It is very easy to make the cheap shot argument that right-wing / ultra-libertarian journalists such as Alex Jones from InfoWars make a quick – and often very easy – buck by playing on the fears of their listeners, and stoking the notion that the great unraveling of society is mere days or weeks from taking place, based on whatever bad piece of geopolitical news flits across the newswires on any given day.
Indeed, it is rather self evident that this is the only way that their business model works – it becomes significantly harder to sell water purification systems, survival seed vaults or home security systems to your loyal listeners if the threat to public order is only vague, and several years down the road.
The writers at Salon.com do an excellent if somewhat sensationalist job of breaking down the economics of the conspiracy-theorist right wing media industry, and I can leave that to speak for itself along with my own assessment.
But as much and as often as the people at InfoWars may get things wrong, or exaggerate them out of all realistic proportion, sometimes they do get it right. As with any rigidly-held ideology, on some issues you are almost bound to be right as often as you are wrong.
And so it was with great interest that I listened to this radio interview of neo-con darling Ann Coulter on the Alex Jones radio show, in which he and his (in some cases quite knowledgeable callers) totally and systematically deconstruct Coulter’s defence of then-president George W. Bush and the war on terror:
As Coulter’s neo-conservative house of cards totally and utterly falls down on her head, she eventually resorts to exclaiming:
“This is the nuttiest conversation I have ever had! We are at war right now, this is no time to be looking for black helicopters…”
The nuttiest element, however, is almost completely on her side of the argument, as she doggedly continues to insist that the non-existent weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq.
What also makes the interview excellent is the fact that although Jones begins his interview with Coulter in a very polite and courteous manner, going to great lengths to praise her many New York Times bestselling books and many media appearances, he shows no hesitation in calling her out, mocking and even goading her when she insults his listeners and their principled defence of civil liberties.
At one point, when he realises that Coulter is utterly beholden to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld militaristic view of the world, and will not be persuaded to come around, he goes as far as to taunt her and make fun of her lack of knowledge on the very subject on which she had just completed her newest book:
“I appreciate your ‘courage’ coming on… Ann Coulter, you are a neo-con. You are out there shilling for the trojan horse, George W. Bush is a gun-grabber… We’ve been trying to be nice to you, but you’ve just denied things that are in the mainstream news… Stay on the line Ann Coulter, if you’ve got the nerve to do it…”
Boom. Alex Jones 1 – 0 Ann Coulter.
This edition of Patriot Watch is not in any way an endorsement of Alex Jones, or his overall belief system. But at a time when almost everyone in the mainstream media, and most Democrats as well as Republicans cravenly followed and rubber-stamped every one of the Bush Administration’s capricious excesses in curtailing civil liberties in the name of “freedom” and “security”, he and his followers were pushing back and voicing their opposition.
At the same time, many people who would now mock Alex Jones were nowhere to be found.