Alex Jones, host of Infowars and known conspiracy theorist, had his personal Facebook account suspended for 30 days as a result of violating the social network’s bullying and hate speech community standards.
While the suspension only applies to Jones’s personal Facebook account, he also cannot post to pages for which he serves as an admin. It doesn’t stop other Infowars admins from doing Jones’s bidding, however. Facebook also removed four Infowars videos for violation of the community standards previously stated a day after YouTube did the same. In the videos, Jones denounces Muslim immigrants to Europe and the creators of a transgender cartoon.
Not only has Facebook been alleged of being soft on digital crime committed by its users, the social network has taken steps to protect some of the more popular Facebook pages because they create considerable revenue for the company. Channel 4 Dispatches sent an undercover documentarian to work as a content moderator for a Dublin-based Facebook contractor and found that leading, far-right activists like Tommy Robinson of Britain First received special protection via “shielded review.”
Shielded review lifts a Facebook page or account from typical moderation by contractors to in-house moderation by Facebook staff, allowing for more careful consideration of the cash at stake. Well, Jones and his Infowars are far more popular than Robinson and Britain First.
Britain First’s Facebook page has just 7,100 likes and Robinson’s personal page has received 834,000 likes. Jones’s personal Facebook page has 1.6 million likes, and his Infowars page has nearly a million. So it stands to reason that if Britain First was subject to shielded review despite its 7,100 followers, then the Jones and Infowars pages would be monitored by Facebook staff and not independent contractors unconcerned with Facebook’s revenue and stock price.
Speaking of stock price, the day before Jones was slapped with a suspension, Facebook’s stock lost nearly 20 percent of its value. As of this writing, it’s hovering around $172 – down from an all-time high of $218.62.
Facebook’s long taken flak for it’s stance on fake news. “Just being false” is not grounds for suspension or even removal of content from the social network, according to its head of News Feed, John Hegeman. But allowing the publication of fake news using a product called “News Feed” is hypocrisy by anyone’s standards. Fake news is not news, therefore news feed is not a news feed. It never was. News Feed has been and always will be a social feed. What your friends’ cats are doing gets just as much attention as the day’s biggest headlines you’re most likely to read.
I can understand why Facebook doesn’t want to moderate the publishing of fake news. It would be incredibly costly to patrol and enforce a community standard banishing the publication of fake news. But publishing fake news is dangerous and has very real consequences, as Facebook knows all too well after the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
If publishing fake news isn't against Facebook community policy, the very name "News Feed" is misleading and misinformation in itself. False news is not news, and there's a difference between misreported news and false news. If Facebook is not going to attempt to make "News Feed" an actual news feed, the "News Feed" name should be scrapped for something more representative of the Facebook feed, like "Stories" or "Happenings."
I asked Hegeman, the vice president of News Feed, if there has ever been a discussion about renaming News Feed but received no reply via LinkedIn. It seems that would be enough to get Facebook off the hook for other people's publishing of fake news without having to monitor it. Facebook has an opportunity to save itself a lot of trouble by simply changing the name of something poorly named in the first place.
At least Alex Jones’s Infowars is appropriately named. There is a war over information. It’s just his definition of information that is misinformed.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Alex Jones Show, The Costa Report, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, Know Your Rights
The interview has finally aired. Last week I snarkily wrote about all the speculation of what was going to be said / unsaid in the interview. Alex Jones claimed that Kelly was going to edit the interview to make him look bad. Jones, going so far as to challenge NBC to release the unedited interview (they probably won’t) which led Alex to claim he has a recording of the entire interview and if NBC does not release the full thing -- he will!
To my knowledge, he hasn’t.
Well, anyway, we have now seen the interview.
Well, Jones was partially correct -- the interview does indeed make him look bad. But I certainly wouldn't blame it all on the editing. Mainly I would blame his words and the twenty plus years of Alex Jones footage that Kelly was able to draw upon to support her claims that Alex Jones is a lunatic. Now, she doesn’t come out and call him a lunatic, I’m reading between the lines. But she obviously went after him with every gotcha tactic journalists use these days.
And she didn’t even touch on the Joe Rogen / Alex Jones conversation. The one where Rogen gets Jones high and Alex talks about aliens, extra dimensions, psychic vampires and other random insanity.
Kelly spent the majority of the eighteen minute interview showing footage from Jones’s past rants and “greatest hits” and not much time showing the actual interview between the two of them. The short snippets we do get from the Kelly / Jones interview mainly involve her acting smug and Jones dodging questions.
Not exactly the stuff of interview legend. The interview apparently tanked in the ratings getting beat out by games shows and reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Jones viewers probably assumed the Kelly piece was going to be all lies and mainstream audiences just didn’t seem to care one way or another.
I guess I don’t know much that will change. Megyn Kelly came off as a dull interviewer and Jones came off as someone who says crazy shit, feigns innocence and seems barely able to control his explosive anger.
If Jones did indeed record the interview and releases the unedited footage I suspect we’ll just get more of the same.
The Alex Jones Show is on GCN.
Hello friends! Today we gaze into the future and condemn and / or condone an interview that none of us has even seen (or heard). Everyone else is doing it. We might as well too! I promise I will try not to eye roll too hard at all the future gazing. (I failed to do that. I eye roll, a lot).
So what’s the deal? Who’s involved?
Alex Jones and Megyn Kelly.
Alex Jones is a controversial figure to say the least. Plenty has been written about him. He hated the Clintons and so lefty’s hated him. Then he hated Bush Jr. and suddenly lefty’s thought he was an okay dude. Then he really hated Obama and lefty’s hated him (again). Then he supported Trump and lefty’s really, really hated him. His daily radio program draws millions of listeners. His YouTube videos draw hundreds of thousands of viewers. His controversies are explosive. His daily life is over reported. He’s loved. He’s hated.
Megyn Kelly is a broadcast journalist. At first she worked for Fox and righties thought she was an okay lass. But then she dared to question then president elect Donald Trump’s sexist comments and righties started to hate her just a little bit. Then she claimed that (former) Fox chairman Roger Ailes sexually harassed her and righties hated her even more. Then she quit Fox news and joined NBC news and righties knew that she was the devil incarnate and en mass claimed, “We never liked her in the first place!”
So is set the interview of the ages. Megyn Kelly interviews Alex Jones. Sunday night, June 18th. Which -- is fine. Right? But I mean, who cares? Known broadcast journalist interviews known public figure, is not news. And it shouldn’t be news -- until the interview is actually broadcast!
I mean, why are all the major publishers (and many of the minor ones) airing piece after piece accusing one side (or the other) about, I don’t know, dumb things -- for an interview that won’t air until Sunday?
That seems a little absurd.
No, but Alex Jones is claiming Megyn Kelly is going to edit the footage. Also, he claims she’s a liar.
I hate to break it to you but, “journalist edits interview” is not exactly shocking Watergate level news. No one would read an unedited twenty page interview. No one would watch an unedited five hour interview.
Editing happens. Like, all the time. In every article or news story you’ve ever read or watched. Ever. (Except maybe for this one which goes on forever!).
Of course we live in the day and age where everyone seems to call everyone else a liar. Liberals put out news and conservatives scream, “fake news!” Conservative’s put out news and liberals scream, “Liars and the lying liars who lie about all the lies!”
Well, not everyone can be lying all the time. You know? Some of them must be telling the truth at least some of the time but that’s the problem these days. It doesn’t seem to matter any longer. Liberals only believe liberals and conservatives only believe conservatives. While libertarians, at least, think both sides are lying (and there’s something to be said about consistency).
No, you don’t understand. Alex Jones is pure as the white snow. And Megyn Kelly’s “fake news” edits make him look bad. So -- that obviously means -- she’s evil!
Okay. I can write a single answer for all current questions / comments that sound anything like this:
Alex Jones Claims Megyn Kelly Is Creating An Unfair Hit Piece / Megyn Kelly Re-Editing Interview To Be ‘Tougher’ On Alex Jones / How Alex Jones Outsmarted Megyn Kelly / Megyn Kelly Lied to Alex Jones In Pre-Interview / Megyn Kelly Exposed / Etc, and so forth, and so on.
Here is my answer to all of you:
Maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the interview. Neither have you.
Alex Jones did indeed release a mashup (read, “edited”) version of the pre-interview phone call between Megyn Kelly and Alex Jones. Note the delicious irony that is about to occur! Mr. Jones is posting piece after piece, claiming Megyn Kelly is editing the NBC four hour interview -- to make him look bad. In essence, to show what a douchebag Megyn Kelly is (for, you know, editing the NBC interview to make him look bad!) Mr. Jones, in a pre-emptive strike, takes the pre-interview phone call with Kelly and -- (wait for it) -- edits it to make her look bad!
No, but seriously, Megyn Kelly is a liar! She told him in the pre-interview that the actual interview wasn’t going to be a hit piece and all the promos now make it look like a hit piece! She’s fake news!!!!!
Wait! What? What’s that you say! You have proof that a reporter -- manipulated someone in order to get them to speak on the record? I’m shocked! What new form of devilry is this? Call the FBI! This must be illegal! Right?
Except, that, no. Not so much. It might be that Kelly manipulates Alex Jones in the pre-interview, of course, we don’t know exactly if that statement is true since -- none of us have seen the NBC interview, yet. In fact, if you are just now, today, learning that reporters lure people into a false sense of security -- in order to get them on the record to expose their lies / hypocrisy / crimes -- then you, my friend, are sadly naïve.
And “fake news” does not mean, “I don’t like the sound of that news -- it must be fake!” Fake news is when a reporter manufactures or manipulates events to create a story that they know to be false or grossly misleading.
For example, Stephen Glass, a late 90’s writer for the New Republic, wrote several fake articles including, "Spring Breakdown", a lurid tale of drinking and debauchery at the 1997 Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Spring Breakdown” was a hilarious article about dumb Republican kids doing really dumb things. The problem, as you’ve no doubt surmised, is that the entire story was fabricated in Stephen’s word processor.
“In 1998, it was revealed that many of his (Stephen Glass’s) published articles were fabrications. Over a three-year period as a young rising star at The New Republic, Glass invented quotations, sources, and events in articles he wrote for that magazine and others. Most of Glass's articles were of the entertaining and humorous type; some were based entirely on fictional events. Several seemed to endorse negative stereotypes about ethnic and political groups.”
That, ladies and gentlemen -- is fake news! The horribly titled movie, Shattered Glass, is a fantastic dramatization of the events leading to the downfall of Stephen Glass. And if you Google the movie and say, “But Hayden Christensen is in it and he’s one of the worst actors to appear in the Star Wars prequels -- there’s no way in hell I’ll be able to watch it now!” I agree with you. Hayden is a terrible actor in every movie I’ve ever seen him in -- except Shattered Glass. And he’s so good in Shattered Glass (as Stephen Glass) that you’ll wonder, “He’s great! Why the F is he so bad in every other movie?”
Well, I have snotty theories about that but that’s another article entirely. And clearly, I digress.
Can you get back to the Jones / Kelly duel?
Sure. But I don’t really have much more to say. Alex Jones can claim all he wants that Kelly is going to hit piece him. We don’t know if it’s true -- because none of us have seen the interview!
Alex Jones can claim all he wants that he has the full four hour interview on tape and he’s going to broadcast it before NBC’s hit piece. Well, that’s fine. Go ahead. But we still don’t know what Kelly’s interview was going to be like. Because none of us have seen it!
But we all know the lame-stream media lies, so that means that Alex Jones is telling the truth about everything!
No we don’t. There are not two equal sides to every argument. Stop claiming that all news you don’t like is fake. Seriously, you sound silly. Megyn Kelly and NBC are going to edit the interview. In the same way that Alex Jones edits his interviews.
As for Kelly being more manipulative than Jones, or Jones being more of a liar than Kelly, or Kelly doing this, or Alex Jones doing that. Well, I don’t know! Maybe. I haven’t seen the interview.
Maybe Alex Jones is going to come off real bad. But, I posit, if he does -- it’s probably not because of the editing (but I will admit that it could be because of that). If he comes off bad it will probably be because we have hours and hours and hours and hours of recorded footage of Alex Jones saying crazy things. All of which are fair game to use for and against him. So if Jones dodges questions in an interview, it’s pretty fair for a news outlet to go to original sources of him saying crazy things.
You can also find hours and hours and hours of recorded footage of Alex Jones saying reasonable things. I know your paranoid lefty brain almost stroked out at the very thought of Alex Jones saying reasonable things. Until I mention to you that Alex Jones has been on the air for more than twenty five years, broadcasting three hours a day up to seven days a week.
That’s an enormous amount of information! So, again, I guarantee you, you can find Alex Jones saying reasonable things (especially during all those years he hated George Bush, Jr.).
As for this Kelly / Jones feud. I don’t know, man. I haven’t even seen the interview. I would write all about it if I had but I seemed to have misplaced my T.A.R.D.I.S..
I can only hope that the actual interview which airs on NBC on Sunday, June 18th is as exciting as the coverage in the last few days of what it might be about!
Alex Jones continues to receive about as much press as his friend Donald Trump, with Stephen Colbert impersonating the talk show host on The Late Show, and Trevor Noah attacking him on The Daily Show. Follow the links to view the videos.
Alex Jones makes for good television. That enraged character is so entertaining that Comedy Central has requested the right to use this clip of Jones to open their new show, The President Show, featuring a Donald Trump impersonator as host talking about the day’s news. It’s an attempt at impersonating the InfoWars model and mocking the Alex Jones character to attract a larger, more moderate audience. (The show had Keith Olbermann from GQ’s The Resistance as its first guest.)
The writers and producers of just about every comedy show have been pretty lazy lately, with the lone exception being the writers and producers of Last Week Tonight. With very little effort and originality, the writers and producers of The Late Show, The Daily Show and even Newsweek are taking shots at an easy target from point blank range and making easy money doing so. Not only that, they’re only giving Jones free publicity that enhances his “celebrity,” because as the cliché goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Clichés exist because there is truth to them.
While our advertising sales representatives at GCN confirm they have not raised the advertising rates for The Alex Jones Show, they certainly aren’t having trouble selling those spots, even while Jones is taking time to attend a custody hearing. He’s not off to a hot start in proving his attorney’s argument that Jones is playing a character on his show, telling the jury on 4/20 that George Soros is to blame for the ever-increasing potency of marijuana.
All that said, Jones’s audience is set. The people who tune into The Alex Jones Show will likely always tune into The Alex Jones Show, whether it’s on the radio or YouTube. The people who watch Bill O’Reilly will continue consuming whatever it is he does after Fox News, much like Rush Limbaugh. You don’t need to understand these people; you only need to understand these people exist and there’s no changing them.
Apparently, the only thing that could affect the advertising revenue of The Alex Jones Show is a criminal charge or sexual harassment allegation brought against Alex Jones. That’s been the case in sports and entertainment for quite some time. A custody battle isn’t going to turn advertisers away in droves like they ran away from The O’Reilly Factor.
There’s nothing anyone can do about people who want to be heard and have the resources to accomplish that goal because there’s nothing anyone can do about the audience that consumes that garbage. Americans consume everything including garbage; some garbage just smells better.
If you like this, you might like these GCN Live talk radio shows: The Alex Jones Show
Alex Jones says a lot of controversial things. Some people call him a fringe lunatic. Some people call him a prophetic patriot. When I see him plastered all over the internet I am not surprised because, well, he says a lot of controversial things.
He is currently receiving wall-to-wall internet coverage about his brand new controversial topic. I am skeptical. I mean, will it be as controversial as Jones claiming the Sandy Hook Massacre is fake? (It’s not). How about as controversial as his claim that the Orlando Nightclub shooting was a false flag attack? (It isn’t). I don’t know, but I hope it’s as controversial as Jones’s claim that Hillary Clinton operated a pedophile ring out of a Pizzeria in a conspiracy so dumb I won’t even bother linking! (Jones apologized and recanted).
No, my friend. It will be far more controversial than all of those combined. And I know this because it’s all over the media. With media coverage this broad, Mr. Jones must have some huge controversial issue brewing! So what is it? Why is the media all up in Alex Jones’s grill?
Because Alex Jones is in a custody battle.
With his ex wife.
I know! What am I supposed to do? I work at GCN. Alex Jones is on our network. I don’t want to write about Alex Jones’s custody battle because his custody battle is pretty much none of my GD business. The only people who should be worried about Jones's custody battle are:
Kelly Jones (ex wife).
Maybe some family and friends but that’s it. That’s the complete list of people who should care. But here we are. And I have to waste my day writing about Alex Jones’s personal business because media vultures love to swoop in for the kill. Especially when “the kill” is mud-slinging non-news like a custody battle!
I see what you’re talking about now. Alex Jones does indeed oft claim mainstream media is all “fake news.” I can see how that might stick in folk’s craw, what with that hypocrisy and all.
Okay. Now I see why the coverage is twenty four seven. Alex Jones claims all other news is fake and then admits that his show over at Infowars.com (and here on GCN) is performance art -- which, I gather, is a clever way of saying “fake.” That’s newsworthy. If this is the first time Alex Jones has admitted to something like this. I can understand the coverage.
Except, of course, for the fact that Alex Jones has called himself a performance artist many, many times. Without any coverage. At all. Unless you count mine. That I wrote two weeks ago. In which I cite Alex Jones calling his very own work “performance art.”
Alex Jones says, multiple times, on his show that he is a “performance artist.” Zero coverage.
Alex Jones’s lawyer says in court that Mr. Jones is a “performance artist” + custody battle = huge coverage.
I don’t work with him! Stop saying that! Alex Jones has a radio show on the network that I work for. I’ve never even met the guy! And I don’t have to “defend him.” He’s a radio personality. He says a lot of crazy things. As loud as possible. On purpose. For effect. He does it seven days a week. For twenty years. He is bound to get some things right. He is bound to get some things wrong. He is bound to say controversial things. Some of them will turn out to be silly and harmless. Some of them will turn out to be tragic and dangerous.
But I don’t have to defend him. The Constitution of the United States does a much better job of defending him then I ever could. I’ll even go so far as to tell you I disagree with about seventy-five percent of what I hear Alex Jones say. And I will still roll my eyes in your general direction if you claim I am defending him because I “work with him.” I’m not doing it. He doesn’t need it.
Well, no. I’m not going to write about his custody battle. "Former married couple goes through bitter divorce and says horrible things about each other" is not news.
So then let me get back to his claim about performance art. I see the easy way out. Alex Jones will claim, “What I say is truthful but HOW I say it is performance art.” Which gives him carte blanche to say whatever he wants and kind of, you know, avoid responsibility.
Okay. Fair enough. He’s not the first person to hide behind the Constitution. He won’t be the last. The Constitution does indeed give him the right to say just about whatever he wants. It doesn’t, however, protect one from consequences.
Take Len Pozner. Len’s only son, Noah, was murdered in the Sandy Hook Massacre. Len has been dogged and harassed by “Truthers.” Truthers, as defined by the totally legit dictionary:
Truther [trooth-ER] noun. Plural: morons.
A soulless ghoul.
A dimwitted slug.
Weak willed sheep.
Someone who believes mass shooting massacres, such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, are staged events by the federal government in order to frighten the population into surrendering their weapons. The victims and their families, truthers believe, are “crisis actors,” people hired by the government to pretend to be bereaved.
I hate that in the world we live in this exists.
Len Pozner has been harassed by truthers for years. In 2015 a woman went to jail for sending Mr. Pozner threatening messages. I’m sure other Sandy Hook family survivors have similar stories. And, yes, Alex Jones and similar fringe alt-right pundits are partially to blame.
And I will only say, “partially.” A person unstable enough to cross state lines and send death threats to someone they think is a “crisis actor,” also shares a hell of a lot of the responsibility. So while I honestly believe Mr. Jones has the Constitutional right to say Sandy Hook, in his opinion, was staged. It’s still a shitty thing to say.
And there have been consequences. And it looks like they happened to the wrong people. Len Pozner does not deserve to have idiots crawling through his lawn looking for proof of “his crisis acting involvement,” or digging through his garbage hoping beyond hope to find the “smoking gun” that doesn’t exist. He certainly doesn’t deserve to be taunted or threatened.
He deserves to be left alone. His child was murdered. It wasn’t fake. There is no such thing as a crisis actor. And if you believe Sandy Hook was a hoax then you’re an asshole.
And I still don’t care about Alex Jones’s custody battle.
If you like this you might like the GCNlive talk show: The Alex Jones Show.
Alex Jones is under fire again. This time it’s Newsweek that attempts to draw first blood with their April 5th Alex Jones’s Threat to Congressman May Be Felony article. This is not the first time Jones has drawn heat from mainstream media. It will not be the last.
Talk radio host, Alex Jones, has fierce charisma and a "give zero fucks" attitude. The Alex Jones Show airs live three hours a day, five days a week and draws millions of listeners from around the globe. He is equally adored and despised on both sides of the political isle. Hours (and hours) of his thoughts are internationally syndicated to radio stations all over the country and via satellite all over the world, by the Genesis Communication Network (GCN).
That would be us.
I’ve never met Alex Jones but for a time I worked on his Sunday show. I use the word “work” loosely. The Sunday A.J. show is a “feed show,” which means all the work is done at the Infowars studio in Texas then fed to us remotely. All we do is broadcast it over our satellites. My job was to make sure the feed wasn’t interrupted and/or make sure the building didn’t catch on fire. Occasionally, but not often, I pressed buttons.
Despite the fact I work at GCN, I do not work for Alex Jones nor have I ever met him in person. I spoke with him once when he called in, as a guest, on a separate show. He was very polite. To me, Alex Jones is one of the hosts on one of our 70+ weekly shows that we syndicate.
It’s true, Alex Jones has a big show on the network. And he produces a lot of content — 17 hours per week for us at GCN. An additional 10 to 20ish hours of weekly video for his Infowars.com site is uploaded directly to YouTube. I don’t have the Bat-Alex-Jones-Hour-Counter on hand, but my fuzzy math skills tell me these add to, approximately, 30 or 40 hours of weekly content.
Every week after every week. Year after year. For decades. Point being, when you produce such a high volume of weekly content, inevitably, you’re bound to say something — no — a lot of controversial things. And that’s how you stay on the air for twenty years.
On March 31st, Alex Jones uploaded a video titled, “WATCH LIVE NOW! Plan to Assassinate Trump Leaked” to YouTube. In it, he and guest Roger Stone — um — “discuss” Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Schiff is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is currently investigating possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. Roger Stone has his own controversy with the Russians due to his contact with a hacker called Guccifer 2.0, who may (or may not) be Russian Intelligence. This has led Schiff to publicly call Roger Stone out as, you know, a Russian agent. Apparently, Schiff calls Jones a Russian spy as well, though, I was unable to find an actual quote about that. So that's what leads up to the "discussion" of Schiff, which isn't much of a discussion at all. Alex Jones goes off on Congressman Schiff. The video is more than two hours long but at the 33:00 mark Mr. Jones says:
“I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But Schiff 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.”
Wow. Okay. That’s very, um, specific. BUT is it bombastic radio personality bluster or is it a legitimate threat? The hard working folks at Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog that monitors Jones’s shows, certainly thought it threat worthy and forwarded said diatribe to Newsweek.com. Newsweek, a tiny magazine that has been around for a year or two took it seriously. On Wednesday afternoon, April 5th, Newsweek.com publishes the “Alex Jones’s Threat to Congressman May Be Felony” article. Nina, for Newsweek, writes:
“Law enforcement officials are not saying whether they will charge broadcaster Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist ally of President Donald Trump, for publicly threatening to “beat” Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and telling Schiff to “fill your hand”—a reference to taking up a pistol.”
Then, Nina quotes Amanda Berman, director of legal affairs with Lawfare Project as, “It seems to be a clear provocation … I think there is a legal basis for a conviction based on Jones’s threat, which as made ‘with intent to impede, intimidate or interfere’ with Congressman Schiff’s exercise of his duties…”
Fair enough. I’m no director of legal affairs with anyone, but I have a common sense thought about this. I suspect law enforcement officials are “not saying anything” because law enforcement officials -- well -- don’t plan to do anything. As in, nothing. No charges. Nada. Because that would be silly.
I seriously doubt anyone in law enforcement believes Alex Jones is a credible threat to Representative Schiff. In fairly typical talk show host fashion, Alex Jones postures and face-anger gesticulates his way through the entire rant. Alex Jones responds to the Newsweek article and says the speech in question was, “tongue in cheek and basically art performance ... all protected by the First Amendment.”
He’s right. It is. But we should all know by now the First Amendment doesn’t protect one from consequences. Alex Jones has the First Amendment right to “Infowars Rant As Performance Piece” and Newsweek has the First Amendment right to call him out for possible consequences.
Speaking of consequences, Nina Burleigh writes, “It’s not clear whether the video was broadcast on the air before being posted to YouTube: If so, that would bring it under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission. Jones’s Infowars program is carried by Genesis Communications Network, which produces 75 shows aired on 830 radio stations ... The CEO and founder of Genesis Communications, Ted Anderson, also has not responded to messages.”
Whoops! Sorry, Nina. My fault! Someone at GCN absolutely, positively forwarded me your request for a comment, and I absolutely, positively ignored it. (Or, more accurately, with good intention to
“get to it,” I pretty much just forgot about it). Nina, since you ask and since I work here at GCN, it takes me all of three minutes to find out that the Alex Jones speech in question is not part of his weekly syndicated show on GCN and therefore did not go out over the airwaves. It was produced through Infowars.com and uploaded directly to YouTube. The FCC has no jurisdiction over YouTube so Alex Jones violated a total of zero FCC regulations.
Nothing will come from this. No charges filed. No violence against the Congressman. Nothing. You know how I know? Because this kind of thing happens all the time. Madonna said, “I want to blow up the White House.” Nothing came of that. Robert De Niro said he wants to “punch President Trump in the face.” Nothing came of that. Ted Nugent threatens to kill President Obama multiple times! Nugent was interviewed by Secret Service for his comments and nothing came of it. Nothing will come of this, either. Hoping for legal action is, frankly, a little absurd. Perhaps there will be (and should be) social consequences due to the anti-gay language in the speech. Starting a speech with, "I'm not against gays, I love them..." then immediately using a gay, male stereotype as a negative is ridiculous. Homophobia is homophobia. It doesn't matter if the comment is intended to be harmless. So knock it off.
Anyway, I’m surprised Newsweek even bothered. It’s pretty obvious the speech, like many of his speeches, is Alex Jones posturing for effect. He does have a reputation as a polarizing national radio personality to protect. He's controversial and has plenty of views that I don’t understand. And maybe you don’t either. Or maybe you think he’s a patriot and you love him. Or maybe you think he’s insane and you hate him. Whatever the case, Alex Jones has the right to express his views. Newsweek has the right to express theirs. And if there are consequences then there are consequences. But I really, seriously doubt Alex Jones poses a legitimate, credible threat to the Congressman. The March 31st Infowars YouTube video is, to snatch a phrase from Mr. Jones’s resident State of Texas, “All hat, no cattle.”