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InfoWars

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InfoWars
Infowars logo.png
Tomorrow's News Today
If you are receiving this transmission, You are the Resistance
InfoWars.com homepage.png
Homepage of Infowars.com
Type of site
Politics
News and opinion
Available in English
Owner Alex Jones (via Free Speech Systems LLC)
Website www.infowars.com
Alexa rank Decrease 3,579 (February 2018)[1]
Registration None
Launched March 6, 1999; 19 years ago (1999-03-06)[2]
Current status Active

InfoWars (stylized as INFOWARS) is an American conspiracy theorist and fake news website and media platform owned by Alex Jones's Free Speech Systems LLC.[3][4][5][6][7] It was founded in 1999.

Talk shows and other content are created primarily in studios at an undisclosed location in an industrial area outside Austin, Texas.[8] The InfoWars website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making it more visited than some mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.[9][10]

The site has regularly published fake stories which have been linked to harassment of victims.[a] In February 2018, Alex Jones, the publisher, director and owner of InfoWars, was accused of discrimination and sexually harassing employees.[17] InfoWars, and in particular Jones, advocate numerous conspiracy theories particularly around purported domestic false flag operations by the U.S. Government (which they allege include the 9/11 attacks and Sandy Hook shootings). InfoWars has issued retractions various times as a result of legal challenges.

History

InfoWars was created in 1999 by American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who remains its controlling influence.[18][19] InfoWars features The Alex Jones Show on their broadcasts and was established as a public-access television program aired in Austin, Texas in 1999.[18]

During the 2016 presidential election, the website was promoted by bots connected to the Russian government.[20]

In 2016, Paul Joseph Watson was hired as editor-at-large.[21][22] In February 2017, political commentator Dr Jerome Corsi was hired as Washington bureau chief,[23] after InfoWars was granted White House press credentials.[24] The Guardian has accused Corsi, who is Catholic, "of being anti-Islamic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and homophobic, and of exploiting racial prejudices in an attempt to 'scare white America'".[25]

In May 2017, Mike Cernovich joined the InfoWars team as a scheduled guest host for The Alex Jones Show,[26] with CNN reporting the "elevation to InfoWars host represents the meteoric rise in his profile".[27]

In June 2017, it was announced Roger Stone, a former campaign advisor for Donald Trump, would be hosting his own InfoWars show "five nights a week", with an extra studio being built to accommodate his show.[6]

In March 2018, some of the biggest brands in the U.S. suspended their ads from InfoWars' YouTube channels, after CNN contacted them.[28]

Structure

Staff

The following table lists InfoWars main staff members.[29]

Infowars staff
Name Role
Alex Jones Publisher & Director
Paul Joseph Watson Editor & Staff Writer
Steve Watson, Adan Salazar, Kit Daniels, Mikael Thalen, Jamie White Associate Editor & Staff Writer
Anthony Gucciardi Contributing Writer
Rob Dew Nightly News Director
David Knight, Jakari Jackson, Lee Ann McAdoo, Joe Biggs, Millie Weaver, Owen Shroyer Reporter
Jon Bowne, Clifford Cunningham, Dan Lyman Correspondent
Jerome Corsi Author & Correspondent
Jon Rappoport, Shepard Ambellas Contributor

Controversies

Sexual harassment and antisemitism claims

In February 2018, Alex Jones was accused by former employees of antisemitism and sexual harassment of women staff members. Jones denied the allegations.[30][31]

Two former employees filed complaints against Jones.[32]

Promotion of conspiracy theories

InfoWars disseminates various conspiracy theories, such as speaking against the HPV vaccine[11] and claiming that the Las Vegas shooting was part of a conspiracy.[33]

InfoWars advocates New World Order conspiracy theories, 9/11 conspiracy theories, chemtrails, conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, supposed covert government weather control programs, claims of rampant domestic false flag operations by the US Government (including 9/11) and the unsupported claim that millions voted illegally in the 2016 US presidential election.[34][35] Jones frequently uses InfoWars to assert that new high-profile mass shootings are conspiracies or "false flag" operations, claims which are often then spread.[36][37] This has been characterised as Second Amendment "fan fiction".[38]

Fake news

Infowars has published and promoted fake news,[15] and Jones has been accused of knowingly misleading people to make money.[39] As part of the FBI's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, Infowars was investigated to see if it was complicit in the disseminating of fake news stories put out by Russian bots.[40]

Claims of false flag school shootings

InfoWars has regularly accused mass shootings of being false flags and survivors of them as crisis actors by the United States government. InfoWars host Alex Jones has promoted the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories. Jones was widely criticized for claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was "completely fake" and "manufactured".[12]

Jones has also accused David Hogg and other survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting of being crisis actors.[41]

Harassment by InfoWars viewership

InfoWars promoted fabricated Pizzagate claims. The fake claims led to harassment of the owner and employees of Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C. pizzeria targeted by the conspiracy theories, including threatening phone calls, online harassment, and death threats. The owner sent a letter to Jones in February 2017 demanding a retraction or apology. (Such a letter is required before a party may seek punitive damages in an action for libel under Texas law).

After receiving the letter, Jones issued an apology in March 2017. Alex Jones said that "I want our viewers and listeners to know that we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had on Mr. Alefantis, Comet Ping Pong, or its employees. We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be construed as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing." InfoWars also issued a correction on its website.[42]

InfoWars reporter Owen Shroyer also targeted East Side Pies, a group of pizza restaurants in Austin, Texas, with similar fake "Pizzagate" claims. Following the claims, the pizza business was targeted by phone threats, vandalism, and harassment, which the co-owners called "alarming, disappointing, disconcerting and scary."[16]

Chobani retraction

In 2017, Infowars (among other right-wing sites) published a fake story about U.S. yogurt manufacturer Chobani, with headlines including "Idaho yogurt maker caught importing migrant rapists" and "Allegations that Chobani’s practice of hiring refugees brought crime and tuberculosis to Twin Falls." Chobani ultimately filed a federal lawsuit against Jones, which led to a settlement on confidential terms in May 2017. Jones offered an apology and retraction, admitting that he has made "certain statements" on InfoWars "that I now understand to be wrong."[13][14]

Copyright infringement

From May 2014 to November 2017, InfoWars republished articles from multiple sources without permission, most frequently from RT with over 1000 articles copied.[43]

Hosts

An episode of the show from 2018

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is the main host, and operator of InfoWars. Apart from Alex Jones himself, the show has become a platform for various hosts.

Owen Shroyer

Owen Shroyer (born 1989) is an American political activist and commentator from St. Louis who now lives and works in Texas. He has been noted as a figure in America's alt-right movement.[44]

Shroyer previously worked as an AM radio host in St. Louis on KXFN and later KFNS.[45][46] He began hosting a podcast and posting YouTube videos of his views.

Shroyer has been quoted as supporting conspiracy theories about the Clinton family.[47]

In July 2016, Shroyer stopped CNN presenter Van Jones in the streets of Cleveland and attempted to engage him in an unscheduled on-camera debate. Jones participated willingly, and put forward well-constructed arguments, leading Shroyer to admit his opinion of Jones had changed favorably following the encounter.[48][49][50]

On September 2, 2017, while covering a pro-immigrant rally that took place in Austin, Texas, for InfoWars, Shroyer repeatedly asked provocative questions to protesters. He started to question a young teenager, Olivia Williams, of her views. She, in return, called him a "fucking idiot", leading to international coverage of the incident.[51]

In November 2017, Shroyer was quoted as saying that Trump supporters outnumbered anti-Trump protesters at an antifa rally held in Austin on November 4, 2017.[52] Infowars headlines had previously supported a conspiracy theory that the event would be the beginning of a planned "insurgency" against Trump, although Shroyer had said he did not believe antifa was a real threat.[53]

Other hosts

Other hosts on the show include Anthony Cumia, Mike Cernovich, Roger Stone, Paul Joseph Watson, David L. Knight, and Telly Blackwood.

Notable guests

Gavin McInnes and Mark Dice are regular guests.

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Infowars.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved February 16, 2018. 
  2. ^ "InfoWars.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2018-03-16. 
  3. ^ Shantz, Jeff (2016). Manufacturing Phobias: The Political Production of Fear in Theory and Practice. p. 231. ISBN 978-1-4426-2884-7. 
  4. ^ Sandlin, Jennifer (2017). Paranoid Pedagogies: Education, Culture, and Paranoia. p. 170. ISBN 978-3-319-64764-7. 
  5. ^ "Free Speech Systems LLC". Bloomberg L.P. 
  6. ^ a b "Roger Stone, former Donald Trump adviser, lands InfoWars gig with Alex Jones". The Washington Times. December 31, 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Lost Art of Privacy". National Review. December 15, 2017. 
  8. ^ "A Visit to the InfoWars Studios of Alex Jones". Der Spiegel. December 31, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Infowars.com Audience Insights – Quantcast". quantcast.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Alex Jones, Pizzagate booster and America's most famous conspiracy theorist, explained". Vox. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "I watched Alex Jones give his viewers health advice. Here's what I learned". Vox.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "Alex Jones doubles down on 'completely fake' Sandy Hook claims". Daily News. New York. Retrieved December 29, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Jackie Wattles, InfoWars' Alex Jones apologizes for saying Chobani supports 'migrant rapists', CNN (May 17, 2017).
  14. ^ a b David Montero, Alex Jones settles Chobani lawsuit and retracts comments about refugees in Twin Falls, Idaho, Los Angeles Times (May 17, 2017).
  15. ^ a b "Don't get fooled by these fake news sites". February 10, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Matthew Odam (December 7, 2017). "How Austin's East Side Pies became target of fake #pizzagate". Austin American-Stateman. 
  17. ^ "InfoWars is a den of racism and harassment: ex-staffers". New York Post. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  18. ^ a b Relman, Eliza (June 19, 2017). "How a public-access broadcaster from Austin, Texas, became a major conspiracy theorist and one of Trump's most vocal supporters". Business Insider. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Free Speech Systems, Llc". companiestx.com. Retrieved January 6, 2018. 
  20. ^ "FBI investigating if right-wing sites had role in campaign hacks". Daily News. New York. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  21. ^ "The live-streamers who are challenging traditional journalism". The New Yorkers. December 11, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Top InfoWars editor criticizes Trump after anti-Muslim tweets". The Hill. November 29, 2017. 
  23. ^ "The Conspiracy Bureau: Alex Jones Teams Up With Jerome Corsi for White House Coverage". Southern Poverty Law Center. February 2, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Conspiracy outlet InfoWars was granted temporary White House press credentials". Business Insider. May 22, 2017. 
  25. ^ Glendinning, Lee (October 7, 2008). "Author of anti-Barack Obama book detained in Kenya". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 2, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Mike Cernovich, conspiracy theorist praised by Trump Jr., lands InfoWars gig with Alex Jones". The Washington Times. May 4, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Right-wing troll Mike Cernovich goes professional with new hosting gig at InfoWars". CNN. May 3, 2017. 
  28. ^ Paul P. Murphy and Gianluca Mezzofiore (March 3, 2018). "Advertisers flee InfoWars founder Alex Jones' YouTube channel". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved March 4, 2018. 
  29. ^ "Contact » Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!". infowars.com. Retrieved December 10, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Former Infowars staffers filed a formal complaint against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones alleging anti-Semitism, racism, and sexual misconduct". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  31. ^ "Alex Jones Accused of Sexual Harassment, Bullying at InfoWars". The Daily Beast. 2018-02-28. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  32. ^ "Alex Jones accused of sexual harassment, racism and anti-Semitism". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2018-03-26. 
  33. ^ Hayden, Michael Edison (October 3, 2017). "Alt-right conspiracy theories blame Antifa for the mass shooting in Las Vegas". Newsweek. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  34. ^ "Alex Jones' Mis-Infowars: 7 Bat-Sh*t Conspiracy Theories". Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Alex Jones says 9/11, the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing were "false flag" operations". Newsweek. June 16, 2017. Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  36. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (October 9, 2017). "Las Vegas Massacre Gives InfoWars More Conspiracy Fodder". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  37. ^ Finnegan, William (June 23, 2016). "Donald Trump and the "Amazing" Alex Jones". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  38. ^ "No, Armed Protests Are Not Normal in Austin". Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  39. ^ Crilly, Rob (April 18, 2017). "Fake news itself, not just Alex Jones, is on trial in his custody case" – via The Daily Telegraph. 
  40. ^ "The FBI are 'investigating the role of Breitbart in spreading fake news with bots'". March 21, 2017. 
  41. ^ "YouTube Pulls Alex Jones Video Saying Parkland Victims Were Actors". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  42. ^ James Doubek (March 26, 2017). "Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Apologizes For Promoting Comet Ping Pong 'Pizzagate' Fabrication". NPR. 
  43. ^ Lytvynenko, Jane (November 8, 2017). "InfoWars Has Republished More Than 1,000 Articles From RT Without Permission". BuzzFeed News. 
  44. ^ "Milo Yiannopoulos to Tomi Lahren: the faces of America's young alt-Right pack". London Evening Standard. December 8, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2017. 
  45. ^ "Radio host protests 'police state' in Ferguson". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 13, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2017. 
  46. ^ Caesar, Dan. "Media Views: No kidding — comedy is key in new KFNS lineup". StLToday.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  47. ^ Weigel, David (August 29, 2017). "Analysis – In one corner of the Internet, the 2016 Democratic primary never ended". Retrieved December 28, 2017 – via The Washington Post. 
  48. ^ Mengel, Gregory (July 22, 2016). "Van Jones Schools Us All". HuffPost. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  49. ^ "Rising right-wing star tries to take down Van Jones — but gets taught an epic lesson instead". Raw Story. July 24, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2017. 
  50. ^ Jason Jay, Gabriel Grant (2017). Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World, Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 1626568952.
  51. ^ "Girl Swears Out InfoWars Reporter". Salon. September 7, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017. 
  52. ^ Oliphant, Vickiie (November 5, 2017). "Antifa rally a 'COMPLETE FLOP': Anti-Trump protestors OUTNUMBERED by supporters". Daily Express. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  53. ^ Kang, Inkoo (3 November 2017). "Antifa Is Clickbait for Conspiracy Theorists". Slate. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 

External links