When discovering Alex Jones for the first time, the rational human response is a mixture of laughter and fear.
Here is a man who looks something like Homer Simpson crossed with a grizzly bear, and who sounds like a cheaply exaggerated Southerner in a cheap and exaggerated Hollywood movie about the civil war; all powerful, sanded consonants and slack-jawed, elongated vowels with pitches that rise mid-stream and then tail off without emphasis.
What’s more, this hick is shouting at you, pushing his huge finger towards the camera and calling you a slave. He rides upon a passion so great it seems obviously insincere. His language and gestures are theatrical, reminiscent of an old WWF wrestler psyching out the opponent before a big showdown, or a televangelist making the biggest sell of his life.
Some of the things in which Jones’ believes – like governmental orchestration of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, Illuminati-type groups taking over European states via the great undefended border of high finance, literal mind-control programs funded by the CIA etc…. are custom-bound to excite the snobbish glow of superiority in educated observers. And true enough, Jones is one of the most frequently lampooned figures in political media.
But having said all that, Jones is not mad, and I don’t believe he’s fake either.
On 9/11, 7/7, the Illuminati etc… Jones is simply wrong. He is not lying, or deliberately distorting evidence to fit his agenda. Anyone who regularly watches Jones’ youtube shows will know that he gathers his evidence from very mainstream sources (the FT, Telegraph, WSJ, NYT), and that, on inspection, most of the stories cited can be found to exist on the original websites, saying no more or less than what Jones says they do.
He paints a picture therefore, with honest brushstrokes. Where he falls down is with the daubs of speculation he adds later that tend to ruin the portrait. Most of what he asserts as fact, is fact. It’s only when he says something like “I’ve just got a feeling….” that you need to let your reason censor heavily what you hear.
I learn many things from tuning in to his show. Articles most would miss when flicking through the paper, he spots and takes time to verify. Without Jones it would have been easy to miss the fact for example, that the latest German army-issue rifles have been found in the caches of Syrian rebels, meaning either that they were stolen in one of the greatest terrorist heists of recent history, or (perhaps more likely), that the German-led EU is directly sponsoring Islamist fighters to bring down the Assad government.
Since this involves something like a conspiracy, Jones, after covering the fact of the matter, layers on heap after heap of speculative fiction, much of it tending towards sci-fi, and in doing so steadily erases all the credibility he would have if he just knew when to put on the brakes.
But citizen journalism is something worth defending from all detractors. It would be a very risky experiment to reinvest all the authority of news-coverage to a select few mega-corporations. Our own BBC, though obviously superior to infantile American cable channels, suffers a lack of internal diversity that impoverishes the country.
Jones, like myself felt he had something to say, despite not being asked to say it. To nominate oneself as a voice worth listening to is often folly, often arrogant folly, but occasionally it looses a compelling narrative that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Do not believe everything Alex Jones says, but do take him seriously. Our elites would like nothing more than for the liberty instinct to become red-faced and hesitant. Liberty matters. There are people willing to take it, if we should fail to guard it.
And rarely we do guard it. If Jones is too passionate, then that is partly because the rest of us have been too shamefully docile.