Opinion: The scariest part of the Alex Jones story

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It’s an unimaginable statement for a grieving parent: Proving that the murder of his 6-year-old son, while he was sitting in school, was in fact alive, and that it was the woman who gave birth and raised him that much. was alive for years. But that was the testimony Scarlett Lewis gave at a hearing this week to determine damages against Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist and media personality. (Jones was held responsible for defamation in a default judgment earlier this year.)
After the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Jones began spreading false conspiracies that the shooting never took place and that the shattered families were the only actors. Conspirators plotted harassment for years targeting bereaved parents, who have had to rent Security to protect yourself. Since the defamation suit was filed, Jones apologized and claimed He was in the grip of a “form of psychosis” which led him to believe in a conspiracy theory.
The Sandy Hook plot made Jones the talk-radio equivalent of Westboro Baptist Church, who staged Anti-gay demonstrations at soldiers’ funerals. But within a few years, Jones would become part of the right-wing power structure. their interview soon with President Donald Trump alleged role As an organizer in the January 6 uprising.
In addition, many in the Republican Party and the conservative movement are increasingly sounding like Jones with talk of false flags, crisis actors and pedophile rings Now the mainstay of right-wing rhetoric. And while the Trump presidency opened the door for Jones’ mainstreaming, it’s important to understand just how ripe the GOP was for Alex Jonesification.
From its beginnings in the 1940s and 1950s, the modern conservative movement adopted a conspiratorial mindset. From the Books of Reasoning by Former President Franklin Roosevelt allowed the Japanese To attack Pearl Harbor in order to unite the Americans behind them in the war anti-fluoridation conspiracies of the John Birch Society, for the communist-around-every-corner Witch Hunts of the McCarthy EraConspiracy theories have become a core component of conservatism in America.

But with the exception of McCarthyism, the conspiracy-minded right remained separate from the Republican Party. Even right-wing politicians, especially presidential watchers, shy away from the wild-eyed conspirators popular with their conservative base.

This changed in the 1990s, as politics, entertainment and conspiracy became increasingly intertwined. Televangelist Pat Robertson, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, published his conspiracy path, “the new World Order,” in 1991. Drawing from decades of conspiracies about a “one-world government”, Robertson details a coalition of the Tripartite Commission, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the Free Masons, and others, working to bring about a single global governance. and eventually, The End Times. It was a New York Times Bestseller,
Robertson wasn’t the only Republican presidential candidate warning about the new world order. it became a staple of Pat Buchanan’s Speech For all three of his presidencies between 1992 and 2000. And while the phrase sparked concerns about the geopolitics of the post-Cold War world, it also nodded to conspiracy theories that were becoming increasingly popular not only among the conservative base. Republican officeholders too. During the Clinton years, members of Congress Questioned Mainly outlined countless conspiracy theories about black helicopters (a staple of 1990s conspiracies) and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Outside Congress, the new powerful right-wing radio of the 1990s and 2000s also gave way to Jones’ embrace. Glenn Beck’s radio program is cycling through conspiracies with breathtaking speed common Core to George Soros agenda 21, a United Nations based conspiracy theory. He mixed politics and conspiracy not only in his content but in his advertising.
Warning that end times were near, that devastation lurked around every corner, Becky pushed everything From “seeds of existence” to gold to food storage, all aim to help listeners survive the imminent collapse of society. (In the years since, Beku have accepted that he “unfortunately, played a part in helping to tear the country apart.”)
These threads came together in the Obama years, as Beck became one of the most prominent voices in the Tea Party movement and conspiracism pervaded the right. This provided a real opportunity for someone like Jones to advance in American politics. While his peculiar Sandy Hook conspiracies did not gain traction in Republican circles, others did, such as Jade Helm 15 Conspiracy of 2015. Jones turned routine military exercises in Texas into a new conspiracy theory, falsely telling his audience that it was a covert government effort to prepare for martial law.
That conspiracy theory quickly escaped InfoWars circles, making its way to right-wing talk radio and Republican politics. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered State militias to supervise the exercise. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz prepares for presidential bid valid too The conspiracy, adding that when he was assured by the military that this was a routine training exercise, “I consider it a cause for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, So naturally the result is that many citizens do not believe what he is saying.”
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Cruz’s pivot helps explain why the space between Jones and the GOP collapsed in the 2010s. The Republican Party spent decades arguing that the government was corrupt, if not illegitimate, and became increasingly dependent on right-wing media for the party’s message. Therefore, it took little effort to delve into the world of wild conspiracies—especially once, with Trump’s election, Republicans realized there would be no price to pay for doing so.

The past few years have suggested the bill is coming due – Trump lost the presidency and Congress, Jones lost his defamation lawsuit and several right-wing media outlets. are facing Massive defamation suit for his election machinations. However, this has not curbed the party’s conspiracy so far.

In fact, Alex Jones may never speak at a Republican convention or be part of the Fox News primetime lineup. But he doesn’t have to. His conspiratorial thinking, rhetoric and style are now well integrated into the Republican Party, a legacy of not only the Trump years but decades of conspiratorial politics.

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