The Donald Trump campaign is continuing its courtship of Alex Jones, with one senior adviser hailing the leading conspiracy theorist for being "on top" of immigration. Jones and his website Infowars.com believe immigrants are "an invading army under the control of the New World Order and are being used to collapse and destroy the world's economy" through crime, disease, and poverty.
In a February 8 interview with Infowars.com, Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller praised Jones and Infowars for having "been on top of ... the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and on the immigration issue." Miller then repeatedly pitched Trump to Jones' audience, telling them that "if you want to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, if you want to close the border, if you want to protect American jobs and wages, then you have to support Donald J. Trump."
After Infowars reporter Richard Reeves warned that the GOP might try "stacking that delegation" at July's nominating convention in Cleveland with "GOP hardline establishment folks," Miller responded with a get out the vote pitch for Trump.
"The easiest thing to do if we want to have Donald J. Trump be our nominee is to show up and vote tomorrow in New Hampshire and then to vote in South Carolina and all across this country," Miller said. "And that will guarantee, I assure you, that Donald J. Trump will be the Republican nominee."
Reeves responded by urging Jones' audience to "get to your precinct conventions and precinct caucuses 'cause that's the road to Cleveland."
Miller is a former top aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who joined the Trump campaign in January. He worked with Sessions to oppose immigration reform and, according to the Washington Post, "When Sessions and Trump began to build a relationship last year, he asked Miller to work with Trump's campaign as it thought through its immigration position. That experience laid the groundwork for Miller's hire."
Jones is a well-known conspiracy theorist and one of the more extreme media personalities in the country. He believes the government was behind the 9/11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and the mass shootings in Aurora, Sandy Hook and Tucson (among others). He and his website have repeatedly suggested that the San Bernardino shooting was a "false flag." Jones ultimately believes that a cabal of secretive global elites is working behind the scenes to, in the words of one of his films, "exterminate 80% of the world's population, while enabling the elites to live forever with the aid of advanced technology."
Infowars is a cesspool of anti-immigrant conspiracy theories. Jones' Infowars YouTube page contains the following show segment descriptions about immigrants:
Donald Trump and his supporters have repeatedly attempted to win over Jones and his audience. The New Hampshire primary winner appeared on his program in December and praised Jones as having an "amazing" reputation and promised to "not let you down." In a January, Trump called him "a nice guy." Roger Stone, a former paid policy adviser to the Trump campaign who recently launched a pro-Trump super PAC, has regularly appeared on Jones' program to promote Trump's candidacy.
Trump is the only presidential contender who engages with Jones and his fringe ideology. The radio host has been a booster of Trump, saying that "we have to defend him because the ideas he's putting out in general are very good." (Jones has a long relationship with former candidate Rand Paul, who appeared on Jones' show before dropping out.)
From Miller's interview with Alex Jones' Infowars.com:
RICHARD REEVES: Richard Reeves with Infowars.com at the Red Arrow Diner with Steve Miller. What's your position with the Trump campaign, again?
MILLER: I'm the senior policy adviser.
REEVES: So as senior policy adviser, what are you really looking -- what are the top issues that you're working on?
MILLER: Well two of the biggest ones are trade and immigration and that's a lot of what this election comes down to. And of course, Alex Jones and Infowars have been on top of this for a long time, both on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and on the immigration issue and all of the different facets of it. So it's really great to be talking with you today. But my short message for your audience would be that if you want to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, if you want to close the border, if you want to protect American jobs and wages, then you have to support Donald J. Trump. He's the only person who's been clear and consistent and firm on these issues and who isn't relying on large special interests and donors.
REEVES: Well he clearly does appear to be the most serious candidate on that issue and I'm convinced that he will actually get Mexico to even pay for the wall as well, right?
MILLER: There's no doubt that he will.
MILLER: The easiest thing to do if we want to have Donald J. Trump be our nominee is to show up and vote tomorrow in New Hampshire and then to vote in South Carolina and all across this country and that will guarantee, I assure you, that Donald J. Trump will be the Republican nominee and millions and millions of people are joining this movement and it's going to make truly make America great again.
REEVES: And beyond that folks, get to your precinct conventions and precinct caucuses 'cause that's the road to Cleveland. Steve Miller, thank you so much.
MILLER: Thank you, great to be here.
Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump's campaign, especially after National Review's "Against Trump" issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump's candidacy in its tracks. On the other are conservatives who are lauding Trump's candidacy, even if they have not officially endorsed him. Media Matters breaks down exactly who is on which side (click for the full-sized image):
From the January 14 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
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From the January 13 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:
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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul appeared on the program of leading conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to ask viewers to "call the Republican National Committee" and tell them "it's not fair to exclude me from the debate."
Fox Business announced earlier this week that Paul would not be included in January 14's main Republican primary debate. Paul accused "the establishment in the Republican Party" for being responsible for his exclusion.
During a January 13 interview with Paul, Jones asked what his fans could do "to get you in that debate." Paul responded by asking Jones' audience "to call the Republican National Committee and tell Reince Priebus that they need to allow all voices to be heard in the debate and that it's not fair to exclude me from the debate." Paul also promoted his campaign website and Facebook account if "people want to make phone calls for us ... if people want to donate ... if people want to fly up to Iowa or New Hampshire."
Jones is a well-known conspiracy theorist and one of the more extreme media personalities in the country. He believes the government was behind the 9/11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and the mass shootings in Aurora, Sandy Hook and Tucson (among others). He recently suggested the San Bernardino shooting was a "false flag." Jones ultimately believes that a cabal of secretive global elites is working behind the scenes to, in the words of one of his films, "exterminate 80% of the world's population, while enabling the elites to live forever with the aid of advanced technology."
During the interview, Jones told Paul he would make "the perfect president." At one point, Jones suggested Paul would be a better president than Sen. Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, prompting Paul to attack Trump's conservative credentials. Jones previously hosted Trump, where the two heavily praised each other.
As Media Matters documented, Paul previously credited Jones for being a vital part of his 2010 Senate campaign. Jones endorsed Paul, turned out followers to his events, and partnered with Paul for fundraising, at one point crashing his website. Since Paul's election to the Senate, Jones has continued to serve as a key Paul booster, including endorsing him for 2016.
In April 2015, Paul attempted to downplay his alliance with Jones and had recently been missing as a guest on the program. But with the primaries approaching, and his campaign struggling, Paul appears to have re-embraced the leading conspiracy theorist.
Listen to Paul's full appearance here:
The Washington Post highlighted how Republican presidential candidates "are staying mum as an armed group has taken over part" of the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters in Oregon, even those candidates who previously championed the same cause as the protesters by criticizing federal land ownership.
On January 2, an estimated 300 protesters -- many of them armed -- took to the streets of Burns, Oregon and some eventually occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters, to protest the prosecution of ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son, Steven who were convicted on federal arson charges. The armed protesters claim to be "patriots" fighting against the "tyranny" of the federal government and plan to occupy the Refuge for "years."
Leading the protesters are three sons of Cliven Bundy who back in 2014 led a standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over a dispute about 20 years of unpaid cattle grazing fees. During one of his daily press conference, Bundy suggested that Black Americans might be "better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things." Bundy has long been a darling of right-wing media, who launched him onto the national stage in 2014 and touted him as a defender of the Constitution. Fox News' Sean Hannity praised Bundy for having the "faith and courage" "to fight" against the government during one of the rancher's frequent appearances on the show. Infowars' Alex Jones likened Bundy to Paul Revere for "telling folks we're being overrun by an out of control tyranny." And Fox's Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano told Bill O'Reilly that Bundy "comes off looking like an American hero" in his armed standoff with the government.
In a January 3 article, Katie Zezima and David Weigel noted that the armed group in Oregon claims to be protesting over "constitutional rights, allegations of federal government overreach and individual liberties," the same issues that "have come to the fore in the GOP primary race." Meanwhile, Zezima and Weigel noticed "relative quiet from some more conservative Republican presidential candidates who had previously called for the government to release more of the land it owns." In particular, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) argued during the 2014 Bundy standoff that "an important principle was at stake":
Republican presidential candidates are staying mum as an armed group has taken over part of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon -- even those who supported the father of at least one of the group's leaders, who had his own standoff with the government in 2014, and have called for limits on federal control over Western land.
Some of the issues involved in the standoff -- constitutional rights, allegations of federal government overreach and individual liberties -- have come to the fore in the GOP primary race. And as Western states are poised to play a larger role in the contest, so has the issue of property rights in a region where the federal government controls about half of the land.
But few candidates seemed willing to wade into any of these issues Sunday as the leaders of the group said they are standing up against government overreach and are prepared to remain there for "as long as it takes." The group said it is protesting the case of two Oregon ranchers who were convicted of arson in 2012 and are scheduled to report to federal prisonMonday. The ranchers were convicted on a broad terrorism charge. Many ranchers and land users in the West lease public land.
The effort is being led by at least one son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who had an armed standoff with the government in 2014 over land rights. Bundy was criticized for making racially charged remarks, leading many politicians to back away from him.
Those willing to comment on the Oregon situation quickly ruled it out of bounds.
"I know a good federal compound for Bundy and his gang: a U.S. penitentiary," tweeted John Weaver, a senior strategist for the campaign of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
But there was relative quiet from some more conservative Republican presidential candidates who had previously called for the government to release more of the land it owns. The issue has become a larger one in the GOP primary contest as states such as Colorado, Idaho and Nevada may play a bigger role in determining a nominee in a large, fractured field.
In June, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) campaigned across Nevada calling for federal land to be transferred to states in the West.
"I understand the government owns a little bit of your land out here," Paul said in Reno. "Maybe we can rearrange that so the federal government is out of your hair."
He also met with Bundy after a campaign stop in Mesquite, Nev., something Paul disputes the details of. Bundy told The Washington Post that he and Paul spoke for 15 to 20 minutes, mostly about land rights. Bundy said members of his family were also present.
"I did get to visit with him for several minutes in private," Bundy said.
Paul did not address the standoff Sunday.
Legislators in Western states, in coordination with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, had campaigned unsuccessfully for the federal land to be sold. In his 2015 memoir "A Time for Truth," Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) described how he and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) bonded over the issue before Cruz ran for the Senate.
"There is no reason for the federal government to own huge portions of any state," Cruz recalled. "Mike pointed out to me that the value of all that federal land was roughly $14 trillion. At the time, the national debt also happened to be $14 trillion. That suggested to us an obvious and elegant solution for eliminating the debt and moving as much land as possible -- other than national parks -- into private hands."
Cruz's campaign did not comment Sunday.
In 2014, during the Bundy ranch standoff, Paul and Cruz initially argued that an important principle was at stake. Candidates Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump also have expressed sympathy or support for Bundy.
"We have seen liberty under assault from a federal government that seems hell-bent on expanding its authority over every aspect of our lives," Cruz told a conservative radio host. "It is in that context that people are viewing this battle with the federal government. We should have a federal government protecting the liberty of the citizens, not using the jackboot of authoritarianism to come against the citizens."
Paul, meanwhile, dismissed the "name calling" of Democrats who had tagged Bundy a "domestic terrorist" and said in a Fox News Channel interview that the land rights issue needed to be debated.
"There is a legitimate constitutional question here about whether the state should be in charge of endangered species or whether the federal government should be," he said.
That debate effectively paused after Bundy, who had been holding regular news conferences at the standoff site, suggested that black people had been freer as slaves than as citizens in the age of the welfare state. But within a year, after big Republican gains in the midterm elections, Bundy emerged as a lobbyist for a Nevada bill to begin studying the sale of land.Meanwhile, the issue remained a way for libertarian-friendly candidates such as Paul to appeal to Western caucus states.
"I think the more private ownership, the better," Paul told Bloomberg News last year. "Initially, when the West was being settled, it was a big revenue raiser. The last time we had no national debt was like 1835, and a big reason was the sale of land in the West."
This post has been updated for clarity.
The Washington Post's Paul Farhi explained how Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has pushed right-wing conspiracy theories into mainstream media aided by right-wing fringe sites.
In a December 11 article, Paul Farhi explained that Donald Trump is able to legitimize his misinformation by using "a small fringe" of right-wing "alternative" media, like Alex Jones' Infowars to promote and inflate right-wing conspiracy theories. Farhi added that the right-wing "alternative" media "injects its ideas into the mainstream by gaining the attention of sources broadly popular among conservatives, such as Fox News and the Drudge Report":
Once a small fringe, this "alternative" information ecosystem now includes websites, talk-radio programs, newsletters, conferences and "citizen journalists" who promote, debate and inflate such questionable causes as vaccine denial, climate-change skepticism , and the supposedly imminent imposition of sharia law in America. The fringe nowadays often injects its ideas into the mainstream by gaining the attention of sources broadly popular among conservatives, such as Fox News and the Drudge Report, which devoted attention to rumors that the Operation Jade Helm military exercises last summer in the southwest U.S. were a prelude to a crackdown on civil liberties.
"There's an information-age tsunami out there that just keeps getting bigger and bigger," said Steve Smith, a veteran newspaper editor who now teaches journalism at the University of Idaho. "When you combine this digital tsunami with the loss of quality and quantity in American journalism [due to cutbacks and economic woes] over the years . . . journalists just don't have the ability to keep up once a false narrative gains speed."
At the same time, Trump has been the most aggressive in the Republican field in denouncing the mainstream media, the erstwhile arbiter of fact. Many of his condemnations of mainstream reporters have been echoed by Trump's army of Twitter followers and supportive websites, such as the conservative Breitbart.com.
Trump, in turn, cites his Twitter followers as the source for some of his own non-facts, such as his recent claim that African Americans killed 81 percent of white homicide victims (the actual number is closer to 15 percent, according to Factcheck.org). He defended his position of not allowing Muslims to enter the United States by citing a poll conducted by Center for Security Policy, a think tank known for a variety of conspiracy theories, such as that members of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the Obama administration. The result is a kind of self-reinforcing information loop in which Trump introduces some inaccurate statement, is called on it by the news media, which is then denounced by Trump for its supposed bias against him.
Trump's most famously false contention, of course, was his long, pre-campaign embrace of "birtherism," the notion that President Obama wasn't born on American soil and is therefore ineligible to be president. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, including a birth certificate issued in Hawaii and a contemporaneous newspaper birth announcement, birther sites -- from Birthers.org to Obamabirthbook.com -- are strewn across the Internet, actively promoting a debunked thesis.
During an appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' program, Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended Donald Trump's "totally reasonable and rational" anti-Muslim immigration plan and said the media's criticism of it makes him want to donate to Trump's campaign. Carlson also complained that people overlook all the "bad and really troubling" things non-European immigrants have done to the country.
Carlson, who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, appeared on the December 9 edition of The Alex Jones Show to discuss Trump's candidacy and the controversy over his plan "for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Jones is a leading conspiracy theorist who believes the government was behind 9/11 and several other catastrophes. Trump recently appeared on Jones' program and praised Jones and his "amazing" reputation.
Carlson began by complaining that "the worst thing about Trump is the media reaction to him, which is so hyperventilating and self-righteous. It's merely an excuse for reporters to explain that they're morally superior to Donald Trump ... it's disgusting." Carlson continued that watching negative coverage of Trump makes him "feel like sending him money":
CARLSON: There are things about Trump that I don't agree with, and there are certainly things about his rhetoric that I think ought to be more precise, that he ought to explain better. But none of that really compares in emotional impact to the feeling I get watching the press whine about him and declare him dangerous. Every time I hear that I feel like sending him money.
JONES: I agree with you.
Carlson defended Trump's proposal for a ban on Muslim immigration as a "totally reasonable and rational conclusion to reach" because "we don't want to be Sweden or Belgium or France":
Carlson proceeded to attack non-European immigration to the country. While he said we "pretend it's all good because we get better restaurants and cheap servants," immigrants in recent decades have "made the country less cohesive and more divided," hurt the education system and economy, and become Democrats:
CARLSON: They get away with it politically because they change the composition of the electorate over time. That's exactly, as you know, what's happened since 1965 when immigration law changed to favor people from outside of Europe. And there are probably some good things about that -- there are also some bad things about it, which we never mention. We lie about it and pretend it's all good because we get better restaurants and cheap servants, but the truth is it was a massive boon for the Democratic Party because the overwhelming majority of those immigrants in the last 50 years have become Democrats and stayed Democrats. But it has made the country less cohesive and more divided, and there have been all kinds of other unattractive effects of it. It's affected our education system, it's affected our economy in ways that are bad and really troubling over the long term.
Jones also compared Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, to a hippo, which elicited laughs from Carlson. Jones suggested Abedin was in a same-sex relationship with Clinton. Carlson responded by attacking Abedin as being divisive and irresponsible for her recent criticisms of Trump.
Carlson is a repeat guest on The Alex Jones Show. He previously suggested the Obama administration is engaging in "Nazi stuff" by using ethnic politics, and wants to confiscate all the country's firearms and put people "in jail for even having them."
MSNBC host Chris Hayes called out Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for repeating a conspiracy theory that originated from an outrageous article out of Alex Jones' far right Infowars site. The article claimed that an imam in Jerusalem encouraged followers to breed with Europeans in order to "conquer their countries."
On the December 9 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes, Hayes interviewed Rep. King who stoked fears about Muslim immigrants coming to the U.S. King argued Muslim immigrants are unwilling to assimilate and referenced a story about an imam in Jerusalem who encouraged Muslim migrants to "go into Western Europe, build your enclaves there, breed their women, and do not associate or assimilate into the boarder society."
Later in the show, Hayes pointed out that King's anecdote about the imam who encouraged refugees to "breed" with European women in order to "infiltrate" European society originated from conservative conspiracy website Infowars. Hayes stated Infowars is headed by Alex Jones "who claims the U.S. government carried 9/11 and the Boston marathon bombing."
CHRIS HAYES (HOST): We should note in my interview with Congressman Steve King, he referenced an Imam who allegedly encouraged migrants to quote "breed with Europeans" as some kind of infiltration invasion tactic. That report originated from InfoWars, a website run by Alex Jones, who Southern Poverty Law Center dubs the most prolific conspiracy theorist in America and who claims the U.S. government carried out 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Alex Jones' Infowars has a history of pushing baseless conspiracy theories. Recently the site claimed the San Bernardino shooting was a government conspiracy "geared to elicit widespread public outrage." The site has also posted articles claiming 9/11 was perpetrated by government officials in the U.S. And Jones himself has published articles arguing the "Pope is a part of the globalist plan to destroy the world and usher in a one-world government."
From the December 3 edition of Genesis Communication Network's The Alex Jones Show:
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From the December 3 edition of Genesis Communication Network's The Alex Jones Show:
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Right-wing radio host Alex Jones is suggesting that a mass shooting that claimed at least 14 lives in San Bernardino, California "appears to be geared to elicit widespread public outrage." Jones pushed the conspiracy theory only a few hours after an interview with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, where the candidate praised Jones' "amazing" reputation.
Jones and his website frequently promote far right-wing conspiracy theories arguing that high-profile mass shootings and other tragic events are staged by the government. He has claimed that both the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting and Aurora, Colorado, movie theater mass shooting were "staged."
A December 2 Infowars article, which was promoted by Jones on his personal Facebook page, suggested that the shooting as actually a staged attack, claiming that "Several days before the shooting there was an active shooter drill held in neighboring Victorville, California," and, "The shooting occurred hours after House Republicans blocked debate on a bill to prevent people on the government's no-fly list from exercising their Second Amendment right."
Jones' Facebook page:
Hours before news broke of the shooting, Jones, who is considered to be the founder of the 9/11 Truther conspiracy theory movement, hosted GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on his radio show.
During the appearance, Trump praised Jones as having an "amazing" reputation and promised, "I will not let you down," while Jones claimed 90 percent of his listeners are Trump supporters and said that the way in which Trump is conducting his presidential campaign is "George Washington level."
From the December 2 edition of Genesis Communication Network's The Alex Jones Show:
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on Alex Jones' program, where Trump praised Jones as having an "amazing" reputation and promised, "I will not let you down." Jones is America's leading conspiracy theorist -- he believes the government was behind 9-11 and several other catastrophes.
Jones' website Infowars.com has called him "one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement," which believes the government was behind the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Jones has also pushed conspiracy theories about the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Boston Marathon bombing, and several mass shootings.
Jones and Trump heavily praised each other during the December 2 interview. Jones claimed Trump has been "vindicated" about his false 9-11 U.S. Muslims celebration claim, said "90 percent" of his audience supports Trump, and told the candidate he's "shown your knowledge of geopolitical systems." Jones went on to say that Trump is "a true maverick," and "what you're doing is epic. It's George Washington level." Trump returned the favor, telling Jones: "Your reputation's amazing. I will not let you down."
Jones concluded the interview by saying to Trump, "You will be attacked for coming on. We know you know that. Thank you."
Here is more about Jones and how he's earned his "amazing" reputation.
Alex Jones is America's leading conspiracy theorist.
Immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, by his own account, Jones "went on the air and said, 'Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.'" He believes that "the official story" of 9/11 is "a fable" and "the only explanation" for 9/11 is that it was an "inside job."
The Anti-Defamation League wrote that "Jones may currently well be the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the United States" and "reached prominence in the years after the 9/11 terror attacks, as he became one of the most energetic of the 'truthers,' the conspiracy theorists who believe that the 9/11 attacks were an 'inside job' by the U.S. government." The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Jones is "almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America."
In addition to his 9/11 conspiracies, Jones has promoted conspiracies about:
Space Shuttle Columbia. Jones claimed that "globalists" were involved in the 2003 disaster, stating on his website: "I said that there was a very good chance that the globalists would do something horrible concerning the latest Colombia mission. Understand, the psychological warfare technicians do not even need to publicly blame Iraq for the Columbia disaster. It will serve as a distraction in the global press during the final weeks of war preparation in the gulf. It Will Serve The Dual Purpose Of Unifying The Country Behind President Bush as he grandstands."
New World Order's Extermination Plans. Jones believes that a New World Order (NWO) of secretive global elites is working behind the scenes to rule the world through an authoritarian government. A summary of the Jones film ENDGAME explains that the NWO plans to "exterminate 80% of the world's population, while enabling the elites to live forever with the aid of advanced technology."
Aurora And Sandy Hook Shootings. In 2013, Jones said the two mass shootings were staged: "You saw them stage Fast and Furious. Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming. And that's why I'm so desperate and freaked out. This is not fun, you know, getting up here telling you this. Somebody's got to tell you the truth."
2011 Tucson Shooting. After Jared Lee Loughner murdered six people, and wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Jones told Rolling Stone: "The whole thing stinks to high heaven ... This kid Loughner disappeared for days at a time before the shooting? 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. They implanted the idea in his head by repeatedly asking, 'Is Giffords in danger?'"
Secret FEMA Camps. Jones sells a DVD titled, Police State 4: The Rise Of FEMA, which claims that "Jones conclusively proves the existence of a secret network of FEMA camps, now being expanded nationwide. The military-industrial complex is transforming our once free nation into a giant prison camp."
The Atlantic pushed back against remarks from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other Republican candidates at Fox Business' presidential debate that the United States should bring back the gold standard, noting "economists agree that the gold standard is a bad idea."
Right-wing media personalities like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones, who have profited greatly from advertisers selling gold and silver, have pushed for a return to the gold standard for years against the opposition of nearly all economists and monetary policy experts. At Fox Business' Republican presidential debate on November 10, Ted Cruz and other GOP presidential candidates once again advocated for reinstituting the gold standard. The New Republic called Cruz's gold standard proposal "particularly reckless," and ThinkProgress noted Cruz's support for a gold-based money supply would leave the "entire economy exposed to catastrophe" after the senator proposed a return to the gold standard during the October 28 presidential debate on CNBC.
On November 11, The Atlantic addressed many of these critiques, pointing out the volatility a gold standard would create and how the economic consensus is decidedly against returning to this outdated form of monetary policy. The article also noted Cruz's support for gold may be influenced by the millions of dollars gold standard supporter Robert Mercer has donated to super PACs supporting his presidential campaign (emphasis added):
During Tuesday night's Republican debate a familiar topic resurfaced to the dismay of most economists: the case for the gold standard.
Senator Ted Cruz criticized the Fed's ability to manipulate monetary policy (a common refrain among gold-standard advocates) saying, "Instead of adjusting monetary policy according to whims and getting it wrong over and over again and causing booms and busts, what the Fed should be doing is ... keeping our money tied to a stable level of gold
These conversations may be less an attempt to actually convince rivals, lawmakers, or voters that the gold standard is sound fiscal policy, and more about displaying commitment to conservative ideals, wooing big donors, and demonstrating a substantial disdain for current monetary policies.
In general, economists agree that the gold standard is a bad idea. Pegging the dollar to the metal is, in theory, supposed to offer long-term rate stability. But in practice, that hasn't usually worked out. In the short term, linking dollars to gold quantities can produce a currency that's pretty volatile.
The conversations about gold in recent years are perhaps less about the belief that it's actually smart policy and more about condemning and rejecting the power of the government, through the Federal Reserve, to control the printing of money and the setting of interest rates. For some conservatives these powers stand in direct opposition to their preference for small government and their conception of free-market capitalism. Some also see the ability to print money, which can devalue existing dollars, as a form of taxation, another violation of Republican beliefs.
The gold-standard advocates are not only politicians. They include a small but vocal (and rich) minority of Wall Streeters and hedge funders still angry about the Fed's low-interest rate (read: low yields) put in place during the 2008 crisis and lasting until today. This minority is an influential one, especially when it comes to political campaigns, because of its ability to drum up large sums of money. For example, the hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer, who favors the gold standard, donated millions to four super PACs affiliated with Cruz's campaign.
Pegging money to gold ounces offers no such protection, and in fact could be quite dangerous. While the commodity has long been considered valuable, it isn't immune to declines. The price has fluctuated significantly over the years, and hit a five-year low in July. As Matthew O'Brien noted in a 2012 article in The Atlantic, the ability to print money under a gold standard relies on how much gold can be found at any given time. That could create an economic disaster that has little to do with actual economic trends. With an economy that's just starting to show some signs of life after the recession, that's a problem the country certainly doesn't need.