One of the strangest things to emerge from the horrific Alex Jones affair is the routine description of him as a “radio host and conspiracy theorist,” as if this were a novel branch of media; like “reality TV personality,” “vlogger,” or “TikTok star.” It is not.
conspiracy theories are not legitimate. The theorists are not a valiant group of warriors for freedom. Alex Jones peddled sickening untruths about the sandy hook shootings. It’s that simple and cruel. He acted with human credulity and was careless about the misery he caused. He got what he deserved.
Jones made his living from this shady job. He founded the Infowars website and talk show, arguing that the Sandy Hook massacre was actually a “managed” government plot to take guns away from Americans and that “no one died.”
It was fake news, to put it mildly. He caused tremendous emotional pain to the families and survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hill Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. About 26 died, including 20 children as young as six or seven years old. As her attorney put it, “As every single one of these families drowned in grief, Alex Jones put his foot right on them.”
Jones has since admitted he was wrong, arguing he was motivated by some kind of defensive impulse on behalf of gun owners – and declaring the massacre was “100 percent real”.
He was finally pulled out of his “free speech” defense and ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in damages to his – Jones’ – victims. Some form of justice was meted out. It’s not a lot when you take everything into account, but it’s what needs to be done when people like Jones abuse their human rights to freedom of speech and expression.
Still, there isn’t that much regret from Jones. He is as defiant as one would expect of his public persona. There’s a clip of him in the courtroom refusing to apologize to the families because he says he’s apologized enough already: “I’ve said hundreds of times I’m sorry, and I am I’m done saying sorry.”
Jones went out there and watched a tape of the jury verdict and made fun of the trial. His followers have already been asked for urgent donations – and he says those monies will not go towards his legal fees: “The money isn’t going to these people” (his words), adding: “It’s about fighting this scam and it goes to stabilize the company.”
To some, I think Jones is a bit of a hero – a tortured, free-thinking skeptic whose only crime was getting caught
His lawyer added that he will appeal the decision. “We look forward to an appeal in this case. Frankly, from start to finish was the solution in this case. We disagree with the basis of the default, we disagree with the court’s evidentiary decisions. In more than 200 lawsuits over the course of my career, I have never experienced a process like this,” the lawyer said in court.
The shame is that the Jones case is actually the exception to the rule — there are so many others out there on social media and mainstream media who are freely indulged in crazy, dangerous conspiracy theories. These lies are not “alternative facts,” “radical viewpoints,” or “independent thinking”; but dangerous packages of malicious propaganda broadcast for god knows what purpose, other than too often abusing free speech for the purpose of monetary gain.
The climate crisis deniers, the vaccine opponents, the Covid deniers, the people who believe the World Economic Forum is a shady world government, the anti-Semitic Tropesters (like Kanye West, unfortunately), the George Soros haters, those who think Bill Gates controls our minds, the racial supremacists, those who think 5G poles are evil, the QAnonists, those who believe Donald Trump is on a crusade against a global elite pedophile ring (they are always global elites), the anti-lizard David Ickes and the like… all wreaking havoc on the internet every second of every day.
To some, I think Jones is a bit of a hero – a tortured, free-thinking skeptic whose only crime was getting caught. You might also, to be fair, think he did something wrong – but he should still have the right to say them with impunity. This is what “free speech fundamentalists” seem to think, and some are benefiting from it. Jones was good at it, after all.
But it was fake news, to say the least. In principle and in outline it is not so different from the other crazy conspiracy theories that infect our lives – the pandemic of bizarre theories with increasingly virulent variants and sub-variants evolving and reproducing. Social media structures encourage this exponential spread. Jones and the Sandy Hook conspirators may have been discredited, but there’s much, much more where that came from.
It’s corrosive and deadly, but seemingly unstoppable. It’s a depressing truth, but a truth nonetheless. This is apparently the real conspiracy – a global network of lunatics trying to kill the truth.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/north-america/truth-be-told-alex-jones-got-what-he-deserved-for-peddling-lies-about-sandy-hook-massacre-42066662.html To be honest, Alex Jones got what he deserved for spreading lies about the Sandy Hook massacre