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Remember When Alex Jones Was A Darling Of The Far-Left?

Alex Jones
Image CreditABC News/YouTube

Alex Jones no longer appeals to the fringe left because he appeals to those who feel powerless against the status quo.

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After years of litigation, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his news network Info Wars stand at the precipice of liquidation. 

The man described by CNN, BBC, MSNBC, and NBC as a “right-wing conspiracy theorist,” and by CBS and The Daily Beast as a “far-right conspiracy theorist,” may be forced to sell his business to pay restitution to the Sandy Hook school shooting families he accused of being crisis actors. The families are pushing for “the total destruction of Alex Jones” and his departure from the public stage, and the media is celebrating his financial destruction.  

Jones is most definitely a conspiracy theorist. He spends his days ranting about the New World Order, vaccines giving children autism, false flag operations, and the alleged truth about 9/11. However, the ocean of furious news stories on his trial consistently gets one thing wrong — Jones is not a conservative, at least in the traditional sense. 

Jones is a man who was kicked out of George W. Bush rallies, voted for Barack Obama in 2008, picked fights with David Duke, antisemites, and Neo-Nazis, and recorded videos with Joe Rogan wearing Bush masks outside of the White House to protest the Bush administration. He was not nor is he now a man of the right — and he hasn’t claimed to be, to my knowledge. 

Not Right or Left, but Anti-Establishment

You’d be understandable for thinking otherwise, given that he’s thrown himself fully behind President Trump, hangs out with Tucker Carlson, interviews paleoconservative gadflies, and gained notoriety for his infamous 2012 interview with Piers Morgan, wherein he proclaimed that “1776 would commence again” if the federal government implemented gun control in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. 

This assumption misses the core of Jones’s ideology. He is a pure populist. His views cut against both sides of mainstream American politics.

His history shows he’s equally critical of Republicans and Democrats when they’re in power. He consistently throws his support behind candidates on both sides of the aisle who he perceives as being sufficiently anti-establishment — ergo his support for both Obama and Trump. (Corporate media are quick to quote Jones calling Obama and Hillary Clinton demons in 2016, but omit his praise for the far more populist version of Obama in 2008.)

As Jones writes in his recent book, The Great Awakening, “One pattern I’ve noticed is that whatever side feels out of power is much more willing to consider conspiracy/corruption theories. The left loved what I was saying about the Patriot Act and the War on Terror when Bush was in office, but not so much when Barack Obama took office.” 

Before 2012, Jones’s reputation was completely different than it is now. Whereas he is currently a disgraced media figure grappling with bankruptcy and a billion dollars in defamation cases due to his Sandy Hook claims, he was a far more niche and respected journalist in the early 2000s, when the progressive left was far more amenable to conspiracy theories. 

At this time, anti-vax conspiracies were considered holistic and progressive. The federal government was corrupt and fed an imperialist war machine designed solely to kill Middle Easterners and make money for the military-industrial complex. Big pharma was killing Americans for profit. Walmart was the enemy of the people. The Sept. 11 attacks were either deserved blowback for the West’s crimes or a purposeful Bush administration conspiracy to steal oil. 

In this atmosphere — where your unhinged cousins were probably pushing you to watch ripped DVDs of “Loose Change” — Jones thrived as a niche contrarian documentary filmmaker among the left. He wasn’t a mainstream leftist voice, nor did he claim to be a leftist, but he would have appealed to a specific unhinged temperament of the progressive blogosphere at the time. 

Jones was allegedly even able to spin his niche popularity into film cameos and audiences with major celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Buzz Aldrin.” Filmmaker Richard Linklater addressed the inclusion of Jones in his films, “Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly,” in a 2018 interview with The Daily Beast.

He deflected that, at the time, the young Texan shock jock “wasn’t so virulent, he just had all that energy,” and that he “just thought he was kind of funny.” He claimed Jones was “this hyper guy that we’d all kind of make fun of,” but also admitted that the two were nominal ideological bedfellows at the time. 

“I talked to him a bit during the Bush-Cheney years. He always positioned himself as anti. So when you’re anti, he’s your bedfellow.”

Jones has also written about how, “In Hollywood in the mid-2000s, I was a hero to the left for having infiltrated the secretive [mostly Republican] summer gatherings at the Bohemian Grove.” 

Embraced by the Party out of Power

Twenty-three years later, it is far more common to see Jones embraced by populist conservatives, given that his conspiracies are more appealing to the party that feels out of power. His broadcasts in recent years focus on the dangers of vaccines, election integrity, the dangers of transhumanism, pedophilic human trafficking, and the “globalist” plans for a post-human new world order. 

Meanwhile, the left is currently filled with people who “trust the experts,” because they are confident that their elected representatives can be trusted. The irony is that the left spent the Trump administration spewing conspiracy theories about 2016 election interference and Russian collusion, and bought false claims time and again about everything from the Jussie Smollett hoax to Covid-19 natural origin theories we now know to be false.

There are still conspiracy theorists on the left, who claim that Bernie Sanders has been cheated out of his deserved nomination or that right-wing special interest groups control Washington, but they’re fringe and nominally defend Big Pharma and corporations when they’re attacked by the right’s anti-vaxxers and anti-woke crowd. The more militant “Tankie” leftists still see fascist and corrupt CIA influence in almost all areas of political life. 

Yet Jones no longer appeals to the fringe left because he only appeals to people who feel powerless against the status quo, and the broader left no longer does. As one of his fans told The Dallas Morning News, “He hasn’t changed dramatically [since the late 1990s] and is still the firebrand who will shout at his audience to try and motivate them to pay attention.” While the traditional left and right have always had their unique brands of endemic conspiracy theorists (John Birch Society, Oliver Stone movies, etc.), Jones continues to be what he always was — an ally to the anti. 


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