His YouTube channel has over 30 million views and over 200,000 subscribers. He's had cameo appearances in two Hollywood films. Yet he's hardly a household name. Nonetheless, over the last fifteen years, Austin, Texas-based radio talk-show host Alex Jones has made a career pumping out bigotry and conspiracies for profit.
Jones has also defended the same Tea Party movement whose leaders are attacking the Occupy movement today. He has indulged in vicious racist anti-immigrant rhetoric, promoted anti-Semitic con artists, defended Holocaust deniers, and attacked civil rights leaders. He is an equal opportunity bigot.
Alex Jones: A One-Man Media Mogul
Jones has become the most successful far-right conspiracy-monger of the last decade. He's created a multi-platform media enterprise, including a syndicated radio program on over sixty radio stations, film production, Internet radio and television broadcasts, and the websites InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, and JonesReport.com. Like other talk-show hosts, Jones isn't a creator of the elaborate conspiracy theories that fill his programs. His job is to re-package old far-right conspiracies, plucking fringe theories from the underground, giving them a spit-polish, and then passing them along to more mainstream media figures such as Glenn Beck.
After starting off on local public access television, Jones took to the Texas talk radio airwaves in 1996. He became a popular voice in militia circles with his rants against the so-called "New World Order." He sees this conspiracy everywhere. The secret cabal of the Bilderbergers and the Rockefellers is spying on us all, manufacturing political and economic crises, staging terror attacks, creating hysteria to frighten the population into going along with a sinister plan that involves depopulating the planet through mass eugenics and poisoning of our air, food and water supplies. Anyone who resists is being tracked by secret police units known as "fusion centers," or implanted with microchips. They will eventually all be rounded up and thrown them into FEMA concentration camps. These were the staples in the 1990s of militia-meisters like John Trochmann of the Militia of Montana-- and the John Birch Society before him. Today, they are Jones' bread-and-butter.
Early in his career, Jones took up popular militia causes, including the confrontation between the Branch Davidian's and the federal government in Waco, Texas in 1993. In 1998, Jones led a successful effort to build a new Branch Davidian church as a memorial to those who died during the fire that ended the government's siege of the original complex.  He also featured many of the popular militia movement speakers on his program.
The killing of 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995 by men close to the militia movement drove many away from the movement. To Jones, that bombing was a government job. He accused the government of blowing up the OKC Federal Building to help Bill Clinton boost his poll numbers and curtail civil liberties. "There was government involvement with the Oklahoma City bombing," he's said repeatedly. Jones has even compared the OKC bombing to the Reichstag fire, a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany.
Alex Jones and the 9/11 Truthers
With that sort of talk, he remained a fringe figure with a small following through the end of the decade, and would probably have stayed that way. But he managed to build his career on the ruins of September 11.
Six weeks before the terror attacks on New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, Jones spent much of his Infowars TV program broadcast, spinning a conspiracy about the history of government-manufactured "false-flag" attacks, from the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He told his viewers to "Call the White House and tell them we know the government is planning terrorism. 'Bin Laden' is the boogeyman they need in this Orwellian phony system." His followers credit him with "predicting" the terrorist attacks.
Before pronouncing Jones prescient, however, there are some basic facts the often get overlooked in Jones' re-telling. On that July broadcast he didn't give a timeframe, a location, or any details about a possible attack, just a vague mention that terrorism is going to happen sometime in the United States. It was the same sort of prediction he's made about conspiracies hundreds of times that never materialized. Moreover, his identification of Bin Laden wasn't miraculous, either. Bin Laden had been the mastermind behind the first World Trade Center attacks and numerous other terrorist incidents around the globe and was a well-known name. And of course, there's the matter that his "prediction" is simply wrong. September 11th wasn't a government job. Jones was the one deceiving the public to believe that the terror attacks appear as though they are being carried out by other entities--the very definition of a "false flag."
On the day of the attacks, Jones opened his broadcast blaming the Bush administration, "I'll tell you the bottom line, 98% chance this was a government-orchestrated controlled bombing," Jones told his listeners. "There's a lot of evidence with 9/11 being staged," Jones has declared elsewhere.
Quickly he became one of the best known, loudest voices of the so-called 9-11 "truther" movement--those who believe that the September 11th attacks were part of a plot by the US government to bring about tyranny. Jones' popularity skyrocketed, particularly with young people trying to make sense of the terror attacks. His radio show was picked up by more stations. His conspiracy DVD's flew out the door. He cashed in on the tragedy. One of his former talk-show stand-ins labeled him the "millionaire patriot" and derided him as a phony.
Beyond the Left-Right Paradigm, or Not
The truther conspiracies, in particular, have given Jones a following in certain far-left circles. Conscious Hip Hip artist KRS-One even got sucked into Jones' world, appearing in one of his films. This following has opened the door for Jones to intrude on the Occupy Wall Street movement with his "Occupy the Fed" campaign.
Jones is very much a chameleon, changing with the times and his audience. He likes to rant about the need to "break down the Left-Right paradigm." But such declarations are largely self-serving attempts to seduce conspiracy-minded progressives.
He and his followers complain about the far-right label, but it sure fits. Just look at how Jones describes himself. In a promotional biography for his radio program, he's described as "an aggressive Constitutionalist who digs deeply into the facts to defend property rights, our nation's borders, and the Second Amendment." At other times, he's called himself a "paleo-conservative." Other times, he wants to be called a "libertarian." In 2000, he ran for office as a Republican. He is a longtime supporter of Ron Paul and a fan of the Tea Party. In fact, it was Jones who spread the now infamous Obama as "Joker" poster so pervasive at early Tea Party rallies.
He may be "beyond Left and Right," as he likes to claim, but that's only because he made a right-turn and kept on going way out to the far-right reaches of American politics.
The issues he's promoted put him at odds with most progressives: guns, extreme property rights, demonization of progressive groups and leaders, opposition to civil rights legislation, immigrant and union bashing, and a return to the Gold standard. All of his issues are tinged by his conspiracy theories.
The far-right influence in Jones goes way back. Jones told Rolling Stone that the "most enduring influence" on his thinking was the book None Dare Call It Conspiracy by John Birch Society members Gary Allen and John G. Schmitz that he found on his father's bookshelf. As a teenager, Jones read the book twice. "It's still the easiest-to-read primer to the New World Order," he said.
Jones has also occasionally trafficked in issues of importance to many on the Left – police brutality, government surveillance, and censorship – but even these issues Jones adapts to his particular far-right perspective, fusing them with his far-right New World Order conspiracies.
What he's really trying to break down is progressive barriers against bigotry and conspiracy-mongering. He wants to infect the Left, particularly progressive–minded young people, with his brand of far-right paranoia.
Such rhetoric has allowed Jones to get a pass from some outlets, like Rolling Stone writer Alexander Zaitchik, who wrote in a lengthy profile of Jones, "Unlike many of his conspiracy-minded predecessors — Henry Ford, the Ku Klux Klan, the militia movement — Jones has no tolerance for racism or anti-Semitism."
On the contrary, this IREHR investigation found that Jones indulges himself periodically with racist, anti-Semitic and nativist rants. He's given a microphone to white nationalists and anti-Semites who've appeared as guests on his show. And his websites have published racist and anti-Semitic material.
Alex Jones and Bigotry
During his November 24, 2008 radio broadcast, Alex Jones could no longer contain his anti-Semitism behind New World Order coded language. After prefacing his rant by saying how he didn't want to be associated with the "haters," Jones launched into an anti-Semitic, nativist, and racist rant.
Every key person in the Bush administration and now in this next administration just so happen to be the sons and daughters of the founders of Israel and Mossad chiefs and people, and they're openly not even US citizens, and they openly are at the head of the table in anti-gun operations in the US, and I'm sick of it....This nation is now completely and totally under international crime syndicate control, a consortium of wicked robber barons, black nobility – that is the old royal families of Europe, intermarried and inter-bred with the Rothschild's, and the Rockefellers.  [Listen to the entire rant here]
Jones's websites InfoWars.com and PrisonPlanet.com also feature an abundance of anti-Semitism.
Take, for instance, the work of Henry Makow, whose influence can be clearly heard in the aforementioned Jones rant. Makow, a Canadian notable for his invention of the popular board game "Scruples" back in the 1980s, has more recently become a prolific purveyor of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He is listed as one of a select group of "independent contributors" to the PrisonPlanet site and the two Jones sites have published dozens of his articles. (David Duke's website has also reprinted Makow's work).
Makow, who claims to be of Jewish ancestry, has argued that the notorious Russian Czarist anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, was real and not a hoax. In another article, he argues, "Jews think Israel was created as a refuge from anti Semitism.[sic] In fact, the Jewish holocaust was engineered to induce Jews to build Israel, intended as the capital of the New World Order." Makow also supported Ernst Zundel, the Holocaust Denier arrested in Canada and deported back to Germany, "Zundel's only crime is to question the Zionist version of the holocaust. What are the Zionists so afraid of? Why do they wield so much power?" In an article entitled "How Jews Are Brainwashed and Manipulated," Makow wrote, "I am not an expert on anti-Semitism but I suspect other accusations have some basis. They reflect the fact that the Jewish Illuminati, specifically the international bankers and their many non-Jewish allies are imposing their control over the world, using the United Nations as a front," and that "Jews play a disproportionate role in advancing the Illuminati agenda. Many think they are creating a secular humanist utopia where 'anti- Semitism' cannot exist. Others just want to get ahead. The Illuminati hides behind them, and disarms opposition by calling it 'anti-Semitism.'"
Jones' website InfoWars.com even reprinted material from the white nationalist tabloid, the American Free Press (the paper formerly known as The Spotlight, run by anti-Semite Willis Carto) by anti-Semitic minister Rev. Ted Pike, which included "As Jewish-dominated media increasingly persuades the public and government to agree with this stereotype, it will become easier to pass Christian-restricting hate crime laws. All who adhere to the Bible on homosexuality or Jewish complicity in Christ's death could be subject to state-sponsored prosecution."
Jones Purveys Anti-Immigrant Conspiracies
Jones has also repeatedly employed the racist "Reconquista" conspiracy theory developed by white supremacists in the 1970s and still popular in nativist circles, which argues that there is a secret Latino plot to reclaim portions of the United States for Mexico. Jones sites and his programs are replete with this Reconquista conspiracy.
Jones has asserted that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are driven by the goal of killing all white people, "You'd better go read their literature. You'd better go find out what they're saying. They're saying as soon as they can they're gonna kill every white person in this country." On his radio program he declared, "Mexicans want to destroy America. I'm talking about the illegal alien Mexicans, they hate this country with an absolute passion, and I'm supposed to buy into the media lie that 'they're these sweet little people love us and they wanna help us.' Pure bull!"
When writing about a Department of Homeland Security report, Jones expressed an apparent sympathy for the white nationalist movement on his InfoWars website: "Far from representing some superficial nod to political correctness, this is in fact a deliberate effort by the feds to characterize predominantly white, middle class, politically engaged Americans as domestic extremists. It's all part of the agenda to frame dissent against big government as dangerous radicalism." On his radio program, he followed up, "Did I not tell you they were gonna switch it from Al Qaeda to the Tea Party? And now you're seeing it, I told you. ... They're gonna rebrand the war on terror on the constitutionalists. I'm asking listeners out there.... What do you think of the rebranding that the terrorists aren't Al Qaeda anymore? It's that veteran, it's that gun owner, it's that farmer ... it's that white person. Whites are the new Al Qaeda."
The Jones websites also promote the racist "birther" conspiracies, claiming that president Obama is illegitimate, foreign born, and has a fraudulent birth certificate. Jones has himself dabbled in racist "birther" conspiracies, on-air denigrating president Obama as being of "questionable birth" and saying that Obama's "lineage in this country" is "about a centimeter deep." He's also compared president Obama to Hitler, "you are looking at the next Adolf Hitler. You are looking at the next Joseph Stalin. He has the spirit of wicked power. He has a spirit of deception. He is highest caliber evil."
The Jones-branded websites have also expressed racism towards other African-American leaders. For instance, an August 31, 2011 Infowars.com article entitled "Black Caucus Incites Race War Against Tea Party Americans," refers to a group of African-American legislators as "Congress critters." The article goes on to accuse the Congressional Black Caucus of "pimping racism" and that "Hustlers of color are working overtime to rile up constituents who view the government as a magical ATM. They are inciting violence when they say Tea Party racists want to hang black people from trees and then instruct them to confront members at their homes. If they can't keep their racket going, they will incite a riot."
Ultimately, it's not about labels, it's about ideas. No matter what political label is affixed to Alex Jones, the toxic ideas of racism, anti-Semitism and nativism enmeshed in his conspiracy theories and promoted on his websites are simply unacceptable. These bigoted ideas can only serve to divide, disempower, and discredit causes and social movements looking for a wider audience. Do the research. Make up your own mind.
. Connie Mabin, "Branch Davidians hope a new church can close wounds," The Independent, April 19, 2000, accessed at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/branch-davidians-hope-a-new-church-can-close-wounds-719121.html.
. Jack Blood, The Jack Blood Radio Program, American Freedom Radio Broadcast, February 24, 2010, accessed at http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Jack-Blood-32k-022410.mp3.
. "The Alex Jones Show" KLBJ News Radio Website, July 21, 2008, accessed at http://www.newsradioklbj.com/hosts-local/Story.aspx?ID=1017549.
. Rich Rosell, "Dark Days: The Alex Jones interview". Digitally Obsessed website, November 27, 2006, accessed at http://www.infowars.com/articles/alex/ts_dark_days_the_alex_jones_interview.htm.
. Dennis B. Roddy, "An Accused Cop Killer's Politics" Slate, April 10, 2009, accessed at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2009/04/an_accused_cop_killers_politics.html.
. Alexander Zaitchik, "Meet Alex Jones. The most paranoid man in America is trying to overthrow the 'global Stasi Borg state,' one conspiracy theory at a time," Rolling Stone, March 2, 2011, accessed at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/talk-radios-alex-jones-the-most-paranoid-man-in-america-20110302.
. Alex Jones, The Alex Jones Show, November 24, 2008, accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXQzSXlPQso.
. Henry Makow, "Protocols Forgery Argument is Flawed," Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com website, December 15, 2003, accessed at http://www.prisonplanet.com/121504makow.html.
. Henry Makow, "The Jews Don't Want a Monoploy on Suffering," Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com website, January 12, 2004, accessed at http://www.prisonplanet.com/011204makow.html.
. Henry Makow, "Complacent Canadians Forfeit Their Freedom: 'Terrorism' is a Ploy to Create a Police State," Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com website, December 7, 2003, accessed at http://www.prisonplanet.com/120703makow.html.
. Henry Makow, "How the Jews are Brainwashed and Manipulated," Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com website, January 23, 2004, accessed at http://www.prisonplanet.com/012304makow.html.
. Rev. Ted Pike, "Global Thought Police: New Testament is Hate Speech," originally published by American Free Press, republished at Alex Jones' InfoWars.com website, May 10, 2008, accessed at http://www.infowars.com/global-thought-police-new-testament-is-hate-speech/.
http://dl.prisonplanet.tv/members/audio/031005marrs.htm; "Alex Jones Interviews Eustace Mullins," Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv website, accessed at http://dl.prisonplanet.tv/members/audio/280905mullins.htm; "Alex Jones Interviews David Icke," Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv website, September 18, 2008, accessed at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4492450572578789721; "Alex Jones Interviews Jeff Rense" Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv website, accessed at http://dl.prisonplanet.tv/members/audio/180505rense.htm.
. See, for instance, "Alex Jones Interviews Randy Weaver," Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv website, June 23, 2004, accessed at http://dl.prisonplanet.tv/members/audio/062304weaver.htm; "Alex Jones Interviews Jim Tucker at Bilderberg 2009,"Alex Jones' InfoWars.com website, May 15, 2009, accessed at http://www.infowars.com/alex-jones-interviews-jim-tucker-at-bilderberg-2009/; "Alex Jones Interviews Christopher Bollyn," Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv website, accessed at http://dl.prisonplanet.tv/members/audio/052004bollyn.htm; Larry Pratt Interview, Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv TV program, September 2, 2011, accessed at http://sibelcarmikli.com/goas-larry-pratt-the-atfs-laboratory-alex-jones-tv-12/.
. Alex Jones, Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv television show, May 6, 2010, accessed at http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/31088045.
. Alex Jones, Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv television show, undated, accessed at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2703300/alex_jones_hating_on_mexicans/
. Paul Joseph Watson, "War On Terror's New Targets: Veterans, Tea Partiers, Anti-Fed Activists," Alex Jones' InfoWars.com website, August 18, 2011, accessed at http://www.infowars.com/war-on-terrors-new-targets-veterans-tea-partiers-anti-fed-activists/.
. Alex Jones, Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.tv television show, August 18, 2011, accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsF70jD07I0.
. Alex Jones, The Alex Jones Show, November 24, 2008, accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXQzSXlPQso.
. Alex Jones, The Alex Jones Show radio broadcast, March 24, 2009, accessed at http://rss.nfowars.net/20090324_Tue_Alex.mp3/.
. Kurt Nimmo, "Black Caucus Incites Race War Against Tea Party Americans," Alex Jones' InfoWars.com website, August 31, 2011, accessed at http://www.infowars.com/black-caucus-incites-race-war-against-tea-party-americans/.
is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...
Follow him on twitter: @dburghart
Latest from Devin Burghart
- Gun Activists Planning Spokane Armed Protest on March 6
- CPAC’s Recurring White Nationalism Problem
- Inside the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention
- German Islamophobe Steps Down after Publication of Hitler Selfie
- Third Controversial Speaker Scheduled to Speak at South Carolina Tea Party Convention