. Over the past six months, Jones has posted videos to his YouTube channel with titles including “Get Ready For CIVIL WAR!” “First Shots Fired In Second US Civil War! What Will You Do?” “Trump's Duty Is To Stop Democrat Civil War Plan,” “LEFT Preparing To Plunge America Into 2nd Civil War,” “Is Civil War Imminent In America?” “The Left Wants a Civil War: What Will Happen?” “America On The Brink Of Bloody Civil War,” “MSM Celebrates Congressional Shooting, Prepares Open Civil War To Destroy America,” “Why Is The Left Pushing For Civil War,” “Leftist Suicide Gene Leads Them To Spark Civil War With Conservatives,” “Report: Obama Planning Civil War To Stop Trump!” “Democrats Call For Civil War To Stop Trump,” “Hollywood Anti-American Scum Will Pay For Promoting Civil War,” “Soros Funds Radical Groups In US To Spark Civil War,” and “Will Trump Stop Democrats' Plan For Violent Civil War?” [YouTube, The Alex Jones Channel, accessed 7/13/17]
Jones called for James Comey, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton to be indicted. During his July 12 broadcast, Jones said, “It’s time to indict Comey. He had classified info and lied to Congress. It’s time to indict Obama. It’s time to indict Hillary. Indict. Indict. Indict. Go on the offense with this scum.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/12/17]
Jones called on Trump to move “physically” and make a “military move” against his enemies. Claiming that “outside forces” are attempting to overthrow the Trump presidency, Jones said during his June 12 broadcast, “I'd support the president right now moving against these people physically. I mean, let's be honest. We're in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now. The country is in that big a crisis. We need to go ahead and move”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): What should Trump do? I mean, he needs to get aggressive. Call them out. [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions needs to start indicting some of these people.
JEROME CORSI: Well, the presidency has enormous power, and Trump better start using it -- better start realizing that in Washington, all these people are his enemies. He's got to fire [White House chief of staff Reince] Priebus. Don't wait until the end of June, as he says he is going to give him more time -- just fire him. Get rid of all the people in the administration who have been there from Clinton and from Obama, get rid of them, and start using the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate [former FBI director James] Comey, Clinton and the others. Fight back, counterattack.
JONES: Absolutely. Look, this is such sedition against the country and the attempted overthrow of our republic by clear outside forces. I'd support the president right now moving against these people physically. I mean, let's be honest. We're in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now. The country is in that big a crisis. We need to go ahead and move. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/12/17]
Jones said Trump should “move quickly” to indict Hillary Clinton. During his May 10 broadcast, Jones said Trump’s “got to move quickly and just come out and say here's the evidence, Hillary, Podesta, communist Chinese, Russia, grand jury, start indicting them”:
CALLER: Now we have to find out who the leakers are. We have to look at Susan Rice, Sally Yates, Barack Obama -- it's a whack-a-mole. Who is the leaker? Now Trump can sic his attack dogs on them and let it loose. Next year is going to be really fun to watch.
ALEX JONES (HOST): No, I agree. He's got to move quickly and just come out and say here's the evidence, Hillary, Podesta, communist Chinese, Russia, grand jury, start indicting them. And go, “Oh I'm Nixonian? No, I'm one hundred times worse.” Nixon didn't do anything. Nixon got set up by the deep state to be removed so they could run everything. We've basically had kept presidents ever since. That's all about to end. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/10/17]
Jones: “We’re about to have nuclear war, folks; it’s time to arrest Hillary Clinton.” Jones called for Clinton and others to be arrested during his April 5 broadcast, saying, “I’ve never talked like this in 20 years. Folks, these people all must be rounded up. I’m sorry”:
DOUG HAGMANN: I would expect the next 72 hours to be critical in terms of the information that’ll be coming out. And I’m going to be very interested to see -- and Alex I’m wondering what your thoughts are -- will we see [former National Security Advisor] Susan Rice testify under oath in front of a Senate committee or will it just be --?
ALEX JONES (HOST): She should be hauled in front of it and she should be indicted immediately. She clearly committed crimes, they lied to the public and said they didn’t do this. I mean, arrest them all.
HAGMANN: Exactly. What I’m hearing is --
JONES: We’re about to have nuclear war, folks; it’s time to arrest Hillary Clinton. We’ve got to save the country. The world’s never been in more danger. They’re the ones that made everything radical. Kim Jong-un, Hillary, all these other scumbags, [President of the European Commission Jean-Claude] Juncker, all of them need to be arrested. They’re all calling for war. They’re all involved in criminal activity. Arrest all of them. I’m serious.
HAGMANN: Yeah, no I -- 100 percent behind you. And I think that while Americans don’t have --
JONES: We can’t wait. The world is in too much danger. We have to stop these people. And I’ve never talked like this in 20 years. Folks, these people all must be rounded up. I’m sorry. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 4/5/17]
Jones urged Trump to use violence to protect the president’s family. In a video suggesting a coup attempt was underway against Trump, Jones addressed Trump directly to say: “You must go on the offense. This is war. You think George Washington kicked the Redcoats' ass just with information? No.” From the March 5 edition of The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES: But you need a set time every day that you go live. They try to say as the president, you shouldn't have a Twitter. Hell, next you shouldn't have blood flowing through your veins. I mean, God, everybody knows you can't talk to foreign leaders as president, and God knows you can't breathe oxygen, and God knows you can't have a Twitter. They want to isolate you, they want to lie about you, and they're not going to stop. You put your family, your treasure on the line, they're going to destroy your family if you don't win.
And let your family know this. I know they're smart. I know your sons are strong. But let the people in your family know there’s no coming back from this. This is total war. They're not going to let your family roll over, even if you're destroyed. Oh, they will let them roll over at first and then destroy them as well. They're going to destroy you, they're going to destroy Barron, they're going to destroy Eric, they're going to destroy Donald Jr., they're going to destroy me, they're going to destroy Matt Drudge, they're going to destroy Ron Paul, they're going to destroy anybody, like [White House senior adviser] Stephen Bannon, that actually stood up for the little people, because that example can't be allowed. Because if you let one ant stand up, they might all stand up, and those little ants outnumber the parasites a thousand to one. If they want a war, let's let them have it. Now, they're getting their ass kicked in the economy. Your approval ratings are going up. Sir, they don't care. They're going to intimidate and pay off and roll people in your second-level operation to try to burn you. You must go on the offense. This is war. You think George Washington kicked the Redcoats' ass just with information? No. We tried to start this country peacefully; they wouldn't let us. And the rebirth of this country -- and I want peaceful resistance in the info war -- but through your office and through the attorney general they're already trying to broke-back and hamstring. These criminals are all on the Communist Chinese and Russian payroll. They're the ones who sold us out to every foreign interest -- that's what globalism is. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/5/17]
Jones said he was prepared to shoot minorities during a race war. Claiming that “globalists” are fomenting a race war in the United States, Jones said if a “big hoard of people are coming down the street for me and my family shooting guns off in the air and burning buildings, I’m going to light up whoever I’ve got to to defend my family. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): The point is George Soros and the globalists know there is a rebellion against the corrupt government. They know there is a mass awakening. They want to short-circuit it with a bunch of race baiting, race fighting, and everybody killing each other. It’s in the WikiLeaks: They’re trying to start a race war.
JONES: I’ve got security, I’ve got firearms, I live defended, behind a gate, behind walls. If there was a race war in this country, it’s going to be the minorities that share the main brunt of the slaughterhouse. And that’s not a threat -- that’s a fact. But why would I feel good if you got killed? I’m trying to keep you from aborting your children.
JONES: A lot of folks say, “Shut up, Alex. Let Gates do this, let the U.N. do it. Hey I’m not racist, but they’re coming after us. Why are you exposing all of this?” Because I have to tell the truth, and I have to tell you what’s going on. Doesn’t mean Black Lives Matter is going to listen. Doesn’t mean MEChA and La Raza are going to listen. And it doesn’t mean if down the road we fail to stop this race war, big hoard of people are coming down the street for me and my family shooting guns off in the air and burning buildings, I’m going to light up whoever I’ve got to to defend my family. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it. I’ll do what has to be done, just like I’ve done in the information war. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/10/17]
Jones threatened to “beat” “cocksucker” congressman’s “goddamn ass.” Jones ranted about Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in a March 30 video posted to his YouTube channel, using several anti-LGBT slurs to attack Schiff including “cocksucker” and “fairy.” Angered by Schiff’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and Jones’ claim Schiff said he was involved, Jones said, “You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit.” During his rant, Jones said to Schiff, “Fill your hand,” a reference to picking up a gun. From the March 30 edition of Genesis Communications Network’s The Alex Jones Show (emphasis added):
ALEX JONES: Let me say this right now. Let me tell -- I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But [Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)] looks like the archetypal cocksucker with those little deer-in-the-headlight eyes and all his stuff. And there’s something about this fairy, hopping around, bossing everybody around, trying to intimidate people like me and you. I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them, “Hey listen. asshole, quit saying Roger and I” -- and I’ve never used cussing in 22 years, but the gloves are off -- “listen you son of a bitch, what the fuck’s your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. You fucking goddamn fucker. Listen fuckhead, you have fucking crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn fucking head. Stop pushing your shit. You’re the people that have fucked this country over and gang raped the shit out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that, you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand.” I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent -- those are fucking fighting words. Excuse me.
STONE: Yeah, I don’t think I have ever been in a campaign in which we disparage the patriotism of our opponents. Now, I’m not going to go there. But I think Adam Schiff has acted irresponsibly and I think he needs to be confronted with his exact words.
Jones spoke of his desire to break Alec Baldwin’s neck because Baldwin parodied Trump on Saturday Night Live. Jones accused Baldwin of defaming Trump and challenged him to a “bare knuckle” charity fight, where, Jones said, “I will break your jaw, I will knock your teeth out, I will break your nose, and I will break your neck”:
ALEX JONES: Alec Baldwin thinks he is a tough guy, I challenge him a million dollars to the charity he wants to get in the ring with me, bare knuckle. I will. I'll do it right now. I'll get in the ring with you and I will break your jaw, I will knock your teeth out, I will break your nose, and I will break your neck. You coward, you think you're tough guy, messing with little cameramen people.
You want to sit there and defame me and the president? Get in the ring with me. I will break your jaw in seconds. I will smash your nose into a bloody pulp, and I will whack your teeth out. My fists are going to bleeding with your teeth marks all over them. You frickin' bully, you coward. I hate you, my listeners hate you and remember that, scumbag, forever. [Laughter] We're going to defeat this anti-human scum. We're going to wreck their world. When I come back, we’ll look at the coward at Homeland. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/13/17]
Jones suggested Bernie Sanders supporters "need to have your jaws broken." Jones addressed supporters of Sanders by stating, "You need to have your jaws broken." He attacked Sanders supporters as "pathetic scum" who think they're "sexy with their hammer and sickle on." Jones added they'll eventually "burn in the camps later wishing [they'd] done something." Following criticism, Jones claimed he was speaking “figuratively.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 2/5/16, via Right Wing Watch; Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 2/10/16]
Right-wing media outlets are using a local story about a community of 40 Roma seeking asylum in California, Pennsylvania to fearmonger about immigration by hyping claims the Roma are beheading chickens and defecating in public.
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Alex Jones has sounded the alarm about human/pig/gorilla chimeras who can talk. The Infowars host and Trump ally has repeatedly taken to the air calling for action:
The president’s son has used Twitter to promote media trolls and conspiracy theorists
Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, frequently uses his prominence on Twitter and proximity to the White House to promote right-wing media trolls who defend his father and smear mainstream media.
Key voices in the incestuous right-wing alternative media ecosystem have found an ally in the younger Trump, who often retweets and favorites tweets from the echo chamber’s loudest voices, and who is rumored to serve as a White House source to at least one far-right personality. Like the far-right trolls he expresses admiration for, Trump spends his time on Twitter spreading debunked conspiracy theories, smearing mainstream media outlets, promoting bogus “alt-right” videos, and amplifying messages with white nationalist undertones. Trump’s behavior, in effect, validates the larger alternative media ecosystem and attempts to bring the fringe worldview into the mainstream.
Trump has repeatedly indicated an affinity for right-wing troll and Infowars contributor Mike Cernovich. Cernovich gained notoriety during the 2016 election for promoting fake conspiracy theories such as the “Pizzagate” narrative, accusing Democratic officials of operating a child sex trafficking ring in the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. Infowars’ Alex Jones told his audience that the president’s "sons, especially Donald Jr.," are Cernovich’s sources on White House affairs. And earlier this year, Trump claimed that “in a long gone time of unbiased journalism” Cernovich would “win the Pulitzer” prize for his faux scandal story that alleged Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser to then-President Barack Obama, was responsible for improper unmasking of Trump associates caught in surveillance of foreign officials.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 4, 2017
The younger Trump also frequently retweets Stefan Molyneaux, a prominent far-right blogger who promotes right-wing trolls and conspiracy theories about “globalism.” Trump closely follows Molyneaux, boosting many of his tweets and favoriting one that featured a depiction of CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski in a Nazi uniform.
Infowars’ top conspiracy peddlers, Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones, also have Trump’s attention. During the 2016 election, Trump shared an Infowars article that falsely accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of wearing an earpiece during the first presidential debate. Trump has also liked tweets from Watson and recently attacked CNN while Infowars was pushing a “meme war” against the network.
While he was sharing anti-CNN memes, Trump also favorited a tweet from a Twitter account connected to the internet cesspool known as 4chan’s “politically incorrect” message board (/pol/). The tweet contained a list of companies that advertise on CNN and encouraged people to tweet at the companies and ask them to stop advertising on the network. Alongside far-right ideologies, the board often features anti-Semitic, racist, sexist, homophobic, and white nationalist content.
Trump also promotes right-wing troll Jack Posobiec on Twitter. Posobiec’s publicity stunts and bogus talking points have duped mainstream media sources and public officials. On July 8, Trump shared a video Posobiec posted that depicted protesters setting fires in Germany in response to the G-20 summit. Posobiec is a media troll who got “temporary White House credentials” to attend the press briefings. He is responsible for peddling hacked emails that were likely sourced from Russia, spreading the “Pizzagate” conspiracy, and orchestrating smear campaigns against people who opposed the senior Trump.
Trump’s affinity for these far-right media personalities and his active promotion of their half-baked theories about the day’s news validates the alternative media ecosystem to its audience and furthers the far-right’s attempt to delegitimize longstanding journalistic institutions. By emulating and affirming these fringe figures, Trump furthers his father’s disdain for the press and stokes public distrust of legitimate news outlets.
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Members of online forum boards dedicated to President Donald Trump and far-right ideologies have called for the “next meme war,” this time against CNN. The call to arms is retaliation for allegations that the cable network blackmailed a Reddit user into publicly apologizing for creating a pro-Trump GIF that depicted Trump tackling a man who had a CNN logo superimposed on his face, and removing his hateful posts on these message boards.
This declaration of a meme war is the latest example of these online community members banding together in highly organized troupes to create and distribute memes attacking their given targets across multiple social media platforms, often times shaping public perception and influencing American political narratives and actions.
Users of Reddit and 4chan, two message board communities that have long expressed their hatred for one another, were united in their outrage over a CNN report, published on July 4, that detailed the origin of a GIF depicting Trump tackling a man who had a CNN logo superimposed on his face. The meme was edited into a video with music and eventually tweeted by Trump with a hashtag calling CNN a “fraud.” CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski, who wrote the story, discovered that the meme’s creator was a middle-aged man with a history of posting “racist and anti-Semitic imagery” through his Reddit account. The man called CNN to confirm his identity after he had issued a detailed apology on Reddit and deleted his previous posts.
Reddit and 4chan members didn’t find the man’s history of hateful posts problematic. Rather, they latched onto one section of the article in which CNN explained that it had decided not to publish the man’s name, “because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again.” The article also stated, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.” Members of meme-heavy subreddits perceived that sentence as blackmail and accused CNN of attempting to dox and blackmail one of its critics.
On July 5, CNN responded to the blackmail allegations with a written statement that said, “Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced [the user] is false.”
But CNN’s statement came too late; multiple posts on 4chan and Reddit had already called for a full-scale “meme war” against the network. During the 2016 presidential election, factions of Trump voters used memes to attack and discredit others’ preferred candidate. Among these factions, highly organized pro-Trump meme war “units” found tremendous success and were able to create and spread numerous trends on social media.
A post on 4chan explained what the latest meme war, titled “Operation: Autism Storm,” would entail. The operation’s primary focus, according to the post, would be to produce “as many anti-CNN memes as possible and spreading it” to high traffic websites beyond the fringe. The call to arms also urged participants to “discredit every journalist at CNN,” and to target CNN’s advertisers to stop them from advertising on the network.
In the days after the article was published and 4chan and Reddit users called for meme warfare, “#CNNBlackmail” was a top trending topic on Twitter. The contingent of pro-Trump internet wizards also overran numerous boards on Reddit and 4chan with images attacking CNN’s credibility. Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson suggested that CNN may have reunited “the alt-right & the new right in a common cause” after a prior rift among the “alt-right” factions.
This potent group of like-minded internet campaigners repeatedly proved their ability to organize and operate extremely effective smear campaigns during the 2016 election. According to an entry on Encyclopedia Dramatica, one of the most notable moments in “The Great Meme War” was the group’s viral portrayal of former presidential candidate Jeb Bush as a weak and sad “stinking turtle-lover with a guacamole fetish.” This characterization of “low energy” Bush cast him as a man unable to withstand what meme creators referred to as “high-energy” Trump. The Encyclopedia Dramatica entry also credited the same organized effort to push “a stream of new and fearsome dank memes,” featuring “Pepe the Frog” after the Anti-Defamation League classified the character as a hate symbol.
Fringe far-right media figures have also noticed the potency of these groups, and have used their platforms to encourage their followers to participate in the effort to spread the anti-CNN memes to larger audiences. Infowars’ Alex Jones has even launched an anti-CNN meme contest, promising a $20,000 reward for the “best meme” he receives. Alternative right-wing media figures such as online personality KimDotcom, Infowars contributor and internet troll Mike Cernovich, and even the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. have used their platforms to spread anti-CNN rhetoric and images alongside those leading the online meme brigades.
Meme wars can often have real-life consequences, a phenomena known within these communities as “meme magic.” During the 2016 election, these meme-makers effectively shaped Bush’s public image, and now they are provoking people to harass CNN journalists. Rebel Media’s Laura Loomer, who gained notoriety for interrupting Shakespeare play Julius Ceasar in New York City, ambushed CNN host Chris Cuomo about the controversial article while he was walking down the street. Other CNN staffers told The Daily Beast they feared for their safety after receiving a flood of threatening phone calls and messages and the reporter who discovered the Reddit user’s anti-Semitic posts wrote in Politico that he received a barrage of death threats. Cernovich even hyped a supposed protest “planned to be held” outside of Kaczynski’s home in New York.
Users’ motivations for participating in the new meme war against CNN may vary from pure entertainment to deep ideological bias, but their participation will ultimately reignite a pack of internet trolls capable of smearing and bullying any target in its crosshairs. This group had been mostly dormant after it declared Trump’s election a victory, but the latest meme war against CNN proves that its ability to spread vitriol online is alive and well.
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Stone posted endorsements of Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl days after he rented Stone's email list
Roger Stone posted social media endorsements of Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl’s bid to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) just days after Diehl rented his email list.
Stone, who contributes to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars network and will soon host his own Infowars show, has a history of pushing racist, sexist, and conspiratorial rhetoric. Stone has been a longtime adviser to Trump and worked as a paid consultant for Trump’s campaign; he is now reportedly under FBI investigation as part of the agency’s probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Stone announced in May through a marketing company that he’s accepting advertisers for his “online presence,” which includes his email list and "social media posts."
Diehl’s campaign rented Stone’s list on June 16 for a fundraising email. A message accompanying the email stated: “We are excited to share with you a special message from one of our sponsoring advertisers, Diehl For Senate. It is also sponsors like them that help fund Stone Cold Truth. Please note that the following message reflects the opinions and representations of our sponsor alone, and not necessarily the opinion of Roger Stone.”
Endorsements for Diehl subsequently appeared on Stone's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Those posts gave no indication whether they were advertisements.
Stone’s Facebook page posted the following on June 23: “Help Us Fire Elizabeth Warren!!!!! Geoff Diehl: The REAL Deal for Massachusetts Help build our grassroots movement to support the real Diehl for Massachusetts. Stand with Geoff Diehl for U.S. Senate. Your donation will send a loud message that it's time to put Massachusetts first.” Much of that language is taken from Diehl’s website. Diel’s Facebook page subsequently touted the Stone post by writing: “The Stone Cold Truth is that we need a U.S. Senator who will put Massachusetts first. Donate today!”
On June 24, Stone tweeted a link to a Diehl fundraising page and asked followers to "help us fire Elizabeth Warren."
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) June 24, 2017
Diehl retweeted Stone and a supporter who celebrated Stone's tweet:
Stone’s backing of Diehl is at odds with his colleagues at Infowars, which has thrown its support to entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai, who is competing against Diehl for the Republican nomination. He appeared on Alex Jones’ program on June 7 and June 25. During the June 7 interview, Jones said it was “really exciting” to have Ayyadurai challenging Warren, gave viewers his campaign website address, and asked the Republican how people can support his candidacy. Ayyadurai responded by asking Jones’ listeners to make donations and to volunteer with his campaign.
He appeared on Jones’ June 25 show with guest host Owen Shroyer for roughly 20 minutes; the video description stated: “Everyone show your support for Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai running against Democrat Elitist, Elizabeth Warren in 2018. https://shiva4senate.com/ https://twitter.com/va_shiva.” During the appearance, the candidate said that “what Alex does is probably, sort of the last sort of beacon of truth that’s out there.”
Requests for comment to Diehl were not returned.
UPDATE (7/5): Roger Stone responded to this post while appearing on Newsmax TV by acknowledging that his “company did rent some lists to Mr. Diehl” and “during that process I examined his campaign and his credentials and frankly I became very impressed.” From a July 3 video posted by Newsmax TV:
STEVE MALZBERG (HOST): There’s a Media Matters story, which I believe is from today, where they accuse you of being bought off by Geoff Diehl, who is going to run -- one of the candidates who wants to run against Elizabeth Warren -- because, I don’t know, they say that after he rented your email list you supported him, blah blah blah blah blah. And this is Media Matters, your friend.
ROGER STONE: Yeah, well look, anything -- you can always tell when David Brock is lying: His lips are moving. Nothing at Media Matters for America can be believed. This is the ultimate fake news site. I did -- my company did rent some lists to Mr. Diehl for his campaign. They evidently raised quite a bit of money. During that process I examined his campaign and his credentials and frankly I became very impressed. He’s an excellent candidate, he’s a solid conservative, he is not an establishment Republican. And he’ll be a great replacement for Elizabeth Warren, fauxcahontas, in the U.S. Senate.
UPDATE (7/21): According to its second quarter Federal Election Commission filing, Diehl for U.S. Senate paid a total of $5,330 on June 5 and June 22 for "online fundraising" to Alliance Strategies Group, which represents Stone for advertising opportunities.
President Donald Trump’s sexist tweets targeting MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski’s appearance were defended and applauded by a variety of conservatives including a Fox host, the White House deputy press secretary, fringe right-wing media figures, and other Republicans.