Alex Jones Crossed A Line And Now Is Being Held Accountable

Let me start off by saying, I’m a firm believer of the First Amendment. However, what Alex Jones and countless other people have done isn’t news reporting. It’s fear mongering. It’s bullying and harassment. It’s screaming “Fire!” in a crowded room.

Jones, and others beginning with Rush Limbaugh and to a degree Don Imus, spoke to a demographic of angry, white conservative men who were mad they couldn’t pat women on the bottoms or get too touchy-feely and they wanted to use racial and homophobic slurs. It’s no surprise that Limbaugh became popular shortly after the Fairness Doctrine ended. There was once a time in which a young Sarah Michelle Gellar was named in a lawsuit filed by McDonald’s over a Burger King commercial.

The commercial aired in 1982 when Gellar was only 5 claimed that McDonald’s used 20 percent less meat than they claimed. And McDonald’s wasn’t having it. This was 40 years ago and considered a big deal. Now, something like this wouldn’t scrape the surface. The Fairness Doctrine paved the way for many people to stay whatever they wanted. I grew tired of Limbaugh from the start when I saw him. His TV show was so full of the same demographic who didn’t understand that times often and must change. To them, it was still 1988 and Reagan was still President.

Limbaugh and others were mad that women and particulary non-white people who were “unqualified” were getting positions of employment. With the election of Bill Clinton to the White House in 1992, it just seem to explode across the nation. Talk radio was really rant radio. What’s ironic is how tame Limbaugh would seem compared to the likes of Alex Jones. Not to say either one is a good person.

But Jones seemed to beat a dead horse almost to the point that only the dedicated listeners would still find anything in it. One of those issues he kept talking about ad nauseam was the Sandy Hook massacre. And like many conservative pundits, he pushed a false narrative that the massacre was a hoax. He called the parents “crisis actors.” He had no evidence that it was a hoax. Even after the rest of the conservatives could find something else to complain about in regards to Democrats and/or President Barack Obama, Jones continued.

And to kick people while they’re down, people went after the parents who in one month went from deciding what to get their kids for Christmas to deciding what to bury their kids in. Only a pscyhopath would continue to push the hoax narrative. But Jones did it because there were ratings.

His recent defamation trial filed by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son, Jesse, 6, was one of thos killed by Adam Lanza on Dec. 14, 2012. They said Jones had made their life a living hell. And Jones went about the trial with the same attitude on his show to the point that the Judge Maya Guerra Gamble would often call him out on his behavior. For Jones, it was all about show. Either the man was trying to act crazy or he is actually fucked in the head.

I would say there’s a little bit from Column A and a little bit from Column B.

The jury awarded Heslin and Lewis $49.2 million in personal anguish and punitive damages. That might seem high but they, along with other parents, faced death threats and harassment on-line and in person from several people who listened to Jones and others. Now, one might say, who’s more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him as Obi-Wan Kenobi once said. But even after reports were coming in of the harassment, Jones kept egging his listeners on.

People who listen to Jones and his InfoWars aren’t tuning in to hear news. They’re tuning in to hear what they agree with. And it made Jones money. As for that money, his net worth is anywhere between $135 million to $270 million. But Texas law may prohibit Heslin and Lewis even from getting $1 million. Fred Goldman, who won a wrongful death lawsuit against O.J. Simpson, has said the judgments in civil suits aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

But what it does show is the courts are holding people like Jones accountable. There’s a difference from saying you don’t believe we ever landed on the moon and it was faked and denying that a massacre happened because you think it’s a gun control issue. And even after parents and those at the school reported harassment, Jones should’ve done the decent thing and told people to knock it off. But in a world where Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene harasses the Parkland survivors, common decency is a think of the past.

There’s been reports that Jones’ trial and the information his lawyer sent to the other lawyers by mistake might have some connection to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection coup attempt. It’s obvious we’re living in a world where public figures can encourage people to do outrageous things. I’ve been one who thought and still thinks there is no connection between violent movies, TV shows and video games and actual acts of violence. If someone saw Natural Born Killers or played Grand Theft Auto, then went on a rampage, they probably had that in their system.

John Hinckley Jr. can blame Taxi Driver and Jodie Foster’s refusal to answer his letters all he want, but he willingly went down and bought a gun and tracked down President Reagan and shot at him. And yes, I do support the Brady Bill because it might have kept the gun out of Hinckley’s hands. But one could say Jones isn’t responsible for the harassment.

When the news was coming in on that day, it was sketchy. As a former news editor, the need to get information out as soon as possible can be difficult, especially if a law enforcement agency doesn’t have much to report. Sometimes the information is incorrect. When I worked at the Americus Times-Recorder in Americus, Ga., the Georgia State Patrol post just wouldn’t give out incident reports and you had to write it down from an official telling you things. Sometimes, they got it wrong. Sometimes, we got it wrong.

But it’s not journalism if you don’t admit you made a mistake. I was living near Atlanta following the 1996 Olympics Centennial Park bombing and everyone felt Richard Jewell did it because the news pointed that way. It was incorrect. It was Eric Rudolph. I met John and Patsy Ramsey in January of 2002 while working in Americus, Ga. All reports indicated they had something to do with the murder of their daughter, JonBenet. Now, I don’t think that because the information we know now points away from them as suspects.

You change your opinion when the information changes. But yet, as a decade later, people still feel it was a hoax. I remember someone from my hometown couldn’t find an ounce of sympathy or decency toward the Obama Administration so he had to criticize Obama because it sounded like he said Newton, Conn., instead of Newtown, Conn. And people from the south criticizing someone for how they talk is very hypocritical and ironic.

So, yes, Jones deserved to lose the trial. He deserves to lose his sponsorship. He deserves to lose his show. He deserves to lose his wealth. His behavior even came into question in a child-custody case a few years ago. If someone isn’t competent enough to take care of their own kids, why do you think they’re smart enough to preach the gospel? And we really shouldn’t believe everything we hear.

I’m not saying that talk radio hosts can’t force their opinions. Don’t like President Joe Biden or Vice-President Kamala Harris? That’s fine. That’s your right. And you can rant and rave about it on a podcast or blog all you want. However, it’s illegal to threaten violence against them or even past President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence. Screaming “Hang Mike Pence!” is a very threatening phrase in my opinion.

This is one of many lawsuits in which Jones is named as a defendant. What will come of those cases may differ, but this case shows that people have to be held accountable. Our words do have consequences.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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