When corporate media fall short, fantasy fills the gap
From out of the AM radio static, from out of the Internet ether, comes a voice like gravel, a bulldog barking out warnings to a nation under siege. This Austin, Texas-based “infowarrior” shouts through the streets, up to the fat cat drones and clones of the International Banker’s Cartel lodged deep in the overstuffed leather chairs of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve, Capitol Hill. His voice booming and crackling through the New World Order halls of power in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a tireless seeker of the TRUTH against a blossoming police state and One World Government—this is Alex Jones.
Jones, radio and Internet talkshow host of the Alex Jones Show, documentarian, author and producer of websites like Infowars and Prison Planet, is the undisputed heavyweight king of conspiracy theory coverage, a niche he has successfully carved out in an enabling corporate media environment.
Jones’ coverage of the state of the nation revolves around one central theory: Agents of the New World Order, operating through several private think tanks and policy development groups (the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group), the United Nations and treasonous enclaves within the federal government (particularly the Treasury, Federal Reserve and FEMA), are working to establish a One World Government by engineering the total collapse of the American republic and the imposition of a police state.
This message reaches millions of listeners worldwide, through 68 AM, FM and satellite radio stations that either broadcast the weekday Alex Jones Show or carry the two-hour weekend edition. While Jones is a veteran radio broadcaster, he has become especially adept at propagating his message of impending doom via the Internet. Jones calls on his followers to spread his films and links to his stories lest they should disappear forever, claiming that corporations such as Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, are actively blocking and censoring access to his websites and documentaries.
“We’re winning the infowar and they’re cheating!” proclaimed Jones in an Internet censorship advisory video posted on YouTube (8/7/08).
As noted by David Knowles of AOLNews (10/6/10), such tactics boost his websites’ Google rankings and draw more readers and viewers to his content; Jones’ documentary, The Obama Deception—with well over 8 million views through YouTube alone—is one of the top-viewed films through Google Video. The irony of using YouTube to attack YouTube in order to boost views on YouTube is apparently lost on his viewers; the Orwellian puppetmasters at Google seem to have created the ideal platform for Jones’ “infowar.”
According to Heidi Beirich, director of research and special projects at the hate group-monitoring Southern Poverty Law Center and contributing editor of the group’s Intelligence Report, Jones is a galvanizing force in the complex of domestic “militias” and other extremist groups the SPLC calls the “Patriot Movement.”
“This guy is conspiracy central,” Beirich says of Jones. “He’s had a hand in promoting every kooky anti-government theory I can think of: The economy is gonna crater, martial law is coming, Obama’s gonna steal your guns—you name it, he’s involved in it.”
Although Jones did not respond to multiple requests for comment, he regularly fires back at his detractors, SPLC chief among them. SPLC says Jones is a dangerous media “enabler” of potentially violent fringe groups; Jones says SPLC is instrumental in drafting “Patriot” domestic terrorist watch lists for the Department of Homeland Security.
Like many of Jones’ conspiratorial assertions, there is a kernel of truth buried in this claim. According to Beirich, the single largest bloc of subscribers to SPLC’s Intelligence Report, a quarterly publication with approximately 50,000 subscribers, are law enforcement personnel.
However, says Beirich, it’s not true that “there is some secret plan where we work behind closed doors with the FBI…. We provide information; we provide [Intelligence Report] to the Department of Homeland Security, we provide them to anybody—to you, whoever.”
Another kernel of truth: On July 5, 1987, a Miami Herald article on the covert activities of Lt. Col. Oliver North at the National Security Council reported that a “secret contingency plan” had been drafted by FEMA under North’s guidance.
According to the Herald, the plan “called for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA, appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law during a national crisis.”
In Jones’ hands, this true and troublesome history is transformed into regular hyperbolic warnings that martial law is set to be imposed at any moment, with federal agents hunting down patriotic Americans for internment in FEMA-operated concentration camps which have been established clandestinely nationwide.
One recent story Jones and allied media sources point to as definitive proof of the New World Order’s coming clampdown is the attempted “mercenary takeover” of the sleepy town of Hardin, Montana.
On September 10, 2009, the economic development branch of the Hardin government announced that it had signed a 10-year contract with a purported private paramilitary group known as the American Private Police Force (APPF) to operate a vacant private jail on the outskirts of the town.
When APPF personnel arrived in Hardin on September 23, driving black Mercedes SUVs with “City of Hardin Police Department” decals bearing the double-headed eagle crest of Montenegro, wild rumors began to circulate through Internet conspiracy circles that Obama had handpicked the small town for a trial run in martial law and forced H1N1 vaccinations at the hands of foreign mercenaries.
On September 29, Jones interviewed fellow conspiracy journalist Steve Quayle and publicized an anonymous email that a Hardin resident had allegedly sent to Quayle describing a town under siege by machine gun-toting mercenaries. Jones then hopped a plane and commenced live broadcasts from Hardin that spanned the better part of a week in early October.
Less than a week after Jones’ coverage blitz, APPF pulled out amid allegations that the whole scenario was the work of a California conman, Montenegro-born Michael Hilton, out to defraud the town and California-based investors in the venture.
Indeed, details of Hilton’s past fraud convictions, APPF’s lack of history as any sort of defense contractor and other facts casting a dubious light on the legitimacy of the firm had been provided to the local and national press by a watchdog group that monitors private prison development around the county, the Private Corrections Working Group (PCWG), long before Jones’ arrival in Hardin.
According to PCWG field organizer and researcher Frank Smith—who, along with PCWG vice president and Prison Legal News associate editor Alex Friedmann (Prison Legal News, 12/09) and the local AP bureau (10/1/09), had broken the story of Hilton’s shady past—the local media had been so uninterested that the situation rapidly deteriorated into a conspiracy free-for-all. (The main local reporter covering the story, the Billings Gazette’s Becky Shay, subsequently took a job as APPF’s spokesperson.) The resultant information vacuum, says Smith, was ideal fodder for Jones’ vision of the American “red dawn.”
Smith says he is amazed to see that even after the thorough debunking of the whole APPF/Hardin scenario, Jones and other conspiracy theorists still reference the case as proof of a sinister New World Order plot—perhaps most notably with the March 2010 release of Jones’ film Police State 4: The Rise of FEMA, which portrays the Hardin debacle as a small town’s victory over the ever-present menace of the FEMA concentration camp plot.
“The subsequent bullshit that came up, with the vaccines, the gates to the city, the Hardin police force…. The press was so lax that Alex Jones and the Steve Quayles could take the story over,” said Smith. “It was Area 51. It was aliens hidden from us, evidence of flying saucers. If the press had been on their toes, the whole thing would have been over in one day.”
Beau Hodai is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Extra!.
Selling Doom—but Really Selling Gold
One of the pillars of the reality subscribed to by Alex Jones is that the nation, through the machinations of the Federal Reserve and the Department of the Treasury, is on the brink of a total takeover by the “International Banker’s Cartel.”
In this narrative, American paper money is a “fiat currency” valued and devalued at the whim of the cartel, with the goal of plunging the economy and population into turmoil—necessary steps on the path to enslavement under martial law.
Smart money, Jones declares, is in gold.
Jones’ radio show and Internet productions are distributed through Minnesota-based Genesis Communications Network (GCN), owned by Ted Anderson. Jones’ primary radio and Internet sponsor is Minnesota-based Midas Resources, a precious metals brokerage specializing in gold and silver coins—also owned by Ted Anderson.
In addition to sharing the same owner, Midas and GCN also share the same physical address; in fact, according to Anderson, GCN is essentially the advertising arm of Midas.
Midas Resources was formed in 1996 by Anderson, already a 17-year veteran of the precious metals business, who incorporated GCN the following year. The leap to radio, he says, was a natural progression.
“They actually work hand-in-hand,” said Anderson. “One fits like a glove. They’re partnership-type businesses; Midas Resources needs customers, Genesis Communications Network needs sponsors.”
Jones hosts Anderson on his show regularly to discuss the value of gold—though, says Anderson, the fact that Jones is such an ardent supporter of gold is incidental. According to Anderson, it is fair to characterize his relationship with Jones as symbiotic.
“Midas advertises and was producing programming before Genesis was ever incorporated,” said Anderson. “And then it just became a much better idea to have a talk radio network where show hosts could come and produce the shows.”
With the birth of that idea, Anderson approached Jones and offered him a job with the newly formed GCN: “We were sponsoring his show over at [Austin’s] KJFK [radio]… Then when we opened up the Genesis Communications Network, we invited Alex to do a national show here.”
As for the resultant union, by all appearances the Alex Jones Show has risen to the status of GCN flagship—promoted by GCN almost as heavily as Midas Resources.
“I would say that Alex Jones is more of a variety show that covers politics and is probably heavily into conspiracy,” said Anderson, describing Jones as a leader in his field. “I’d say politics, economics and conspiracy—he really doesn’t stick to one subject. Alex Jones is sort of just Alex Jones.”