Alex Jones is scum.
This isn’t a complex, researched, authorial notion, this is my opinion, and my opinion is that the guy is scum. It’s based on observing him over many years, and from how he clearly replicates the patterns of a lot of guys exactly like him, who just weren’t as successful at monetising their particular variety of scum.
Of late, I’ve been seeing more of his stuff, more of his particular set of tactics, and I wanted to offer you an easily remembered, simple set of instructions as to understanding What Alex Jones Is Doing. This is much like with young-earth creationists, operant on the idea that Alex Jones is literally never a good faith operator, and that everything he does, in every single context should be regarded as acts of manipulation. I’m sure there are some people he’s honest with but his reputation is so fundamentally broken that you can’t treat him as if he is.
Alex Jones presents the illusion of being opposition, of being able to argue, to fight with people, but if you listen to him, if you pay attention to the process, you’ll realise there are five things he does, and they largely never relate to what he’s being told, not really, not as part of a meaningful conversation with points that can be considered. Everything is instead, smoothed into one Greater Fiction where Alex was Always Right.
What then, does Alex Jones (And His Ilk) do when confronted with dissent?
Stage One: Denial
This is the simplest and most immediate tactic. Assert that whatever it is that’s being brought up isn’t true. You can see this most often with the trial depositions where when presented with his own words he will instead claim that that’s out of context, and therefore, doesn’t apply.
This is the simplest thing to do, and all it takes is the rejection of the speaker. You’ll see him do this mostly with people he considers outsiders, people who he has no interest in maintaining in his presence. Callers get this from time to time, but only very rarely.
There’s no reasoning with it; there’ll never be a way to make a Denied fact valid. If you push it, you’ll just get him to shut down, or moving to another tactic.
Stage Two: Anger
This is one of Alex’s go-to options and it works really well the way he uses it. Mostly, he uses it to argue with people who aren’t there. This is your explosive rants, your outraged demands, and that high dudgeon is a great opportunity to explode with shouting, heightened descriptions of his opponents’ points (that he imagines or creates).
Anger’s a strong pivot for Alex, because he feels like he can assert himself over people who aren’t there. There’s a lot of bravado and violent fantasy in his angry responses to things, but very little of it when dealing with an interlocutor. In deposition, he tried it, but when the other party is neither cowed nor impressed, it doesn’t do anything.
Stage Three: Bargaining
This is what happens when someone contradicts Alex, but he’s pretty sure they want to all get to the same place. He’ll roll over their point, and somehow incorporate their disagreement with him, and then quickly move on to focus on a secondary point. An example of this kind of negotiated mutual position comes up when he’s dealing with callers on his show; they’ll come with the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard, and he’ll accept it and move on with it to the thing he was already trying to say.
You can see it starkly thrown off-kilter, though, when, again, the other person doesn’t play along. A great example is how he tried recently to suggest that his presidential hope and his guest’s presidential hope would work together on a ticket, and his guest pointed out that the constitution wouldn’t allow it. Alex had to abruptly pedal sideways in the conversation, to try and negotiate another position (which his guest wasn’t having).
All of these people suck, by the way.
Stage Four: Depression
Really commonly, when Alex gets a call that doesn’t go the way he wants, or he has to take a position that seems to conflict with his past positions, he’ll defer to a helpless sort of depression. We’re all definitely going to die, and soon, and how. It sucks, oh well, I guess according to you we should just give up and your arguments and your positions are just there to make people give up hope. Hope is so important, after all.
One of his lawyers, by the way, tried to argue that he only denied Sandy Hook happened because it was ‘more hopeful’ to imagine the kids were alive.
Stage Five: Acceptance
Finally, if none of the other options seem likely to work, if he doesn’t have the time to cycle through them or if he’s dealing with someone without power, or over whom he has power (like a mute button), Alex will just straight up accept what they’re saying and bull on through to his other point.
You can see this when criticisms of the vaccine are contrasted with criticisms of the president at the time; sometimes, he’ll negotiate it, that hey, yes, that happened, but he was duped, and that’s why it’s okay. But sometimes a caller won’t have room for that, and they’ll have the energy to resist being bulled over, so Alex shifts straight to ‘we know that, and here’s what that tells us-‘ acting as if he already knew it, and had already been promoting it, because none of what he says is true, none of it is trustworthy.
These are the techniques, and these are all the techniques; it’s a very basic, five-moves playbook, and when you see it that way you’ll see it’s all he ever does. It’s not about making a point, it’s about exhausting opposition and wasting your time.