Emerging from the conspiracy-theory fever swamps Monday to exploit the massacre in Las Vegas, Donald Trump’s favorite radio personality, Alex Jones, blamed Sunday night’s mass shooting on an unholy alliance of Muslims, Bolsheviks and “Deep-State Democrats”—with a cameo appearance by O.J. Simpson.
“It’s the 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, and the literal grandchildren of the folks that financed the Bolshevik revolution out of New York and London are now bragging and saying ‘Bolshevik Two’ is launching,” the InfoWars founder told his 3 million-odd fans (who include the president of the United States). “On Saturday night-Sunday morning, they released O.J., just 20 hours before the attack took place, so all the media would come and be in place to cover this event.”
Jones, who spent much of the morning doing live video feeds spinning out his pernicious Vegas theories from his car on the highway and strutting through InfoWars’ headquarters in Austin, continued.
“The whole thing has the hallmarks of being scripted by Deep-State Democrats and their Islamic allies using mental-patient cutouts,” he said.
The 43-year-old Jones—with whom Trump has appeared on the radio, praised for his “amazing reputation” and personally thanked for his support and “standing up for what’s right” after his Electoral College victory last November—was, by far, the most rabid of the right-wing conspiracy mongers.
Jones repeatedly fabricated factoids in his portrayal of Sunday night’s mass murder, erroneously claiming, for instance, that the Reuters wire service had independently confirmed that the shooter, 64-year-old retiree Stephen Paddock, had converted to Islam in recent months—an unverified claim made by the Islamic State (and debunked by the FBI) as the terrorist organization took credit for the killings after Paddock’s gun-inflicted suicide.
Yet Jones’s conspiracy-minded and equally error-prone ally, Gateway Pundit impresario Jim Hoft, another Trump favorite, managed to perpetrate an even bigger lie—misidentifying the shooter as a Rachel Maddow-loving Barack Obama supporter (and then desperately deleting the story, according to the Washington Post) after reporting as fact the unsupported speculations of various viral right-wing comment threads.
Hoft didn’t return a phone call seeking comment on his site’s apparently reckless posting.
By contrast, as of early Monday afternoon, several of Jones’s ideological compatriots—such as self-proclaimed troll Mike Cernovich, right-wing Canadian Youtube conspiracy theorist Stefan Molyneux and British InfoWars writer Paul Joseph Watson—were embracing caution instead of spreading unsubstantiated rumor.
Watson, for example, approvingly retweeted a comment by liberal pundit and Daily Beast contributor Sally Kohn, who remarked: “Look we don’t know yet what motivated the shooter in Vegas. If it *was* political views/ideology, then it is terrorism. By definition. But we should wait for facts. As we should with *any* shooter regardless of race or religion.”
“First time I've agreed with Sally ever,” Watson tweeted.
Yet Watson and the others did not resist slamming Hillary Clinton and other National Rifle Association opponents for calling for stricter gun-safety laws in the aftermath of the Vegas shootings. Former Trump chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s Breitbart News, for one, ran a story with the homepage tease “MASS GUN CONTROL HYSTERIA BREAKS OUT…”
According to Jones, 64-year-old retiree Stephen Paddock’s sniper attack, in which at least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded, was part of a leftist scheme to provoke a civil war and topple Trump’s presidency, with the support of Al Gore and the financial backing of non-profit liberal foundations.
Jones’s hyper-caffeinated observations—along with his commercials endorsing the “smooth pick-me-up” offered by Patriot Blend organic coffee being sold on the Infowars web site—could be dismissed as lunatic ravings were it not for his influence on a diseased limb of the body politic.