A few weeks back, Mack Lamoureux of Vice wrote an article about trying to watch the entirety of Alex Jones' 36 hour marathon broadcast. While I believe that he missed out on some of the major points (how Alex was drunk during his Reddit AMA, how Dr. Group is not a doctor, etc), I do believe that he hit on one very important point:
This is a very astute observation, and almost certainly reflects how many people become inducted into the ranks of the InfoWarriors. It is a gradual process, and for many people who experience it, they are most likely unaware of what is even happening to them.
Spending time debunking Alex Jones' narratives is a very big part of what we do with the podcast, but it is crucial that we not lose track of the big picture, namely that Alex Jones is indoctrinating and terrorizing his audience on purpose. He is creating a fear of the world in them, willingly and intentionally, in order to sell the bullshit products, and in doing so, he is ruining their lives.
Anyone who has taken a class in sales (or has seen the first season of Mad Men) knows that a salesperson is not selling their client a physical item. They are selling you the good hypothetical situation you will be in if you buy the product, or conversely warning you about the bad hypothetical situation you'll be in if you don't. This is quite literally the entire basis for advertising and marketing, and it's always a crass manipulation.
Most commercials you see are the relatively harmless versions of this manipulation. You see beer commercials that depict beach parties full of beautiful half-naked people having a great time, and they hope you will associate that with Busch. It's the sort of thing that probably works on a lot of people on a subconscious level, but the terrible consequence in this situation is a bunch of people end up with bad, misguided beer preferences. Not so harmful, on a global scale.
What Alex Jones does is substantially worse.
Alex Jones understands very well that the best way to sell things that you couldn't sell otherwise is to exploit people's emotions, and he does so in a variety of ways.
Every sale that Alex runs is run on an artificial timeline. He constantly pretends that sales are "ending today," and then they end up running weeks beyond that date. This is an elementary trick known as "fear of loss of gain." When you use this trick, you are trying to force your target into making an immediate decision, playing on their fear of feeling dumb later when they have to pay full price, when they could have taken advantage of a deal if only they'd pulled the trigger.
Wrapped in with this is the idea of artificial scarcity. He is always just about to sell out of pretty much every product. I've listened to him claim that he was about to sell out of Brain Force every day for two weeks straight, presumably never actually selling out, warning that he wouldn't be getting any more in for months.
This, again, is a very basic trick that salesmen use to try to force people into making an immediate decision, thereby overriding some of a customer's more rational impulses. What they are playing with is the idea that you have a decision now, but pretty soon, you won't have a decision at all, and you'll only have yourself to blame for not acting when you could have.
These are two manipulative, very easy to see-through tricks that Alex employs consistently, but when you look at the big picture, a whole lot of advertisers and salespeople use these tricks. It's not that special. The other trick that Alex uses regularly, however, is decidedly more evil.
Alex Jones spends a lot of effort into working his audience into a frenzy, through acting, fake crying, yelling, Independence Day style speeches full of artificial passion. If you pay attention, generally when he does this, he is doing it to get the audience into a suggestable brain state, whereupon he immediately injects an ad.
Consider some of the following examples:
In this clip from his Nov. 6, 2017 show, Alex explains that the enemies that he is up against are demons, satan worshippers, and will probably kill you and then transitions into an ad.
He has created a very serious enemy that needs to be fought, an enemy that will likely kill you, and just like that, he is there to remind you that the only way you can fight this enemy Alex has created for you to be afraid of is to give him money and buy his products.
Or, consider this clip where Alex explains that "the deep state" is behind Islam, whatever that could possibly mean.
The fear he's trying to make his audience feel is immense. Not only is there a secretive "deep state" that runs everything behind the scenes, but they've also taken over one of the biggest religions in the world, and Alex is confidently asserting that they will attack within the United States. You should be terrified by this, and of course, the best way to fight that fear is to take advantage of some of Alex's specials.
Consider this next clip where Alex asserts that we are heading to a "demographic cliff," which is pretty much a dog-whistly way to say that white people aren't having enough children. It's a white genocide adjacent narrative, and it's very dumb. Beyond that, he goes on to revel in fantasies about the police state he imagines is right around the corner:
He is putting on "fun" voices, implying that everyone in power wants to hurt you and he thereby personalizes the threat. But don't lose hope; he alone is there fighting to stop all their attempts to do "procedures" on you. He brings the audience into that headspace, then launches into an ad for his line of survival foods.
I have a hundred examples of this behavior and could make this article painfully long if we were to go over all of them. Suffice it to say, Alex knows what he is doing, and this tactic is employed on purpose.
He is not trying to sell his audience his weird "vitality" pills, as much as he is trying to sell them a feeling. And the feeling he is selling is relief, relief from the fear and panic that he worked so hard to create in them in the first place.
Oh alright...one more clip. Here is Alex from April 25, 2017. This is when he was being sued for slandering Hamdi Ulukaya, the owner of Chobani yogurt. Alex absolutely slandered him, and was forced to make a public retraction/apology. However, before that court case wrapped up, he got on air and used all the tricks at his disposal (using Christianity as a marketing tool, calling Islam "satanic," trying to make his legal trouble really an attack on "you" the audience, etc.) to make one of the most disgustingly naked and pathetic sales pitches I've ever heard:
This last clip gets to the other part of this sales strategy that is evil: the way Alex employs it necessitates radicalization of his audience. He cannot make you scared enough to seek relief in buying his pills unless he has some group that he is telling you to be scared of. He constantly has to reenforce the "fear of the other."
Just saying "Globalists" all the time is too vague and nebulous to strike fear into his listeners (I mean, when have you ever actually seen a "Globalist" in your day to day life?), so to keep this strategy afloat, he has to make you afraid of real groups. Often it's African-Americans, very often it's Muslims (suspiciously, it's never about white males, Christians, or militias), and every time it is a twisting of reality, a weaponization of bigotry, all in service of selling more of his products.
If you can listen even 20 minutes of his show and think that Alex has any agenda other than making money off of scaring people (and spreading bigotry, of course), then the gradual process has already taken place, and I'm afraid it may be too late for you.