Conspiracy theory swindler Alex Jones is playing ABC News like a violin -- a violin wrapped in tin-foil. Sunday morning, Jones, a radio talk show host who's made millions by exploiting the paranoia of his listeners, was scheduled to be interviewed by Martha Raddatz on ABC's This Week regarding the hoopla surrounding the Jade Helm 15 story. When the time came for the live satellite interview, Jones was nowhere to be found, leading the host to announce that Jones was a "no show."
If you've been following Chez Pazienza'scoveragehere or the ongoing (and hilarious) updates on the Stephanie Miller Show, you're already up to speed. But in case you're just joining us, Jade Helm 15 is an unclassified series of military training exercises conducted by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (SOC) involving Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other units, including special operators from the Air Force, and taking place in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Texas this coming July through September. Last month, the Pentagon released a map of where Jade Helm will be taking place and, on the map, Texas is labeled "hostile territory." Clearly, however, the label is arbitrary for the purposes of the exercises. All of the land being used in Jade Helm was chosen for its unique topography, and it's all private land used with permission of the landowners.
Naturally, Jade Helm is red meat for Alex Jones who immediately burrowed into the story.
Right off the bat, Jones told his disciples that the U.S. military was readying itself to declare and enforce martial law and basically take over Texas. Later, he backpedaled a little and said it wasn't immediate martial law, but that is was an incremental step toward it. Either way, Jones is galactically deceiving his listeners who invariably accept anything he says at face value. Last week, hordes of Jones listeners and various other cranks and weirdos descended upon a Bastrop, TX County Commissioners meeting where SOC commander Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria patiently tolerated bug-eyed rants and Godwin-trampling Nazi references from yokels who made the Springfield townspeople from The Simpsons look comparatively reasonable.
Back to the ABC News fracas. Jones insists that the network set him up to look foolish. In other words, Jones has concocted a conspiracy theory within the Jade Helm conspiracy theory that paints Jones himself as a direct target of a media plot. Later in the day on Sunday, Jones defended himself, telling his audience that the car service sent by ABC showed up at his apartment only 12 minutes before the interview was supposed to take place, even though ABC News insisted that the car had waited there for more than an hour.
“This is a typical establishment media stunt to rig debates by implying I’m not ready to defend my ideas and information,” Jones said via his InfoWars.com website.
Based on that InfoWars article, it's clear that Jones' cellphone battery died or that he deliberately turned it off so that neither ABC News producers nor the car service could contact him. Either way, during discussions with ABC News throughout last week, Jones had allegedly insisted that ABC carry the interview live rather than pre-recording it. Suddenly and without any resolution on the matter, according to Jones, a car appeared outside his house with 12 minutes to go before the segment was scheduled to begin. Knowing Jones and his penchant for theater, though, it's not a stretch to assume that he wanted everything to do down like this in order to fold himself into the Jade Helm story and to characterize himself as a victim.
ABC News explained that the car had been at Jones’ apartment an hour ahead of time. A spokesperson said Jones did not respond to phone calls, and the network went so far as to have building security knock on his door, to no answer.
ABC News should have known better than to involve Alex Jones in anything resembling a serious discussion. Not only is he possibly the most disingenuous character on the far-right, telling his audience among other things that shape-shifting lizard people from outer space walk among us and that President Obama uses "tiny airplanes and helicopters" to move tornadoes closer to cities and towns, but he would've turned his ABC News appearance into a circus sideshow. Just ask Piers Morgan about that one.
Jones' nonsense is so well-crafted and so manipulative that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called up the Texas National Guard to monitor the exercises, saying, "It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed upon." The subtext is, of course: there's definitely a chance it could be infringed upon. Here's what Abbott did -- Abbott basically wrapped a giant tin-foil hat around his entire state. Likewise, presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), last week, along with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) gave the story just enough oxygen to stoke irrational screeching against Obama and his jackbooted thugs who are obviously messin' with Texas.
To make matters worse, the This Week roundtable dedicated a solid seven minutes of air time to a conspiracy theory that Alex Jones yanked out of his ass solely for ratings and profit. Worst of all, during the roundtable discussion, Greta Van Susteren blamed the Jade Helm fracas not on Jones and his unhinged fanboys but on "both parties" for not properly communicating with each other. Reading between the lines, it's partly Obama's fault for not bothering to say anything to Texas because it's a red state, plus guns, God, etc.
All told, this is exactly what Alex Jones craves. The only thing that rallies his supporters more than his own throat-polypy rants is whenever the traditional news media dips a toe into his cuckoo's nest. Perhaps the two most significant attributes (besides clinical paranoia) of the conspiracy theorist subculture are, 1) absolute certitude that they're the only ones aware of what's really going on and the rest of us are mere "sheeple," and 2) that the establishment will do whatever it has to do in order to discredit and shatter that certitude. Even if everything had played out on schedule and Jones had appeared on This Week, Jones still would've won because of how inextricably embedded these attributes happen to be. By not appearing, then blaming the sinister plotters at ABC News, Jones is getting exactly what he wants, and he'll ring this bell for heaven knows how long. In the vast and crazy puzzle Jones has been carefully assembling all these years, it fits perfectly. The government and its puppets in the news media have conspired to humiliate the one man who knows the truth and can deliver it to the masses.
One last note. It's healthy to be skeptical of government and, yes, there are some conspiracies that are 100 percent real. But the conspiracy theories marketed by Alex Jones and his broadcasting empire reach far beyond the realm of seriousness and into cartoonish zaniness. Jones and his followers effectively self-discredit the plausible conspiracy theories by exploiting them as springboards into shape-shifting lizard people, weather weapons and government schemes to use juice boxes to create more gay people (somehow). And it's making Alex Jones a very wealthy man.