Facebook Is Done With Alex Jones. Where Will The Infowars Host Go Next?
Alex Jones has a very powerful fan: President Donald Trump.
Although he’s considered by some in the mainstream as a fringe whackadoodle as he yells about frogs and hawks supplements on his program Infowars, CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter calls Trump “the Infowars president.”
And after Facebook banned Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan and other extremists, the president took to Twitter to criticize the social media company.
“I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!” he wrote.
But Jones’ words have had real consequences, something the parents of children who were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 know only too well.
Lenny Pozner was one of them. He and his family were repeatedly harassed by an online community of people who believed that the massacre was staged, a theory pumped up by Jones.
From The Atlantic:
Jones insisted that the kids’ deaths were a great hoax, a performance staged by gun-control activists backed by the American government. As a result of that, Noah Pozner’s family says, they have been stalked and subjected to death threats by Jones’s legions of epistemically gullible yet digitally savvy followers—a fact that has, doxxing by doxxing, forced them to move seven times over the past five years, ever farther away from the body of their slain son.
In an interview with Mother Jones, reporter Anna Merlan weighed in about Jones’ and other far-right provocateurs, about their relationship with social media, and what can happen after bans like these occur:
At the same time, I think we have seen pretty clearly that in some cases, de-platforming some particularly virulent people has worked. I think Alex Jones’ reach is less than it ever has been, he’s getting more criticism for his ideas than he ever has. For somebody like Milo Yiannopoulos or Gavin McInnes—these are people who got really famous because of platforms like Twitter and Instagram and YouTube—and not having the same access to those platforms inarguably makes it harder for them to spread what they’re trying to spread.
What impact has Alex Jones had on the president? How much does he matter? And what role have the conspiracy theories he’s promulgated played in national politics?
Produced by Morgan Givens.
Anna Merlan, Senior reporter, GO Media; author, “Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power”; @annamerlan
Brian Stelter, Host of CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’; senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide; @brianstelter
David French, Senior writer, National Review; columnist, Time magazine; former First Amendment litigator; @DavidAFrench
For more, visit https://the1a.org.
© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.
Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.