Alex Jones

What's an Anti-Establishment Guy Gonna Do When His Hero Takes Over the Government?

Infowars in the age of Trump

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Warner Independent Pictures

When people find out you've written a book about conspiracy theories, they tend to start asking you questions. Often the same questions. One I've been hearing a lot lately is "What do you think Alex Jones will do now that his guy is president? Can a man who sees conspiracies everywhere adjust to being on the same side as the government?"

That question, as it happens, has relevance beyond the relatively small world of Jones and his fans. My answer is usually some combination of these three things:

1. I have no idea what Alex Jones will do over the next four years.

2. But many people have found it easy to slide from condemning a vast government conspiracy against the citizens to condemning a vast conspiracy against The One Man In Government Who Cares About You.

You don't need to be a hard-core conspiracist like Jones or his staff at Infowars to take that kind of position. It's pretty common to encounter Democrats who thought Barack Obama and/or Bill Clinton were outsiders hemmed in by a hostile establishment, and it's not unusual to meet Republicans who have said similar things about George W. Bush and/or Ronald Reagan. Washington is full of intrigue, and it doesn't take much work to interpret a battle between governing-class factions as a battle between the rulers and the people. With someone like Jones the narrative may get more baroque, but the underlying process will be pretty similar; so far, he and his writers haven't had a hard time acclimating themselves to the new conditions.

3. The more interesting question isn't "What will Alex Jones do?" It's "What will people like Alex Jones do?" Jones is a fringe figure, but there's a pretty big universe out there of Americans who tend to distrust both the government and the corporate world and who are particularly prone to embracing conspiratorial explanations of events. There's going to be a split between the populists who see Trump as just the latest manifestation of a corrupt system and the populists who see him as their advocate in a world that's otherwise stacked against them. But we don't yet know how many people will end up on each side.

So with that in mind, check out The Daily Beast's report on a crack in the Alex Jones coalition:

Since his exit, [former Infowars writer Kurt] Nimmo has noticed the general framework and voice of the site shift into becoming essentially a pro-Trump propaganda outfit—something that he perceives as an abandonment of Infowars' initial focus on the "New World Order," or as Jones would call it, the establishment.

"I disagree with Alex Jones on Donald Trump," Nimmo said in an email to The Daily Beast. "I believe Donald Trump is an enabler of crony capitalism, the same as his predecessor. I also believe he will not end the wars started by Bush and continued by Obama. I cannot support a man who will further war and murder. Alex Jones has more or less ignored this and considers Trump a patriot and a defender of the Constitution. This is clearly wrong."

To read the whole thing, which includes some equally strongly worded pushback from Team Infowars, go here. There will be many rifts like this in the Trump years, and they won't always take place in places as arcane as this one.

Bonus link: A broader look at these tensions in the populist tradition.

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  1. 2. But many people have found it easy to slide from condemning a vast government conspiracy against the citizens to condemning a vast conspiracy against The One Man In Government Who Cares About You.

    Good article, Jesse. I think there may be a point to a vast conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency…see Democratic Party Platform and the mainstream media’s talking points(but I repeat myself).

    1. Hey, I haven’t been to the site in a while, but I’ve noticed a lot of previous commentators are gone. What happened?

      1. An exodus after Reason’s slip into insanity last week. Check am/pm links for an alternative commenting site.

        1. What was the slip? I’m just an occasional peruser. Thanks.

          1. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was repeating the “Trump’s TRO Kills Iraqi Grandma” lie. Many of the old-timers feel that reason has lost its objectivity and has started leaning left.

            Now apparently there’s an invite-only site where you can go talk in private with 2 dozen people who already agree with you, so there’s that.

            1. Thanks…missed that.

            2. Hey! I didn’t get invited. What the fucking fuck? So none of you left over assholes are the cool kids?

              1. We’re too cool for the cool kids.

                But if you come to an AM or PM links you’ll find a post where the handle alludes to Texas, or you can email Tonio if you happen to catch him.

                1. Which reminds me that the other bit was KMW refusing to do a story on sloopy’s mom, who got beaten by a cop at a sporting function as she tried to help an asthmatic child (she’s an EMT, apparently).

                  1. The third thing was Shikha’s comment on Twitter about beating up fascists.

              2. Looks like you’re in good company, seconds.

              3. I think it’s a self-invitation thing, which the coordinator then decides about. I didn’t follow up because I’m both too swamped lately and also not really all that pissed off at the site.

      2. In my case, I’ve just been insanely busy between work and some issues with an aging father. I only get to read maybe an article a day lately, and haven’t been making an effort to comment much lately.

    2. I mean is that wrong? All of my progtards friends are all about ‘The Resistance’ like they are some freedom fighters and not the fucking brown-shirts that they are.

      To them it doesn’t matter what Trump says, IT MUST BE OPPOSED! That Trump’s speeches sound a lot like Bill Clinton’s in the 90s doesn’t even register with them

      1. It sure seems as everyone has lost their minds for/against Trump. He’s just a man. What they are doing is perilous to a free society.

      2. I wasn’t alive back then but was this what happened to the left when Reagan was elected? Look how that turned out

        1. Yep- I was 9 when he was first elected and my mom was convinced that he was going to start a nuclear war with the USSR at any minute, so not much has changed…

          1. I was 30, so maybe I have a better perspective. Many Democrats were really upset and strongly against Reagan, and of course they called him Hitler and a warmonger. But it was nowhere near what we are seeing today. The organization and depth of protest/resistance is much greater today and the MSM is a much larger and more effective megaphone. Reagan didn’t have a Heffalump Congress, so there was balance and the Dems could block him. Some similarity, but just warm compared to white hot today.

        2. I, too, was 9 when Reagan was first elected, and I remember a widespread sense (in SoCal, anyway), that electing an actor president was a bad joke, that he was an illiterate cowboy who wanted to start a war to feel tough, etc., but the level of shear pants-shitting panic we’re seeing now was not even imaginable back then, not even in the wake of the ‘social turmoil’ of the 60s-70s.

          Which is interesting, because the political activists of the 60s-70s were way ballsier than the activists of today, and faced much harsher consequences. Or, I should say, faced consequences.

  2. http://www.freebeacon.com/national-se…..ust-flynn/

    I’m guessing this will only convince the Info warriors that they are correct.

    Could this be the reason why Democrats have slow-walked his nominees in the cabinet at a historically slow pace?

    1. I would not be surprised. I don’t trust the Free Beacon any less than I trust the NYT or WaPo, so why not?

    2. Could this be the reason

      what’s the “this” you reference?

      the article doesn’t seem to isolate any specific “this”. it says, “Former Obama officials, loyalists planted series of stories to discredit Flynn, bolster Iran deal”, but i don’t see what that would have to do with slow-walking nominations. They could do that sort of stuff regardless.

      1. also =

        The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

        If the trump admin wants to disclose details about the Iran deal, i don’t see how ousting Flynn would stop it.

        I also don’t see how ousting him doesn’t mean Trump couldn’t just find someone “just as bad” (from the opponents POV) or worse in the same regard.

      2. Loyalists from the previous administration still in the intelligence community and other branches of government. This administration is leaking non-stop

        1. Again –

          If “this” = “”Loyalists from the previous administration still in the intelligence community and other branches of government.”“….

          what does that have to do with, “the reason why Democrats have slow-walked his nominees in the cabinet at a historically slow pace?”

          if those loyalists exist, the speed at which Dems confirm nominees would have little to do with that. They could do their leaking before, during, and after anyone happens to get approved.

          The same argument suggests that when everyone’s approved, somehow the loyalists will have to shut up and stop leaking?

        2. Ah yes, the CIA, FBI, and NSA. Well-known hotbeds of squishy bleeding heart liberals!

  3. the age of Trump

    or, “February”, either/or.

  4. Alex Jones now?

    I’m waiting for the Infowars article painting Reason as another tentacle of the Illuminati.

    1. That’s a dog bites man story.

  5. I heard Alex Jones’ insane rantings for the first time the other day. Moynihan’s impression is pretty solid.

  6. You’re alt-text just gave me a movie to watch. Thanks!

  7. It’s pretty common to encounter Democrats who thought Barack Obama and/or Bill Clinton were outsiders hemmed in by a hostile establishment, and it’s not unusual to meet Republicans who have said similar things about George W. Bush and/or Ronald Reagan.

    Yeah except people saying this about Trump aren’t wrong. It’s readily apparent that he isn’t anyone’s idea of an establishment guy, he’s loathed by basically every subset of the establishment. The federal bureaucracy, established congress critters in both parties, the media establishment is almost 100% opposed to every little thing he does, right down to his breathing. The litany of NGOs and supranational organizations pretty much all hate him.

    It doesn’t seem to me like there is any conceivable way to paint him as an establishment guy unlike the others you mentioned.

  8. Can a man who sees conspiracies everywhere adjust to being on the same side as the government?

    The idea that Trump and “the government” are “on the same side” seems pretty laughable, given events over the last 24 hours.

    Like Reason and most of the rest of the so-called “mainstream” media, most of “the government” is in direct and open warfare against their new boss.

    1. “Thanks” for that, “Dave.”

    2. Some people are pimping hard for the intelligence community, though

    3. The idea that Reason and “the government” .”on the same side” seems pretty plausible

      1. It may come as a shock to you, but to the best of my knowledge Reason has never claimed to be an anarcho-capitalist magazine.

    4. At the end of the day, Trump holds the most powerful office in the government. His party also controls both houses of Congress (as well as most state legislatures and governorship) and while many/most of them may not like him much, very few have shown any indication of serious opposition to his agenda since his inauguration. Trump’s most meaningful opposition in the government at this point is the bureaucracy. Which is an important thing, but the end of the day Trump is still President and you can only try to separate him from “the government” so much before it becomes laughable.

      But I do look forward to 4-8 years of you sucking off Trump while attacking Reason for daring to criticize our commander in chief.

  9. Jones is a fringe figure

    Is he really a fringe figure at this point? He is awfully influential, and his youtube videos have billions of views.

    1. He doesn’t have 1/50th the following of Pewdiepie.

      1. Not even Jesus has the following of Pewdiepie.

    2. Ok, I googled him. Pewdiepie is some kind of known anti-semite.

      1. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg[5] (/???lb??r?/ shel-burg,[6] Swedish: [?fe?l?ks ???l?b?rj];[7] born on 24 October 1989), known online as PewDiePie (/?pju?dipa?/ pew-dee-py), is a Swedish web-based comedian and video producer. He is known for his Let’s Play commentaries and vlogs on YouTube.

        Huh, I’ll have to start watching him. I do know there’s this trend with Youtubers being referred to as “comedians”, but often very little of what they say is actually ‘funny’.

  10. But will Donald Trump finally stop them from turning the frogs gay??

  11. Can a man who sees conspiracies everywhere adjust to being on the same side as the government?”

    The side of the government is whatever side the media is on.

    And if I bring my personal wayback machine to the 1980s. The press never liked Reagan, but they never disliked government. Government was perfectly fine. It was that amiable dunce running around making cuts to everything that was the problem.

    I suspect we’ll see a similar turn with Trump. Federal power? Just fine. It’s just that uncouth reality show star crashing through the china shop.

    I’m guessing Alex Jones will see this in the exact reverse: The federal government is evil, but see? The press hates our new President, and but for them, he’d be getting to the bottom of all these problems.

  12. Also need to remember the government isnt a monolith

  13. A friend of mine is a high-level agent in a clandestine government unit that investigates paranormal events and UFO’s and so on, and he tells me Alex Jones is actually an agent of the Catholic Church whose sole purpose is to distract attention from who really wields the power behind the scenes worldwide. Hint: It ain’t the Jews, it’s the people who have successfully scapegoated the Jews and falsely convinced the world the Jews are running everything. I mean, wake up, sheeple! You really think a world-wide conspiracy of the top puppet-masters for the last thousand years or more is going to have their secrets cracked by the likes of Alex Jones? He’s one of them!

    1. You mean HYDRA?

  14. I also believe he will not end the wars started by Bush and continued by Obama. I cannot support a man who will further war and murder.

    Projection much?

    Judging before the data are in…….hmmmm……there’s a word for that……

    I fear some of those things may happen, but I will call ’em as I sees ’em.

    1. Is it really egregious to make predictions about how a presidency will go? I don’t get what’s supposed to be outrageous about that. Hell, Trump has already continued the wars (and not just Syria and Afghanistan).

  15. Every time I hear Alex Jones I think ‘deviated septum’.

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