Webster Tarpley


Webster Tarpley is a former very regular guest on The Alex Jones Show, and was the central talking-head featured in Alex’s 2009 “documentary” The Obama Deception. He will absolutely never be allowed back on Alex’s show in the future, but weirdly still has a show on the Genesis Communications Network called World Crisis Radio.

Tarpley’s Credentials

Unlike many of Alex’s regular guests, Webster Tarpley does appear to have a pretty impressive academic resume. He graduated with a PhD in Early Modern History from Catholic University of America, after which he studied at the University of Turin in Italy as a Fulbright Scholar.

Despite his laudable educational resume, most of the rhetoric he puts forth on Alex’s show relies heavily on fraudulent narratives concocted by anti-communist propagandists associated with the John Birch Society (e.g. Gary Allen, W. Cleon Skousen), who were themselves mostly just misrepresenting the work of Carroll Quigley. In this sense, Tarpley’s contributions to Alex’s program are the least interesting thing about him.

What Is Interesting About Tarpley?

On March 25, 2016, Webster Tarpley published a post on his website called How Dying Libertarianism Has Become the Entrance to Trump’s Fascism. It’s pretty easy to deduce from that title the argument he hoped to make in the essay, but here are some of the claims Tarpley throws out:

  • For years, Ron Paul had been essentially running a fund-raising scam, targeting people who believe he has any interest in “9/11 Truth” or small government, suggesting that “libertarian ideology was never sincere and simply represented a smokescreen for austerity, union busting, and above all for the ambition and greed of the unprincipled libertarian practitioners.”

  • Ron Paul is similar to either a Nazi or a lunatic, and his economic proposals, particularly the overnight elimination of foreign aid would absolutely lead to genocides around the world.

  • Rand Paul is an incompetent racist, and Ron’s 2012 campaign was specifically designed to hijack enough delegates to get Rand the VP spot from whoever won the nomination.

  • The Paul family are a group of unprincipled racist con-men, and they destroyed any semblance of actual libertarian virtue in American politics.

Tarpley is pulling no punches in this essay, and though he is still clearly off about a number of things (he’s very obsessed with Mormons, for example), he makes the very astute observation that the moral and intellectual degradation of the Ron Paul libertarian years were a natural gateway into accepting fascism.

The essay is largely an indictment of Ron Paul and how he is directly responsible for serving as the stepping stone to the “aspiring dictator, Donald Trump.” But, it’s about more than just that. It’s also very clearly about Alex Jones:

...A significant array of libertarian broadcasters and bloggers who functioned as satellites of the Paul family axis are now in the process of crudely jettisoning their ideological baggage of the past 20 years, tossing overboard most of their alleged principles about limited government, opposition to centralized tyranny, and a backward Jeffersonian reading of the US Constitution.

There are a number of specific details in that sentence that make it clear that this is about Alex. Being a satellite of the Paul family axis? Check. Abandoning ideology of the past 20 years, almost exactly how long Alex had been on the radio at that point? Check. “Alleged principles” about limited government? Check. Absurd claims about the Constitution, justified by appealing to nonsense about Thomas Jefferson? Big check.

Tarpley traces the beginning of “extremist libertarian radio” to “alternative accounts of profoundly tragic events like the Waco massacre.” He describes their coverage of scandals involving Bill Clinton as “veering into the realms of right-wing fantasy.” These are the things that Alex Jones made his name on. He came to prominence as a right-wing radio host working to rebuild the church in Waco. It could not be more clear that Tarpley is talking about Alex, at least it couldn’t be more clear unless he said something like this:

Remember the Amero, the Trans-Texas corridor, and Jade Helm 2015? How many libertarian listeners lost their retirement savings by speculating on silver and gold? ...These themes and others like them have represented the raw materials for innumerable hours of a libertarian broadcasting. This is the stuff of which fear porn is made – offering the suggestible audience the intense experience of fearing an imminent catastrophe.

The Amero (the imagined unified North American currency), the Trans-Texas corridor, and Jade Helm are three massively important pieces of Alex’s rhetoric, and Alex’s show is syndicated by a guy who sells silver and gold. Of course, Tarpley has brass balls here, seeing as his show, World Crisis Radio, is also full of fear porn and is syndicated by the same gold/silver salesman as Alex’s show, but I’m not here to attack the messenger. His point about Alex is correct, even if he’s guilty of the same thing.

Tarpley was a willing participant in helping Alex Jones offer his suggestible audience “the intense experience of fearing an imminent catastrophe” while President Obama was in office. He was more than happy to come on Alex’s show through 2009, during the period he now claims “the libertarian bloggers or broadcasters were in a state of accelerating decline, especially in terms of the moral honesty and ideological quality of their output.”

He knew about Ron Paul back then, he knew that Alex was a Ron Paul guy, yet he was fine with being a part of it, and the most likely reason something changed is that with the appearance of Trump on the scene, Tarpley was at least smart enough to recognize that this wasn’t a game anymore.

It’s all good and well to make money off calling Obama a fascist and dictator because you know he isn’t one, and all you’re doing is creating a little business opportunity for yourself by lying about him. It’s all good and well to support a guy like Ron Paul, who should be “fitted out with the straitjacket, and consigned to a padded cell” because you know he has no chance of ever getting anything done or doing any real damage. Someone like Trump is a legitimate danger, and for all of his other faults (of which there are many), it appears that at least Tarpley had enough humanity in him to recognize that and not continue trying to make the libertarian scam work.

Tarpley’s Botched Lawsuit

Much like Alex Jones, it appears that Webster Tarpley is a big fan of just reporting things he can’t prove are true and hoping that no one sues him. That’s worked pretty well for a while, but on August 2, 2016 he published a post that included an accusation that Melania Trump was an escort before meeting Donald, and that she was having a mental breakdown because of the stress of the 2016 presidential election.

Naturally, Melania sued him, and he had to settle the case by paying a “substantial sum” and making a public apology, which included the following: “I had no legitimate factual basis to make these false statements and I fully retract them.” That is more or less saying, “I was talking shit and got caught, sorry about that.”

This is what con-men do, they lie and present their lies as truth, knowing that most people won’t be able to tell the difference and that most of the people they’re lying about are too busy to sue everyone who lies about them. It is a calculated risk, and it almost always pays off, except for these rare cases where it does not.

This also demonstrates why, even though Tarpley was insightful enough to see that Trump had aspiring authoritarian impulses, he is still not someone who can be trusted. He is using the same strategies he used as a far-right propagandist as he is now. He’s just using a bad playbook to be critical of Trump, and that is not good enough.