David Horsey / Los Angeles Times
Usually, it would be best to ignore conspiracy-mongers such as Alex Jones and not reward him and his angry gaggle of paranoiac followers with any sort of attention. But, in a week when thoughts of the dead and maimed victims of the Boston Marathon bombings weigh heavy on the hearts and minds of most Americans, it is worth pointing out what a worthless waste of skin and bones Jones and his minions happen to be.
Nearly as soon as I heard about the bombings on Monday, I was certain that somewhere in the nutty right-wing blogosphere someone was already concocting a storyline that would blame the crime on President Obama and the federal government. Alex Jones came through with impressive rapidity.
Jones runs a radio show from Austin, Texas. He describes himself as a libertarian and an “aggressive constitutionalist.” The Southern Poverty Law Center says he has stirred up racial animus “to appeal to the fears of the antigovernment Patriot movement.” He certainly appeals to fear. Jones asserts that both the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the U.S. government as part of a scheme to promote a New World Order through “exploitable hysteria.”
So it is no surprise that he is now pushing the idea that the Boston bombings were the nefarious handiwork of federal agents. At Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s press briefing just a few hours after the explosions, one of Jones’ minions, Dan Biondi, was on hand to ask the governor if this was a "staged attack to take our civil liberties and promote homeland security while sticking their hands down our pants on the streets?"
"No," Patrick replied tersely. "Next question."
Meanwhile, Jones was on the air, on Twitter and on the Internet pushing his claim that the FBI engineered the bombings under the “false flag” of a terrorist group as a pretense for expanding the power of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. He warned of TSA groping teams at sporting events “coming soon.”
Jones is asking Americans to believe that their own government is responsible for all of the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history and that the motivation for the latest one is a desire to grope sports fans. All of this is, of course, total ping-pong-balls-for-brains nonsense. It would be laughable if it were not for the fact that this conspiracy kook claims 2 million radio listeners and more online followers than Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh combined.
Jones is a purveyor of the neo-Confederate brand of “patriotism” that has gained currency on the far starboard side of American politics. I do not think he should shut up or be shut down; he has the same 1st Amendment rights as I do. But he deserves to be exposed for what he is: a delusional, self-promoting bully who is slandering the very people who are right now doing the truly patriotic work of bringing the Boston bombers to justice.