Back in November, we didn’t specifically cover the Pizzagate news because it was reported extensively by the major media. I had nothing left to add and just shook my head as another conspiracy clown show (aren’t they all) went mainstream. But we did note that Fake News has a real effect on innocent people, as we already recognized.
Long ago, I’ve sworn off posting about Alex Jones because all he does is incite frenzy with sensational idiotic fear-mongering and alternative fictional narratives. This time, he went a step too far and got called out for it. Recall that the Washington, D.C. gunman announced he’d gotten the idea that there was an actual child sex ring at the restaurant by listening to people like Alex Jones. On Friday, the perpetrator pled guilty to the charges. Jones saw fit to apologize to the business owner.
Alex Jones, a prominent conspiracy theorist and the host of a popular right-wing radio show, has apologized for helping to spread and promote the hoax known as Pizzagate.
Mr. Jones made the apology to the owner of Comet Ping Pong, James Alefantis, on video, reading from a carefully worded statement that emphasized how widely the theory had spread before he weighed in on it. He said that Infowars had “disassociated” itself from the story in December and had taken down the majority of broadcasts and videos that mentioned it. Mr. Jones also said that two reporters the show had worked with “are no longer with us,” although he did not identify them or discuss the exact nature of their work with Infowars.
If you can stomach listening to Jones, here is the video.
If not, like me, here is what he said:
“To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis, nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking, as was part of the theories about Pizzagate that were being written about in many media outlets and which we commented upon,” Mr. Jones said. “We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be construed as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing.”
Note that he didn’t apologize to John Podesta and Hilary Clinton for his promotion of those claims. Jones did not create the Pizzagate idea but he will reliably jump on any potential attention-grabbing subject and run with it.
This and other efforts by Jones to defame people with false suggestions and to PROFIT off that shtick is so egregiously offensive that I wish he’d been sued and gone the way of Gawker. This isn’t the first time he has been cited as influencing crimes. He was also associated with the Boston bombers. He called the bombing a “false flag” and is well-known for feeding the Sandy Hook Truthers movement. His actions are demented. His followers are irrational. NPR notes that this will do nothing to deter his fans and most will think it’s just another ploy to try to silence the “truth”.
At what point do we do something as a society about conspiracy-mongers like Jones? This man helped get Trump elected, he is totally mainstream. It’s acceptable to follow and reference him, which is terrifying. A cultural shift is needed to make it socially unacceptable to subscribe to such hateful rhetoric. It can’t come soon enough. But what if it doesn’t come at all? Thanks, Internet! We are a society that is adrift in information unequipped with tools to tell truth from lies and reality from “alternative” reality – a recipe for democratic disaster.
I do hope that Jones is chastened by what seems to be a clear threat of legal action against him. But, I doubt it.
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