Opinion | For Alex Jones, a Moment of Truth in a Flood of Lies


Facts just won a rare round in America’s clash of information and disinformation: Alex Jones admits that he was the victim of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Has repeatedly told millions of readers that his alt-right site Infowars was a “scam” perpetrated by “actors”, in fact, “100% true. “

He told the truth on the witness stand in his defamation lawsuit on Wednesday, but only lied under oath many times, and only after failing to produce documents and testify at an earlier trial. He didn’t tell the truth about the lawsuit brought against him until the plaintiffs’ attorneys revealed that Jones’ attorneys had inadvertently emailed him hundreds of gigabytes of Jones’ cell phone records.

Jones speaks truth after confronting Scarlett Lewis in court, one of many grieving parents of children killed at Sandy Hook, speaks of her son to jones: “Jesse is real. I’m a real mom.”

Jones was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution and $45.2 million in punitive damages to Lewis and Neil Hesling, the parents of Jesse Lewis, who was shot at age 6. Jesse was one of 20 young children and six educators killed that day in Sandy Hook.Hesling has crying in the stands As he described his son’s final moments.

It marks the first time Jones has been financially penalized for his years-long disinformation campaign about Sandy Hook, a game that helped him earn as much as $800,000 a day. He will no doubt pay more in at least two other pending cases. This is also the first time Jones has admitted the truth of what happened in Newtown.

This defense of truth, while comforting, also raises three disturbing questions: First, can a single truth emerge from a continuum of liars? Second, Jones’ apology, which was only provoked by his sweaty back against the wall, made any sense? Third, will his admission or his apology have any impact in the media realm where a lie can quickly transfer into an intractable web of lies?

These are frustrating questions to ask, but they’re not hard to answer.

The answer to the first question is that Jones grudgingly admits the truth doesn’t matter.No matter what consolation it brought Lewis and Hesling, it could not change the absurd fact that over the years the families of Sandy Hook victims became Jones’ victims, and the parents who suffered the unimaginable loss of their children were subsequently affected by harassment, threats of needing to move to a new home and Hire security. It cannot change the fact that an unscrupulous liar exploits the weaknesses of our current media ecosystem – its fragmentation, lack of standards and polarization – to gain economic advantage.

There was a little satisfaction in Jones being pulled down by an unexpected email — technology, media, and information fought back decisively at those who abused all three. But the leaked texts also make it clear that Jones continues to spread disinformation, both about the coronavirus pandemic and the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Even when the truth comes out, it can feel like an afterthought, or worse, irrelevant.

“Just because you claim to think something is true doesn’t make it true,” Judge Maya Gragamble in the case had to remind Jones as he camouflaged from the stands. She explained that it was not his radio show.

As for the second question, there is nothing forgivable about Jones’ apology. He throws out an untenable excuse that he suffers from “some form of psychosis”. He uttered a feeble confession, no apology beyond no apologyconstructed in the “mistaken” dialect of our time: “I have inadvertently been involved in hurting the feelings of these people, and I apologize for that.”

Regretless, reconciled, bloodless. It was one of the things he said in the stands, and it was totally unconvincing.

Question 3 – How did the events of the day affect Alex Jones and the twisted world he helped build? — has an equally bleak answer. Just hours after the jury’s decision, Jones, who had described herself as the victim of a “media conspiracy” to The Times’ Elizabeth Williamson, was sneaking back into his radio show – according to one metric, 42nd most popular The country’s radio show/podcast, second only to “Planet Money” and ahead of “Pod Save America.” There, he downplayed the day’s legal action as an “attack” by “globalists” and promised his audience, “I will keep fighting.” In a fluent double, he called the decision a “major victory for truth.”

which truth? Scarlett Lewis told Jones in court: “Truth, truth is vital to our world. Truth is the foundation of our reality. We have to agree on that to have a civil society.” Sandy Hook It’s a brutal fact.”

After hundreds of school shootings, it’s even harder to know how many people in this country cannot understand what the truth means.


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