Infowars, Newsmax, and the Wingnut Media Declare Victory Over CNN
After early palpitations, right-wingers and conspiracy theorists on the alternative media breathed a sigh of relief as Republicans held off the ‘blue wave.’
“AAAAAAAARRRRGGHHH!” Alex Jones shrieked at around 9 p.m. Tuesday night, as it started to look as though Ted Cruz might actually fall to Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke in the epically expensive Senate race in Texas.
“If we lose this, oh my God!” Jones ranted—not that his worries proved justified: Cruz ultimately prevailed. And while the Democrats, as widely predicted, took the majority in the House of Representatives—positioning them to cause major heartburn for President Donald Trump—they did so less than many in the party had hoped, and the GOP (and by extension Trump) retained control of the Senate.
“I’m so sick of these weird cults that the left creates,” Jones added without self-awareness or irony. Ted Cruz “should have called himself Rafael!”—the Cuban-Canadian senator’s given name. “Now he may lose. He wouldn’t call himself Rafael!”
“Keep Alex Jones away from sharp objects,” Roger Stone observed.
Jones, the excitable, Trump-loving impresario of pernicious right-wing conspiracy theories, and Stone, the dandified dirty-trickster and Trump confidant-turned-Robert Mueller target, were anchoring coverage of the midterm elections on Infowars.com.
That, of course, is Jones’ Austin, Texas-based empire that markets absurd fantasies and dubious health products, end-times provisions and libido-inducing potions, to say nothing of SuperBlue Flouride-Free Toothpaste (fluoride being a long-recognized communist plot, at least by the John Birch Society), to millions of diehard fans.
The Jones & Stone duo were perhaps the most feverish—and certainly the most perversely entertaining—occupants of the fever swamp of wingnut commentators opining on the 2018 midterms. Tuesday night’s televised Trumpkins also included Glenn Beck on The Blaze, Bill O’Reilly on Newsmax as well as on Beck’s channel (O’Reilly has been something of a cable TV nomad since his exit in disgrace last year from Fox News), and Liz Wheeler and Graham Ledger on the One America News Network.
During their pregame show before the balloting ended nationwide, Wheeler and Ledger variously described Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum (the black mayor of Tallahassee who had been polling ahead of, but ultimately lost to, Trump-loving Republican Ron DeSantis) as a corrupt anti-Semite.
Neither bothered to offer any evidence for their claims.
On Infowars, Stone insisted that O’Rourke, the Republican incumbent’s Democratic challenger, had “run an extraordinarily effective and successful campaign.” In contrast to Cruz—“the single most unlikable man on the face of the planet; they call him Fat Dracula behind his back in Washington”—Stone argued that “Beto, if you will, is the non-Hispanic white Obama.”
“I’m gonna throw up,” Jones warned.
Stone, who flutters his hands in the sort of intricate manipulations generally reserved for shadow-puppetry, stressed that of course if he lived in Texas he would have voted for Cruz; but O’Rourke is graced by “personal magnetism.”
“Please don’t say Beto has magnetism,” Jones objected. “He looks like a friggin’ child molester. He looks like a con-man frat boy. He looks like a date-raper... He’s raping Texas. I bet he’s got a KKK outfit in his closet. I know for a fact that Beto is a KKK member and worships Hitler.”
“Do you have any evidence of that?” Stone wondered.
“The man is a Russian agent!” Jones retorted.
“I would predict right now,” Stone ventured, “that Wolf Blitzer will have an orgasm on the air if Beto wins.”
O’Rourke’s defeat didn’t allow for the possibility that Stone’s prediction could be realized.
But O’Rourke’s downfall, along with the losses of Gillum to DeSantis and of incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to Republican Gov. Rick Scott in Florida, and of Democrat Stacey Abrams to Republican Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor’s race (although Abrams, claiming voter suppression, has refused to concede), unquestionably served a popular narrative among the right-leaning outlets that the mainstream media once again lost the plot—just as they did in the 2016 presidential race—with their incessant predictions of a “blue wave.”
“This is a repudiation of the media,” Beck declared on O’Reilly’s No Spin News, a production of O’Reilly’s web site which was simulcast by Newsmax. “I’ve never seen anybody smeared and dragged through the mud as hard and as long as Donald Trump. They have nothing ever good to say about him.”
“Right,” O’Reilly agreed—never mind that Beck himself had been a fierce critic of Trump (whom he’d likened to Hitler) when he was running against Beck’s preferred presidential candidate, Cruz, in the GOP primaries.
“If the sun would go out tonight, they would say it was Donald Trump’s fault because he’s a racist bigot,” Beck continued, when he was not conspicuously—and messily—consuming an ice cream cone on camera. “So they’ve spent all this time and all this money. It shows the power of the media is almost gone.”
“I agree with you that the press has lost most of it power, doesn’t persuade anyone—polarizes,” O’Reilly said.
Earlier on Newsmax—which was unexpectedly fair and balanced in its election-night coverage, booking Democrats such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former New York congressman Steve Israel to analyze the results—O’Reilly had lampooned CNN’s Jake Tapper, who’d acknowledged on the air: “This is not a blue wave.”
“Jake Tapper tonight looked like he was sitting on a nail,” O’Reilly said.
“It’s like a wake over there at CNN,” said Newsmax anchor John Cardillo.
“They’re not doing the Lambada over there anymore,” O’Reilly agreed, referring to a dance that had enjoyed brief popularity in the late 1980s.
Meanwhile, back at Infowars, Alex Jones inveighed against globalists who are conspiring to take over the United States and turn it into an authoritarian dystopia—he mentioned George Soros and the Rothschilds, both frequent targets of anti-Semitic musings—while other on-air hosts acted as a reliably prolix source of rampant misinformation.
Anchor Owen Shroyer, who likes to shout at the top of his lungs almost as much as his boss, claimed confidently, and erroneously, that Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, who narrowly avoided a felony conviction on corruption charges last year when his trial ended in a hung jury, had “admitted to having sexual relations with a 14 year old.” (Menendez, who admitted to no such thing, managed to win re-election.)
At one point, Jones ended a segment by giving the floor to Infowars regular Mike Adams, an alternative medicine entrepreneur who denies the existence of global warming, warns against vaccines, and embraces the Obama birther claims among other baseless conspiracy theories.
“Win or lose, we have to push back against this lawlessness and tyranny of the left,” Adams exhorted. “They’re out of control, and even if they win the House…whatever they do, if they win they’re going to become more emboldened to carry out hate speech, race-based violence. They’re going to declare war on white people even more than they’ve done already… For the next two years, the American people are going to witness the insanity unleashed by the radical left… God help us all.”