Shortly after my book, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights” came out in 2014, the publicity agent I had engaged for book promotion alerted me she had a connection to Alex Jones of InfoWars, and that I had “an open invitation” to be interviewed by the conspiracy theory master. As a book author, you want more than almost anything else to pump sales. To do that, you need large audiences, of the sort produced by network talk shows or mainstream media publications like The Wall Street Journal and New York Times. My book subject was a tad narrow for the mainstream media, but was perfectly positioned for someone like Jones and his endless examples of government malfeasance.
There was just one little problem that I imagined…er, make that one big problem. I imagined him inquiring about rogue government agents being behind raids at Rawesome and other food clubs and farms, and about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration planting pathogens in raw milk to explain illnesses. Those would have been attention-getting narratives, but they weren’t my narratives. Should I go for the huge spike in book sales from Jones’ near certain speculation, or should I stay true to my research?
I actually didn’t need to agonize for very long. My answer was no. I didn’t write anything about the decision on my blog at the time because it felt like a personal decision, based on my journalist instincts, that this guy was bad news. I had nothing hard and fast to prove that the endless conspiracy theories he served up were false except for the fact that he never seemed to have real data to back up his allegations
Now we do have hard evidence of his mean-hearted destructiveness, confirmed by a jury of Alex Jones’ peers, via court decisions last week that Jones be ordered to pay nearly $50 million in damages for defamation to the parents of a child killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. He had woven bizarre tales that the shooting didn’t happen, that the children and adults killed were actors, and on and on. At the trial, under oath, Jones testified that the Sandy Hook shooting was “100% real.” No one had to ask the followup question: So when you ranted that the murders hadn’t happened, weren’t you knowingly lying?
When the jury decisions came down, I once more breathed a sigh of relief that I never got involved with Jones. Much more than that, I ached for the poor parents who had to endure his years of taunting that their child wasn’t really murdered and that they were making it up. How can someone be so demented, so evil, that they would add to parents’ already terrible grief? What motivates such an individual?
Clearly, it’s someone who’s seriously disturbed….but not so disturbed that he isn’t determined to amass as much money as possible from spreading his crazy lies. The New York Times reports, from trial testimony, that even with the nearly $50 million in judgments in this case, Jones will be just fine financially—his company is worth something north of $135 million.
Hopefully this case is more than just one wacko conspiracy theorist getting his come-uppance. Hopefully it’s the beginning of a tamping down of a hysteria that has raged for too long in this country. If it is, the Sandy Hook parents who sued will have accomplished a great deal, not only on behalf of the memory of their child, but on behalf of the country.