Alex Jones is now a mouthpiece for the Establishment.
The InfoWars host built a media empire by channeling the rage of the declining white middle class into a paranoid, populist nationalism. In Jones’s telling, “globalist” elites are scheming with “illegals” and gun-control groups to undermine American sovereignty and subjugate the nation to rule by foreign bankers. To achieve this goal, the globalists are forever manipulating the American people’s perceptions of reality — by, among other things, faking the Sandy Hook massacre and 9/11 attacks.
By mining territory several kilometers to the right of Rush Limbaugh’s domain, Jones made himself into a marginal figure within Republican politics — until Donald Trump built a presidential campaign by channeling the rage of the declining white middle class into a paranoid, populist nationalism.
Last December, the Republican front-runner appeared on Jones’s show for a lengthy interview, in which he praised the conspiracy theorist’s “great reputation,” while Jones, in turn, praised Trump for his “George Washington–level” heroism in defense of American liberty.
Eleven months later, Trump called Jones to thank him and his audience for putting him in the White House. Or so says Alex Jones, anyway.
“He said, Listen, Alex, I just talked to kings and queens of the world, world leaders, you name it, but he said, it doesn’t matter, I wanted to talk to you, to thank your audience, and I’ll be on the next few weeks to thank them,” Jones told his audience in a video posted online over the weekend. “I said is this is a private call? And he said no, I want to thank your viewers, thank your listeners for standing up for this republic, we know what you did early on, throughout this campaign, standing up for what’s right.”
It would be extraordinary for the president-elect to appear on a show that has cast 9/11 as a false flag operation and Hillary Clinton as a literal demon born in the pits of hell.
But then, it would also be extraordinary for the president-elect to have the (allegedly) anti-Semitic former head of Breitbart — a site that has a section devoted to “Black Crime” — as his chief strategist. (We live in extraordinary times.)
Over the past year, traffic to Infowars and the Drudge Report has doubled, according to Quantcast, while Breitbart News has enjoyed faster growth than all other political news sites.
As Jedediah Purdy notes, the explosive growth of the far-right fever swamp may have been a contributing factor in Trump’s surprise victory:
For people in the Fox/Breitbart right-wing information ecosystems, Trump exaggerates sometimes, but Clinton is a liar and crook. A chunk of those voters are working people who, fifty years ago, might have been getting their basic political information from a union, and are now getting it from a conspiracy-minded far right that convinced them they had a civic duty to vote against the corrupt liar in the race.
Regardless, Jones will be even more dangerous when aligned with the powers that be than he was when railing against them.
Trump is almost certain to disappoint and betray his working-class voters, both because he promised many of them the impossible — the revival of the American manufacturing and coal-extraction industries of yesteryear — and because his populist posturing is out of sync with his actual policy commitments.
And so Jones and his kin will spend the next four years doing what they’ve always done — channeling popular discontent with the government’s legitimate failures toward scheming globalists, undocumented immigrants and conspicuously Jewish international bankers.
Only this time, they will have the leader of the most powerful army and security apparatus on planet Earth standing behind them.