In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, as with any national tragedy, we're generally supposed to embrace our better angels and proclaim the requisite "We're All Americans Now" sentiment, but today I simply can't do it. Not after what I witnessed online yesterday.
While the rest of us followed the horrifying news as it unfolded with endlessly looping video footage of, in one moment, people basking in a unified display of physical achievement and exhilaration, then, without warning, being cut down by a pair of terrorist bombs, a legion of extraordinarily disturbed sociopaths were indulging their paranoid fantasies in accordance with their cult leader. Within less than an hour after the explosive devices were detonated and before most of the nation was even aware of what had happened or how many people were injured, Alex Jones tweeted:
Our hearts go out to those that are hurt or killed #Boston marathon - but this thing stinks to high heaven #falseflag
And his first suspect in the attack:
Explosions at the Boston Marathon. Don't that the FBI has been behind virtually every domestic terror plot in the US, as NY Times reported.
So before anyone really knew anything, Jones had already birthed his first Boston Marathon conspiracy theory, thus signalling to his battalions of flying psychomonkeys to deploy throughout the internet -- rubber pants and Info Wars archive links ready to roll. According to Jones, the FBI -- like every domestic terror plot, naturally -- was probably responsible for the obvious false flag attack. Unless he himself was a participant in the attack (hmm) or if he happened to have been standing along Boylston Street when it occurred, how could he really be aware of any legitimate information? Yet Jones already had a strong idea as to who had participated, and that they had helped to stage the attack.
Within Jones' parallel universe of well-marketed dementia, every attack is a false flag operation and the U.S. government is always the primary suspect. And he's unwaveringly certain of his assessment: a knowing "wisdom" that fuels his audience of easily-influenced paranoid automatons like a perpetual motion intravenous pump of distilled, liquefied schizophrenia.
A short time later, Jones tweeted his first 9/11 Truther-esque "controlled demolition" concept:
Boston marathon bombing happened on same day as ‘controlled explosion’ drill by Boston bomb squad http://bit.ly/12gssz8
But if you click through to the Info Wars article linked above, you'll notice how the "controlled explosion" line in the post leads to a Boston Globe tweet about the bomb squad detonating one of the explosive devices after the initial bombings occurred. So, surprise, his tweet was completely misleading. The only "controlled explosion" evidence he produced was a controlled explosion as part of the response to the attack -- not a pre-planned event.
UM Coach: Bomb Sniffing Dogs Were at Start, Finish Lines for “Drill” http://bit.ly/10YiEqD #Boston
Eyewitness: Authorities Announced “Drill” Before Boston Explosions - http://www.infowars.com/eyewitness-authorities-announced-drill-before-boston-explosions/ …
Just spitballing here but if anyone announced, "Drill!" it could very well have been fans encouraging the runners to the finish line with the commonly used endurance sport cheer, "Drill it!" which means to hunker down and go faster. But that's too simple and doesn't fit into Alex Jones' self-fulfilling prophecies. Like the JFK assassination, every shadow and every flash of light is evidence of a conspiracy that leads all the way to the top.
It gets crazier.
Alex Jones subsequently tweeted that an intelligence official who happened to be running in the marathon was yanked out of the race before reaching the finish line due to "dehydration." (Scare quotes by Jones.) Jones had officially tossed the all-important intelligence community ingredient into his cocktail of nonsense because, after all, if you're going to manufacture a nutjob conspiracy theory, you need the intelligence community in there somewhere. A conspiracy theory without the CIA or the NSA or military intelligence (hell, throw in the defunct Office of Naval Intelligence and the Pinkertons, too) is like a crazy cheetah without his crazy cheetah spots. Any good conjurer of paranoid tall-tales knows that.
So his theory appeared to be that Boston law enforcement officials in conjunction with the FBI and the intelligence community were clued into the fact that two -- possibly up to four bomb detonations were planned for the marathon finish line and, by extension, there would be a lot of casualties. And as part of this ruse, they coordinated a fake "drill" announcement just before the bombs went off in order to, um -- why shout the word "drill?" Whatever. Rational justifications don't matter in Alex Jones' inventory of retail conspiracy theories because -- fuck it, they're all out to get us! IEEEE!
But then, just when I thought the roundelay of Info Wars awfulness had wrapped up for the day, one of Jones' disciples managed to infiltrate a press conference held by the Boston Police Commissioner, along with Governor Deval Patrick. As of this writing, it's unclear whether Info Wars received official press credentials, or if the "reporter," Dan Bidondi, simply wormed his way into the proceedings. However, one thing is perfectly clear: Alex Jones and his acolytes are passing themselves off as legitimate members of the press in spite of the fact that they're clearly dealing with "info" that Alex Jones is yanking out of his doughy ass. Here's the video of the first question taken by Governor Patrick:
Bidondi asked, "Is this another false flag staged attack to take our civil liberties?" And then, as the officials stepped away from the podium, Biondi continued to hector them with questions about a "false flag" operation. (By the way, I love how swiftly Patrick dismissed Bidondi as the crank he is.)
This is exactly why we have to continue to discredit and ridicule Alex Jones and his megalomaniacal copycats, including Glenn Beck and others -- pulling back the curtain on their exploitation and fakery. While we've been dismissing and ignoring them, hoping they'll go away, they've managed to tunnel their way into serious, legitimate proceedings.
My friend and colleague Chez Pazienza wrote to me via email: "Alex Jones should never under any circumstances be legitimized by being allowed to take part in coverage of news events as if he's a real news source." Yesterday, Jones subverted a critical news conference and exploited a national tragedy with his utterly fictitious storytelling -- not as a means of ascertaining the truth but as a means of amplifying his hyperkinetic voice and marketing his online empire of swag. After all, now that Info Wars has "reporters" embedded snugly within the press corp, asking questions of governors and police commissioners and pretending to be legitimate journalists, Info Wars must be viewed as a real news outfit (it most certainly is not). And if it's a real news outfit, then the information it's peddling must be legitimate news and not dismissed as simply the fringe manifestations of clinical group neuroses. As such, paranoid rumor-mongering slowly morphs into reality. Alex Jones knows damn well that it's a formula that leads to profit -- profit that he's earning not only by taking advantage of psychologically vulnerable fans, but by latching his conspiracy-mongering onto the horrifying events in Boston.