In the last year of studying Alex Jones, it has become increasingly clear that something very serious has changed about him in the past few years, beyond just his support of Donald Trump. While he's always been someone deeply invested in his white male identity, and he's always been functionally illiterate, there is a trend that we are seeing in 2018 that is as pathetic as it is portentous of dangers ahead.
This trend is that Alex Jones is becoming increasingly desperate, and he has descended into participating in full-on internet hoaxes, and pretending that the things he is citing are from "sources," allegedly high ranking intelligence officers, when in fact they are either completely made up or culled from dubious online message boards.
On a recent episode of our podcast, we discussed how unprofessional and idiotic it was for Alex to "report" on documents he found on 4chan that alleged to be a contract between Alex Soros (son of the big boogeyman George Soros) and Antifa, a contract for the latter party to agitate in the streets, with the clearly specified end goal of precipitating martial law. The documents, even if you ignore that they were found on 4chan, were laughable on their face. The idea that someone would draw up a contract that explicitly spells out the goal of creating a state of martial law is incredibly stupid; if someone were actively pursuing that goal, putting it into a contract seems counterproductive and pointless. Beyond that, the idea that the document contained a non-disclosure agreement should be a sign that it is absolutely not real. NDAs can't be enforced when what you are agreeing not to disclose is a felony, and subverting the government and fomenting riots certainly qualify as such.
A very minimal exercise of critical thinking would lead any reasonable person to the conclusion that these documents aren't real. They don't make sense from a functional perspective, they wouldn't serve the purpose they purport to serve as a contract, and they come from an incredibly dubious place. Instead of taking these deductive steps and holding off on reporting these as real, Alex got on air and spent an hour talking himself into saying that they "have to be real."
And the reason he did this is very clear: the online conspiracy hoax world has moved past him, and he is feeling very left out in a world where he was once king.
For the last couple months, Alex has been pretending that he has a high level intelligence operative source named Zaq who will call in and, mysteriously, confirm pretty much every single one of Alex's outlandish theories. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, he encouraged Alex's absurd idea that it was a joint operation between Antifa and ISIS that involved the Saudi Arabian government. He went so far as to confirm Alex's guest Shepard Ambliss's theory that there were people shooting at the concert from helicopters, among other much simpler theories that have been thoroughly debunked and discredited.
The big problem is that, as Alex has been trying to get his secret high level intelligence source to catch on, Zaq is nowhere near as popular as the online conspiracy meme QAnon. People feverishly debate the cryptic posts QAnon makes, but by and large, Zaq has not caught on with the larger world outside of Alex's existing audience, and when Alex sees something in his world (dumb conspiracies based entirely on hearsay and vague implications), what he really sees is money he could be making and isn't. And that drives him crazy.
As Alex sees QAnon outperforming his in-house intelligence community hoax, he realizes that in order to tap into that market, he needs to dip into those worlds that he previously saw as beneath him. And not only that, he has to try to out-do them.
Historically, this has led to a whole lot of trouble for Alex. He now has to pretend that he never actively engaged in Pizzagate shit, but he absolutely did. He now has to pretend that he "just had debates" about Sandy Hook, when he unequivocally said that the whole thing was fake, and still supports and provides a platform for Steve Pieczenik, a man who still says Sandy Hook was fake (and that the Las Vegas shooting was fake as well).
And now, Alex Jones, driven by jealousy of the attention that these online hoaxes are generating, is drifting back into these waters where he has almost drowned before because he refuses to learn his lesson.
On his January 23rd episode, Alex spent most of the show carrying out a piece of radio theater that is equal parts disgraceful, embarrassing, and pathetically transparent.
At the beginning of the show, Alex is discussing the notorious "memo" that Trump-allied members of Congress have been talking up in recent days. These congressmen will not say what is in the memo, but they keep saying that the contents are damning and smoking gun proof of illegal activity by Democrats. Recently, the hashtag #releasethememo has been trending, and has been the hottest property in the right wing conspiracy neighborhood.
[Spoiler alert: there's no reason to think this "memo" is anything to be taken seriously. If this were a real "smoking gun," there is nothing the Democrats could do to stop Trump and the Republican leadership from releasing it. All signs point to this being one of those situations where the implications and insinuations of what could be in the memo are more politically valuable than the probably disappointing reality of what actually is. It's basically Schrodinger's Memo.]
Because he cannot be outdone, Alex starts his show by saying that through talking to "sources," he has been able to "reverse engineer" what is in the memo. I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say Alex has been able to figure out that the memo conveniently confirms all of his narratives about Trump being a victim of a massive "Globalist" witch-hunt.
He spends a lot of the show teasing that he's going to get into what is in the memo, obviously as a desperate attempt to generate buzz, hoping to get Twitter, Reddit, and the message boards speculating and driving people to tune into the show.
And then, about an hour into the show, Alex announces that he has the memo.
And this was a gigantic mistake. Because he absolutely didn't have "the memo."
The problem is not just that Alex got a document, then pretended it was the specific notorious memo that the internet conspiracy world was up in arms about. That would be embarrassing enough in terms of being a clear indication that he doesn't ever really know what he is talking about on air, but to make matters worse, he makes it very clear, repeatedly, that the "source" that sent him the "memo" was "former technical director of the NSA" (and frequent InfoWars guest) William Binney.
As it turns out, the document that Alex Jones was in possession of was a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Memorandum and Opinion approving 2016 Section 702 certifications. It was made public as early as May 11, 2017, which I know because it was covered in this May 11, 2017 article on LawfareBlog. That post links to the exact document, hosted on dni.gov, that Alex is using as a prop in this episode. It is something that has been available publicly for about seven months, and is actually the thing that led to a lot of people's discussions about Section 702 in the first place.
And this is a massive problem for Alex and William Binney's credibility.
Their behavior tells me a couple things very clearly:
- Alex Jones doesn't know that this document has been public for over half a year, and further doesn't know that a lot of his misleading narratives about FISA courts come directly from this very document, and that it has been misinterpreted in the past by the likes of Trey Gowdy and Devin Nunes to attack the intelligence community. He has zero idea about primary sources, and he reveals that very clearly on air in an incredibly embarrassing fashion.
- His "source" William Binney also doesn't know what this document is, and that it has been public for seven months, and given the credentials Alex gives him, he absolutely should know all of that. This calls into very serious question Mr. Binney's credibility and intentions.
- William Binney is not a source, nor a whistle-blower, but an active participant in Alex Jones' propaganda narrative.
For most of the show, Alex says that the 99-page document is the memo that the internet conspiracy world has been begging Devin Nunes to release, and that somehow, as if magically, it got released on the government website on Jan. 23. He even goes on to say that he knows that Donald Trump was behind getting the memo released. And what's worse, he has William Binney assert that "as far as he knows," the document was posted on dni.gov on Jan. 23, which is demonstrably not true.
Unfortunately, as we discussed above, the document that he is in possession of has been publicly online and available for seven months.
Alex has his crack team of researchers poring over the document, trying to find scoops, and they keep popping in to fill Alex in on what they'd learned. The ultimate irony is that each new thing they bring to Alex is something that Alex has used as fuel for one of his propaganda narratives in the past.
It is tragic and embarrassing, and reaches its ultimate height of absurdity when Alex pretends that the Globalists are hacking into his computer to stop him from posting this document that has been online since May of last year.
The reality of what we are seeing is very clear, but too many people who witnessed the events of the day laughed at Alex for the fuck up, but failed to understand the larger context.
Alex Jones saw the internet buzzing about this memo, and decided he needed a piece of the action. In order to secure his place as the king of the conspiracy world, he needed to not only claim to know what is in this memo, he needed to produce it. He knew that would prove that his sources are real, and that he is the genuine article. Unfortunately, in his attempt to pull off the prestige, he produced a big zero, and in doing so inadvertently demonstrated his lack of credibility, as well as that of one of his regular guests, William Binney.
And here is where this is incredibly dangerous. As time goes on, Alex Jones is constantly lowering his standard for what he is willing to report as truth. While, contrary to Trump's assertions, Alex's reputation has never been amazing, the fact that he has been trying so desperately to get in on internet hoaxes through the first three weeks on 2018 should be deeply concerning to everyone.
In the same time-frame, Alex has also been heavily ramping up his violent rhetoric, and making clear that if the "Globalists" take out Trump, that it may be time for an Info War may be over, and that other actions may be necessary. And we know his audience gets the point.
His listeners have shot off rounds in Comet Ping Pong because Alex suggested that people needed to "check it out for themselves." His listeners have harassed and threatened Sandy Hook victims' families because he told them that they weren't grieving humans, they were just actors. While the recent young man who intended to "shoot up CNN" may have been motivated by Trump's words, it's important to remember that Alex Jones ran a contest where people could win money by getting on TV and yelling "CNN Is ISIS," and on too many occasions to count, he's literally said that CNN is your enemy and wants to kill your family.
His words do not exist in a bubble, and time and time again, people other than Alex Jones end up paying the consequences for how wrong he is all the time.
This desperation that Alex clearly feels about needing to be the most important voice in the fringe is going to get worse, as the much more creative hoaxers online run circles around him, and Alex is forced to get more and more sensational to keep up. As this trend continues, and his violent rhetoric continues to escalate, the only natural conclusion that really can lead to is someone taking Alex up on his rhetoric and killing innocent people.
Perhaps the saddest part is that, behind it all, you can tell that Alex himself doesn't really care. He's playing with fire in front of an audience of naive aspiring pyromaniacs, and even as he perpetrates his ridiculously stupid "memo" hoax, you can tell very clearly where his priorities lie:
Pathetic. Dangerous and pathetic.