Alex Jones knows how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Every week from his studio in Austin, Texas, he dives into red-faced tirades exposing the forces that threaten to enslave all human life on the planet. The conspiracy always boils down to about the same thing: eugenics operations, the militarization of the police, a cabal of wealthy corporations and the United Nations involved in a fiendish plot to control the world.
Five days a week, online and on more than 60 radio stations nationwide, “The Alex Jones Show,” along with a pair of websites he runs (Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com), serves as the tumultuous showcase for his overactive imagination — a worldview governed by logic-leaping deductions and heedless pronouncements. His website is chock full of apocalyptic headlines and ads for products like “recession-proof coins” and manuals on How to Survive Martial Law in America. On the air, he’s given to stream-of-consciousness rants.
Influenced heavily by the conspiracy-minded John Birch Society, Jones ran unsuccessfully for a Texas House seat in 2000 as a Republican but said he doesn’t follow the platform of either of the two major parties. He has described his own politics as libertarian.
Jones has accused the federal government of involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks, said that the Branch Davidian cultists in Texas were purposely murdered by authorities, claimed that FEMA is secretly building concentration camps for liberty-loving citizens, and issued a series of videos with hair-raising, B horror-film titles. A sampling: “911: The Road to Tyranny,” “Police State 3: Total Enslavement,” “The Masters of Terror: Exposed,” “New World Order: Blueprint of Madmen” and “The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off.”
Although it hardly seems possible, Jones’ fecund imagination now seems to be sprouting even more conspiracy theories than before.
Last year, for example, after Jared Lee Loughner went on his January 2011 rampage in Tucson, Ariz., killing six and wounding U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Jones told Rolling Stone: “This whole thing stinks to high heaven. … My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control operation. The government employs geometric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indirectly manipulate unstable people through the media.”
It’s simply a matter of finding the truth, Jones says. Or something like that.
In August 2011, he featured on Infowars an article that called the Department of Homeland Security’s year-old “If you see something, say something” terrorism-awareness campaign a racist conspiracy to “characterize predominantly white, middle class, politically engaged Americans as domestic extremists.”
The program, which actually encourages people to consider “behavior, rather than appearance” when considering whether to report suspicious activity, entails a series of public service announcements designed to drive home that point. What piqued Jones was a 10-minute PSA in which most of the “terrorists” are white, while the citizens who report their suspicious activities are all minorities. He milked the issue for at least a month. “What do you think of [DHS’] rebranding that the terrorists aren’t Al Qaeda anymore?” he said on his Aug. 18 radio show. “It’s that veteran, it’s that gun owner, it’s that farmer … it’s that white person. Whites are the new Al Qaeda.”
Besides exploiting racial animosities, Jones’s conspiracy theories often appeal to the fears of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.
At the movement’s previous peak in the 1990s, the “black helicopter” was a symbol of its cartoonish insistence that the government would soon be coming after freedom-loving dissidents who knew the truth about the New World Order. Jones gave these fears a 21st century update in an October 2011 online broadcast. He obsessed over news that the sheriff of Montgomery County, Texas, had used a federal grant to buy an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (also known as a drone) called the ShadowHawk. The laptop-controlled, miniature helicopter comes equipped with a powerful zoom camera, infrared heat-seeking optics and crowd-stopping cartridges.
To Jones, this was not simply a police department taking advantage of the latest law enforcement technologies but a glimpse at the insidious machinery agents of the New World Order are deploying in the night skies in advance of martial law. “They’ve got large unmanned drones,” Jones warned. “They’ve got small drones. … And they’ve got million-dollar systems up there flying around with cops in control of them, surveilling you. And now they’re mounting them with ground-penetrating radar that looks right through your wall, while you’re on the toilet, having sex with your wife.”