During a recent livestream, with the bravado of a belligerent snake oil salesman, Jones warned his viewers that bad things will happen if they don’t buy his merch.
“When you keep us in the fight you keep yourself in the fight, and this is life and death!” he screamed, jabbing his index finger toward the camera. “So go to infowarsstore.com and get amazing products!”
Amazing products like tactical pens and coffee mugs and “Joe Biden Is a Loser” gear.
“If you don’t support us, you’re helping the enemy!” Jones continued. “And I’m not bitching at listeners; I’m telling you, this is all-out war!”
A war won by ordering beer koozies and shortwave radios and water filtration systems.
Last month, Jones filed for bankruptcy for three of his companies, including InfoWars. Prior to that, the far-right personality had been found legally accountable for damages caused by his false statements about the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting, which claimed 26 victims, including 20 children.
Screaming “this is all out war!” Alex Jones and Roger Stone tell their followers that the only way to win the war against evil Democrats is to send them money and buy their products. pic.twitter.com/WgSHcyhp1f— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) May 12, 2022
Jones had long promoted the conspiracy theory that Sandy Hook was a false flag operation orchestrated by the feds to push for stronger gun control. He’s been a fierce critic of the federal government, particularly toward Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
At the same time that InfoWars faces liabilities of up to $10 million, court documents show the site claims to have between $0 and $50,000 in assets, according to Reuters.
Jones’ salesman rhetoric is “completely ridiculous,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. He’s doing everything he can to avoid taking responsibility for the terrible pain he’s caused the families of Sandy Hook victims.
“This is not a war. These aren’t enemies. He went on his programs and lied about one of the most terrible recent tragedies we’ve had: children murdered,” she said. “And I just have no sympathy for him whatsoever.”
It may be hard for some to understand, but certain people are attracted to Jones’ cultish shtick, Beirich said. Some listeners have joined the anti-government Oath Keepers militia after hearing him talk about it on his show. Others have gone on to commit violence, such a married couple who killed a pair of Las Vegas police officers and a third person in 2014.
Facing legal woes and financial ruin, it still doesn’t appear that Jones has learned his lesson, she said. He’s chosen to double down on his paranoia-tinged claims and come up with “even crazier ideas.”
"I would urge people to think critically when you see these messages being put out.” – Freddy Cruz, SPLC
There’s a certain contingency of the far-right that likes to hawk hokum cures, such as anti-radiation pills, Beirich continued.
“If you stop believing in the government, you may also stop believing in science and medicine and things like that,” she said. “And Jones fills that hole with his products and becomes very, very rich off of it, although he may ultimately lose all his money.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center regards Jones as a specific type of anti-government extremist: a conspiracy propagandist, said SPLC research analyst Freddy Cruz. Folks like him view the federal government as tyrannical and spew messages rooted in anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic narratives.
Jones isn’t the only InfoWars host with legal woes. Owen Shroyer is also facing federal charges that he’d allegedly participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.
In court documents filed earlier this month, Shroyer claimed that he was chronicling that day’s events for InfoWars' audience. It’s an argument adopted by anti-government extremists over the past couple of years, Cruz said: If you say you're a legitimate journalist, you’ll somehow circumvent any criticism. (That's news to us.)
Following the insurrection, Jones and company have kept a low profile, Cruz added. But the messages they continue to broadcast from InfoWars headquarters can carry dangerous consequences.
“Just because a lot of these folks … have sort of taken a seat, doesn’t necessarily mean that the danger has completely gone away,” he said. “I would urge people to think critically when you see these messages being put out.”