If you've tuned into the news today, you've likely witnessed our intrepid media excitedly reporting on the latest hugely important celebrity gossip. During a call to his friend Alex Jones' radio show yesterday, Charlie Sheen uncorked yet another bizarre rant, leading CBS to place his sitcom Two and a Half Men on hiatus.
While I understand that things like Sheen's rant are catnip for the media, outlets have been mainstreaming fringe conspiracy theorist Jones in their rush to report on Sheen's latest outburst.
For example, here's Jones' appearance on NBC's Today this morning. If you weren't aware that he believes, for example, that the plastic lining of juice boxes are part of a government plot to make people gay, nothing about this segment would lead you to think he is anything other than a "nationally syndicated" radio host who apparently has exciting interviews with unhinged celebrities:
Just a reminder as outlets scurry to talk with Jones about the Sheen interview: You should really let your audience know that Jones is absolutely nuts. Like other conspiracy theorists (such as Glenn Beck), Jones thrives on selling supposedly exclusive access to information that most people are too blind to see.
Fox Nation today posted an article from Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet.com website, entitled "Obama's Blocking of New Power Plants Triggers Nationwide Blackouts?"
As Kate Galbraith reported yesterday in the Texas Tribune, the rolling blackouts throughout Texas earlier this week were primarily caused by problems with the power plants from the extremely cold weather -- not a government conspiracy:
Initially, it appears, some coal plants went offline due to cold-weather problems, taking a large chunk of electricity out of the grid. Luminant, a major power-generation company, confirmed that its two coal units at the Oak Grove plant in Robertson County failed, as did two units at a coal plant in Milam County. "We are in various stages of start-up and operation for that group," Allan Koenig, a Luminant spokesman, said via e-mail. Three of these four units only began operating in the last few years; Fraser, who chairs the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, noted that they had new emissions-control technologies, and said one question was how those technologies had handled the cold.
Dave Knox, a spokesman for NRG, another power company, said that a cold-weather problem also caused a shut-down of its Limestone coal plant near Jewitt, Texas. The problem occurred yesterday, albeit after the early-morning crisis, and the plant returned to operating early this morning.
Natural gas plants were hastily turned on to make up for the coal-plant failures. But, Fraser said, some power cuts affected some stations for compressing natural gas -- so without power they couldn't pump gas, causing some gas power plants to go offline. In addition, rules regarding "curtailment" of natural gas -- who gets first dibs on gas when gas supplies are tight -- were last revised in 1972, Fraser said, leaving some power plants at risk of losing out on supplies.
Fox Nation is just the latest Fox entity to mainstream Jones. Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano previously revealed himself as a 9-11 Truther on Alex Jones' radio show in November 2010. Napolitano has long been friendly with Alex Jones during his employment with Fox. Alex Jones himself is best known for his wild conspiracy theories, and was cited as an inspiration by alleged would-be assassin Byron Williams last year.
During the January 25 and January 19 editions of Fox News' Glenn Beck, the following ad was aired:
Midas Resources, as the name implies and the ad makes clear, is a dealer of gold and other precious metals. And while it's not unusual these days for Beck's program to be sponsored (almost exclusively) by gold sellers, this ad stands apart. The book Midas Resources president Ted Anderson encourages you to buy with offers of free silver dollars is a wildly conspiratorial tome written by a New World Order conspiracy theorist and 9-11 truther.
The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve is an obscure book authored by G. Edward Griffin, and forms the basis of much of the conspiratorial fearmongering about the Federal Reserve. According to and April 5, 2006, East Bay Express (Oakland, CA) article [accessed via Nexis]:
Sometime in the last few years Johnson and Heineman began reading about mortgage elimination programs on the Internet. Such schemes aren't just a way to make money; they're a longtime staple for conspiracy theorists who claim the American monetary system is based on a massive fraud perpetrated by a cabal of bankers. The godfather of this movement is G. Edward Griffin, the founder of American Media, a Southern California company that distributes books and videos about conspiracies ranging from the banking system, to the September 11 attacks to the secret society Skull & Bones. In the early 1990s Griffin published The Creature from Jekyll Island, the movement's bible, in which he claimed that ever since the United States replaced the gold standard with paper money, the country has been plagued by inflation, while banking elites print money out of thin air to secretly enrich themselves.
Griffin, in addition to spinning conspiracy theories about the Fed, is also a 9-11 truther and has written extensively about the U.S. government's "facilitation" of the attacks. In April 2008, Griffin appeared on the radio program of conspiracist Alex Jones and claimed that he predicted just days after 9-11 that "the FBI and the intelligence agencies of the federal government had advance knowledge of this attack but did nothing to stop it," and that he was proven right. He also is -- or, at least, was -- a member of the ultra-right wing John Birch Society. He wrote a 1970 pamphlet entitled "This is the John Birch Society: An Invitation to Join," and a 1975 book entitled The Life and Words of Robert Welch: Founder of the John Birch Society.
Speaking of Alex Jones, who also subscribes to 9-11 trutherism, as well as New World Order paranoia and countless other conspiracies, his radio program is syndicated by The Genesis Communications Network, of which Midas Resources' Ted Anderson is the president and CEO. Anderson has appeared on Jones' show several times to hawk gold.
Glenn Beck "now sounds almost identical to" leading fringe conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, according to Jones' website.
In a December 10 article, PrisonPlanet.com's Paul Joseph Watson wrote, "Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Should we be elated or alarmed that Fox News host Glenn Beck now sounds almost identical to Alex Jones? Earlier this week on his television program, Beck talked about Pentagon war games which featured National Guard soldiers training to take on protesters holding signs with the words 'FOOD NOW' scrawled on them." PrisonPlanet.com added that "Beck is on the verge of going head to head with the same military-industrial complex that will enforce any martial law scenario, the same entity that funds and controls the corporate media which provides Beck with his platform."
Jones has been criticized by groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League, which wrote that he "may currently well be the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the United States." The ADL added:
Jones's own favorite conspiracies tend to converge on the following points:
*There is a conspiracy by malevolent globalists to take over the world and institute a "New World Order" with high-tech slavery;
*In the United States, conspiratorial figures such as "international bankers" and entities ranging from the Federal Reserve to the Council on Foreign Relations to the Bilderberg Group are engaged in a variety of strategies to take over (or extend their hold over) the government and to strip Americans of their rights, especially their rights to free speech and to own firearms;
*Some sort of final conspiratorial takeover of America is imminent, including a declaration of martial law and the incarceration of American citizens in FEMA-run concentration camps.
As Media Matters has documented, Beck has increasingly echoed Jones when it comes to the imposition of a global government and "New World Order," opposition to the Federal Reserve, and attacks on Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jones, for his part, has said that "my research, my ideas, are having such an effect through" Beck. Jones has also said that Beck is talking "about things that 15 years ago I was called a lunatic for."
Beck's go-to guest host, by the way, is Andrew Napolitano, who recently revealed his belief in 9-11 conspiracy theories -- a pet cause for Jones, who describes himself as "one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement." Napolitano has repeatedly praised Jones and said he's "trying to keep up with you to educate the public in the dangers of too much government. And guess what? The message is getting through, Alex."
Yesterday, Fox Business host and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show and joined Jones in pushing conspiracy theories about the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Napolitano announced that "twenty years from now, people will look at 9-11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us."
In the past, we've noted that Napolitano has lent his credibility -- and, by extension, Fox News' -- to Jones' show by helping Jones promote bizarre anti-government conspiracies. Jones is widely recognized as one of the leaders of the "9-11 Truth" movement. He also, among many other outlandish theories, believes a "New World Order" is going to exterminate 80% of the world's population.
While Napolitano's appearances with Jones have been problematic in the past, his foray into pushing 9-11 Truth conspiracies should - but, based on the network's refusal to reprimand on-air talent, likely won't - spell the end of Napolitano's Fox News career.
Yesterday, Fox Business host and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano revealed himself as a believer in the conspiracy theory that the government is lying about the attacks on September 11. Speaking on a leading conspiracy show, Napolitano said that it's "hard for me to believe that" World Trade Center Building 7 "came down by itself" -- a central tenet of 9-11 conspiracy theories -- and claimed that "twenty years from now, people will look at 9-11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us."
Napolitano made his remarks on the radio show of Alex Jones, who is widely viewed as the leader of the conspiracy theory that the 9-11 attacks were an inside job. Jones describes himself as "one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement" and his website features a section for 9-11 conspiracy theories.
Any Fox News fan will tell you that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is one of Fox's favorite members of Congress. To Special Report anchor Bret Baier, she's "[a]ttractive, energetic, a GOP headliner." To Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano, she's a "well-known expert on the Constitution." To Glenn Beck, she's "one of the good guys," and according to him, we "need more people like" her in office.
To other members of Congress, Bachmann is also the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, and Bachmann has said that in this role, she plans to start holding classes on the Constitution for members of Congress.
Last month, Bachmann returned some of the respect that Fox News has shown her by asking Napolitano to help teach these classes.
Fox News' Glenn Beck increasingly echoes the theories and conclusions of Alex Jones, a fringe conspiracy theorist and host of a daily radio show promoting those theories. These include belief in the imposition of a "new world order" and global government, opposition to the Federal Reserve, and attacks on Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
As John Hamilton reported, alleged California highway shooter Byron Williams cited radio host Alex Jones as a source of information. Like Williams, Alex Jones believes in numerous anti-government conspiracy theories, such as that the 9-11 attacks were an inside job.
Fox Business host and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano again appeared on the radio program of conspiracy theorist and 9-11 Truth leader Alex Jones. During the October 7 program, the two agreed that Obama will "start a wider global war" to "be a prince," and discussed whether a powerful banking cartel linked to "world government" would "collapse the economy" and use that "as an excuse for martial law." Napolitano also told Jones of Texas secession: "That time has come. That may actually happen" because of the actions of the government.
Napolitano also discussed Glenn Beck, whose Fox News program he frequently guest hosts. Jones suggested that Beck picked up ideas from him, especially with regard to the "pants on fire" false smear that Obama administration official John Holdren has a plan of "forced sterilization in the water." Jones added that "Beck is now able to go on the air and talk about things that 15 years ago I was called a lunatic for."
Jones is widely viewed as the leader of the conspiracy theory that the 9-11 attacks were an inside job (the 9-11 Truth shirt pictured above is sold at Jones' online store). Jones is also a proponent of such conspiracies as a New World Order plot to exterminate 80 percent of the world's population, the Obama administration's "already happening" "plan to sterilize [the] population through water supply" and FEMA "death camps."
Jones has been criticized by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, which wrote that he "may currently well be the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the United States" and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Still, that hasn't stopped Napolitano -- himself a frequent anti-government conspiracist -- from repeatedly appearing on Jones' program or hosting Jones on his Freedom Watch program when it was only airing on FoxNews.com. Napolitano, who announced yesterday that Freedom Watch would expand from the weekend to weekdays on Fox Business, is apparently such a fan of Jones that he promised to host him on a future program. Napolitano has also hosted truther Jesse Ventura, who was given an unchallenged platform to push 9-11 conspiracy theories.
On previous Alex Jones shows, Napolitano has said that the November elections could be suspended; "The one world government has been around since the Progressive Era"; the government "will try" to take away your right to guns because "the first thing a tyrant does is disarm the citizenry"; the situations of Hitler and Mussolini are "eerily reminiscent" of "exactly what's happening today"; and the government wants the same "power over the internet that the Chinese" have.
Napolitano and Jones both admire one another. Napolitano has previously told Jones that "you, my friend, are doing more than anybody I know -- I'm trying to keep up with you to educate the public in the dangers of too much government. And guess what? The message is getting through, Alex." Napolitano also said of Jones: "Well, we go to places like your show because of your zeal and your courage and your fearlessness in exposing this. As much as you exercised the same zeal, and courage and fearlessness in the previous administration, and we have to educate people." In return, Jones said that Napolitano is "best person out there period on national television. In fact, he's the only person that I agree with almost 100%."
[Appearance h/t LGF]
From the October 7 edition of Genesis Communication Network's The Alex Jones Show:
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As Media Matters noted, a spokesperson for Paul Babeu, the Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona and frequent Fox News guest, issued an apology for allowing Babeu to appear on the white nationalist radio program Political Cesspool. The spokesperson added that he has been "inundated with media requests" and he "weeded out most all requests from any outlets or groups that have any connection with possible hate groups. Unfortunately last week it appears that I may have let one such interview take place."
The Political Cesspool isn't the only fringe program on which Babeu has recently appeared. On July 9, Babeu was a guest on The Alex Jones Show, a program considered the leading anti-government conspiracy theory program in the country, and hosted by the "founding father" of the movement that claims that 9-11 was an "inside job" by the government.
At one point during the program, while discussing the administration's policies toward Arizona and immigration, host Alex Jones asked Babeu if President Obama is committing "high treason," to which Babeu replied, "It borderlines that. I'm not going to outright call it that. You know, he's still -- I'm still an officer in the Army, and as a sheriff, I'm hoping that we have a correction here this year":
From the June 24 edition of Genesis Communication Network's The Alex Jones Show:
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From the June 24 edition of Genesis Communication Network's The Alex Jones Show:
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