Later that same day, Infowars founder Alex Jones smeared the victims of the attack during the Ariana Grande show in Manchester that killed at least 22 people, describing them as “liberal trendies.”
“The same people — God love them — on average who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in,” he added.
Later during his rant, Jones characterized the victims as “a bunch of liberals who have already run up the white flag to the Islamists, and this happens so more of our liberties can be lost, and so governments in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S. can say, ‘Don’t criticize Muslims, or they’ll blow you up, because they’re the religion of peace.’”
Grande, whose first national exposure came on Nickelodeon, has many teen and pre-teen fans. As the U.K.-based Metro publication reported, “Twelve children under the age of 16 were among the 59 casualties taken to hospital after the terror attack at Manchester Arena.” One of the first confirmed fatalities was an 8-year-old girl named Saffie Rose Roussos.
— BBC Lancashire (@BBCLancashire) May 23, 2017
One witness who saw the aftermath of the attack told CNN, “It was a lot of children, with blood all over them.” These are the people Jones went out of his way to smear on Tuesday night.
He’s done stuff like this before. Infowars is perhaps best known for relentlessly spreading the conspiracy theory that the 2012 school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. Leonard Pozner, father of one of the 20 children killed in that mass shooting, told the Daily Beast during Jones’ recent custody trial, “I wish I could be there in the courtroom to stare him down to remind him of how he’s throwing salt on a wound, and so he can remember how he handed out salt for other people to throw on mine.”
During that trial, Jones described himself as a “performance artist” instead of a journalist. But his act has real and negative consequences for people like Pozner, who described to the Daily Beast how he was threatened and harassed by Jones’ conspiracy-obsessed fans.
Jones’ promotion of baseless Sandy Hook conspiracies wasn’t enough to keep then-candidate Trump for going on his show in December 2015 and telling him, “Your reputation is amazing… I won’t let you down.”
Eight months later, Jones said he was advising Trump about “election fraud.” According to Jones, Trump took him seriously, telling him he’s “already concurred and absolutely was on the same page and was already right there with me or even ahead of me.”
Indeed, in the months that followed, Trump pushed a baseless conspiracy theory that millions of illegal votes were cast during a presidential election where he received nearly three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced the official creation of a Mike Pence-headed election integrity committee including anti-immigration vote-suppression specialist Kris Kobach.
After the election, Jones played a leading role in pushing a baseless WikiLeaks-fueled conspiracy about prominent Democrats being involved in a pedophilia ring. But in a carefully worded statement he read during his broadcast two months ago, Jones apologized, saying “we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had” on the people involved. He did so only after the owner of a business targeted by Jones as part of the so-called Pizzagate story sent him a letter asking him to retract statements he made during his broadcasts.
The Infowars article announcing the publication’s new White House credentials notes that Jones “may even attend some White House press briefings in person.”