Things have changed a lot for Alex Jones in the last year or two. Long gone are the days when I used to listen to Infowars every day, a research process that was as much social anthropology as it was history, but I still like to keep an eye on the Tip of the Spear himself.
Things were looking good for a while – the media were paying attention, and thinly-veiled analogues for Jones were appeared in Homeland and The X-Files. He won over a new audience with a stoned appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience. Most of all, a presidential candidate was calling in to the show and making references to Infowars in speeches and tweets.
Donald Trump’s election was a phyrric victory for Jones, however. When your capital is based on your opposition to the institutions of state, it is a problem when you find yourself aligned with those institutions. The narrative of the Deep State worked for a while – the idea that Trump was being prevented from carrying out his more radical policies by unelected officials in organisations like the Department of State and the CIA with an unspoken agenda of their own. This kind of narrative fitted seamlessly on top of preexistent New World Order narratives, but we shouldn’t ignore that it was also the argument made by many Obama supporters as to why he also failed to close Guantanamo Bay. Conspiracy theories are in no way restricted to the right, nor to the margins.
But Jones has also had considerable personal problems. He split up with his wife, Kelly, and lost custody of his children in a rancorous public court case which famously saw Jones’ lawyer claiming his on-air person was “performance art”. Many of his critics leapt at the chance to say this was an admission of what they had known all along, ignoring that if he was lying the first time, why assume he was telling the truth this time, especially when his children were at stake? Kelly was a significant cog in the Infowars machine, and has kept the pressure on, very publicly. Two Infowars employees sued for unfair dismissal, accusing Jones of sexual harassment and racism. Then some Sandy Hook parents sued over claims that it was a staged false-flag. There are rumours that he is having problems with alcohol. Even his protegé Paul Joseph Watson seems to be distancing himself.
When Trump launched a bombing raid on Syria on 13th April 2018, Alex lost it.
During a 26-hour live show (something Jones has done annually for some time), a clearly exhausted Jones begins teary renouncement of Trump which builds into a tirade that makes his fragile state of mind plain.
“I will tell Trump that, you really betrayed your family, and your name, and everything that you stood for… I thought of Donald Trump as a bigger man than me… When I turn against Trump, it’s not because they got to me… I feel like I just had my best girlfriend break up with me… I’m done with Trump.”
It’s hard to read this as mere performance art. His co-host looks genuinely concerned as he repeatedly tells Jones not to stay on air. Jones interrupts him so often that he falls into a confused silence.
There’s no way the Alex Jones of ten or even five years ago would have failed to work this into his broader narrative somehow, no way he’d have let his audience know he was wrong. This disavowal says a lot more about Jones than it does about Trump.