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Homepage of Infowars.com
Type of site
News and opinion
|Owner||Alex Jones (via Free Speech Systems LLC)|
|Alexa rank||2,699 (Global, October 2018)|
|Launched||March 6, 1999|
Talk shows and other content for the site are created primarily in studios at an undisclosed location in an industrial area outside Austin, Texas. The InfoWars website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making its reach greater than some mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.
The site has regularly published fake stories which have been linked to harassment of victims.[a] In February 2018, Alex Jones, the publisher, director and owner of InfoWars, was accused of discrimination and sexually harassing employees. InfoWars, and in particular Jones, advocate numerous conspiracy theories particularly around purported domestic false flag operations by the U.S. Government (which they allege include the 9/11 attacks and Sandy Hook shootings). InfoWars has issued retractions various times as a result of legal challenges. Jones has also had contentious material removed, or been suspended or banned from various social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Apple.
InfoWars earns revenue from the sale of products pitched by Jones during the show. It has been called as much "an online store that uses Mr. Jones's commentary to move merchandise", as a media outlet.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Business aspects
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Hosts
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
InfoWars was created in 1999 by American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who remains its controlling influence. InfoWars features The Alex Jones Show on their broadcasts and was established as a public-access television program aired in Austin, Texas in 1999.
In 2016, Paul Joseph Watson was hired as editor-at-large. In February 2017, political commentator Dr Jerome Corsi was hired as Washington bureau chief, after InfoWars was granted a White House day pass. The Guardian has accused Corsi, who is Catholic, "of being anti-Islamic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and homophobic, and of exploiting racial prejudices in an attempt to 'scare white America'".
In May 2017, Mike Cernovich joined the InfoWars team as a scheduled guest host for The Alex Jones Show, with CNN reporting the "elevation to InfoWars host represents the meteoric rise in his profile".
In June 2017, it was announced Roger Stone, a former campaign advisor for Donald Trump, would be hosting his own InfoWars show "five nights a week", with an extra studio being built to accommodate his show.
In March 2018, some of the biggest brands in the U.S. suspended their ads from InfoWars' YouTube channels, after CNN notified them.
In July 2018, YouTube removed four of InfoWars' uploaded videos that violated its policy against hate speech and suspended posts for 90 days. Facebook also banned Jones after it determined four videos on his pages violated its community standards in July 2018. In August 2018, YouTube, Apple, and Facebook removed content from Jones and InfoWars, citing their policies against hate speech and harassment.
The following table lists InfoWars main staff members.
|Alex Jones||Publisher & Director|
|Paul Joseph Watson||Editor & Staff Writer|
|Steve Watson, Adan Salazar, Kit Daniels, Mikael Thalen, Jamie White||Associate Editor & Staff Writer|
|Anthony Gucciardi||Contributing Writer|
|Rob Dew||Nightly News Director|
|David Knight, Jakari Jackson, Lee Ann McAdoo, Joe Biggs, Millie Weaver, Owen Shroyer||Reporter|
|Jon Bowne, Clifford Cunningham, Dan Lyman||Correspondent|
|Jerome Corsi||Author & Correspondent|
|Jon Rappoport, Shepard Ambellas||Contributor|
While Jones has stated, "I'm not a business guy, I'm a revolutionary", he spends much of InfoWars air time pitching health-enhancement and survivalist products to loyal viewers. As a private firm, Infowars and its affiliated companies ("a web of limited-liability companies") do not have to report make public financial statements, so that observers can only estimate its revenue and profits.
Prior to 2013, Jones focused on building a "media empire". By 2013, Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon estimated that Jones was earning as much as USD$10 million a year between subscriptions, web and radio advertising, and sales of DVDs, T-shirts, and other merchandise.
That year, Jones changed his business model to incorporate selling proprietary dietary supplements, including one that promises to "supercharge" cognitive functions.
Unlike most talk radio shows, InfoWars itself does not directly generate income. It gets no syndication fees from its syndicater GCN, no cut of the advertising that GCN sells, and it does not sell its three minutes per hour of national advertising time. The show no longer promotes its video service (though it still exists), and has not made any documentary films since 2012. Virtually all money is made by selling Jones' dietary supplements to viewers and listeners.
A lesser source of revenue for InfoWars are its "money bomb" telethons, which resemble "public-radio fund drives", except that InfoWars is a for-profit institution. Charlie Warzel reports that "three former Infowars "employees told BuzzFeed News that a money bomb could easily raise $100,000 in a day".
As of 2014, "operations were bringing in more than $20 million a year in revenue ... according to testimony Mr. Jones gave in a court case". Most of his revenue in 2014 "came from the sale of products like supplements", according to records "viewed by The New York Times". 2014 court proceedings also show that InfoWars was successful enough for Jones and his wife at that time to be planning to "build a swimming pool complex ... featuring a waterfall and dining cabana with a stone fireplace. Mr. Jones bought four Rolex watches in one day in 2014, and spent $40,000 on a saltwater aquarium. Assets of Jones and his wife at the time "included a $70,000 grand piano, $50,000 in firearms and $752,000 in silver, gold and precious metals".
The loss of social media platforms from being banned by Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Spotify and Pinterest may have led to appeals by Jones to viewers: "The enemy wants to cut off our funding to destroy us. If you don't fund us, we'll be shut down."
Promotion of conspiracy theories and fake news
InfoWars advocates New World Order conspiracy theories, 9/11 conspiracy theories, chemtrails, conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, supposed covert government weather control programs, claims of rampant domestic false flag operations by the US Government (including 9/11) and the unsupported claim that millions voted illegally in the 2016 US presidential election. Jones frequently uses InfoWars to assert that new high-profile mass shootings are conspiracies or "false flag" operations, claims which are often then spread. This has been characterized as Second Amendment "fan fiction".
Infowars has published and promoted fake news, and Jones has been accused of knowingly misleading people to make money. As part of the FBI's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, Infowars was investigated to see if it was complicit in the disseminating of fake news stories put out by Russian bots.
From May 2014 to November 2017, InfoWars republished articles from multiple sources without permission, including over 1,000 from Russian state-sponsored news network RT, as well as a smaller number of stories[quantify] from news outlets such as CNN, the BBC, and The New York Times.
Claims of false flag school shootings
InfoWars has regularly accused mass shootings of being false flags and survivors of them as crisis actors by the United States government. InfoWars host Alex Jones has promoted the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories. Jones was widely criticized for claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was "completely fake" and "manufactured".
In March 2018, six families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as well as an FBI agent who responded to the attack filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones for his role in spreading conspiracy theories about the shooting.
Harassment by InfoWars viewership
InfoWars promoted fabricated Pizzagate claims. The fake claims led to harassment of the owner and employees of Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C. pizzeria targeted by the conspiracy theories, including threatening phone calls, online harassment, and death threats. The owner sent a letter to Jones in February 2017 demanding a retraction or apology. (Such a letter is required before a party may seek punitive damages in an action for libel under Texas law).
After receiving the letter, Jones issued an apology in March 2017. Alex Jones said that "I want our viewers and listeners to know that we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had on Mr. Alefantis, Comet Ping Pong, or its employees. We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be construed as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing." InfoWars also issued a correction on its website.
InfoWars reporter Owen Shroyer also targeted East Side Pies, a group of pizza restaurants in Austin, Texas, with similar fake "Pizzagate" claims. Following the claims, the pizza business was targeted by phone threats, vandalism, and harassment, which the co-owners called "alarming, disappointing, disconcerting and scary."
In 2017, InfoWars (along with similar sites) published a fake story about U.S. yogurt manufacturer Chobani, with headlines including "Idaho yogurt maker caught importing migrant rapists" and "Allegations that Chobani's practice of hiring refugees brought crime and tuberculosis to Twin Falls". Chobani ultimately filed a federal lawsuit against Jones, which led to a settlement on confidential terms in May 2017. Jones offered an apology and retraction, admitting that he had made "certain statements" on InfoWars "that I now understand to be wrong".
Sexual harassment and antisemitism claims
Two former employees filed complaints against Jones.
Removals from other websites
On July 27, 2018, Facebook suspended the official page of pundit and political commentator Alex Jones for 30 days. The website claims that Jones participated in hate speech against Robert Mueller. This was swiftly followed by action from other bodies- on August 6, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify all removed content by Alex Jones and InfoWars from their platforms for violating their policies. YouTube removed channels associated with Infowars, including The Alex Jones Channel, which had gained 2.4 million subscriptions prior to its removal. On Facebook, four pages associated with InfoWars and Alex Jones were removed due to repeated violations of the website's policies. Apple removed all podcasts associated with Jones from its iTunes platform and its podcast app. On August 13, Vimeo removed all of Jones' videos because they "violated our terms of service prohibitions on discriminatory and hateful content".
Jones' accounts have also been removed from Pinterest, MailChimp and LinkedIn. As of early August, Jones still had active accounts on Instagram and Twitter. Twitter, however, ultimately decided to permanently deactivate Jones' account as well as the InfoWars account in September 2018.
Jones tweeted a Periscope video calling on others "to get their battle rifles ready against antifa, the mainstream media, and Chicom operatives". In the video he also says, "Now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag." Twitter cited this as the reason to suspend his account for a week on August 14. On September 6, Twitter permanently banned InfoWars and Alex Jones for repeated violations of the site's terms and conditions. Twitter cited abusive behavior, namely a video that "shows Jones shouting at and berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes during congressional hearings about social media." On September 7, 2018, the Infowars app was removed from the Apple App Store. On September 20, 2018, PayPal informed InfoWars that they would cease processing payments in 10 days. The reason cited was that Infowars' "promotion of hate and discrimination runs counter to our core value of inclusion."
Alex Jones is the main host, and operator of InfoWars. The show is a platform for other hosts as well.
In July 2016, Shroyer stopped CNN presenter Van Jones in the streets of Cleveland and attempted to engage him in an unscheduled on-camera debate. Van Jones participated willingly, and put forward well-constructed arguments, leading Shroyer to admit his opinion of Van Jones had changed favorably following the encounter.
On September 2, 2017, while covering a pro-immigrant rally that took place in Austin, Texas, for InfoWars, Shroyer repeatedly put questions to protesters. He started to question a teenager, Olivia Williams, about her views. She, in return, called him a "fucking idiot", leading to international coverage of the incident.
In November 2017, Shroyer was quoted as saying that Trump supporters outnumbered anti-Trump protesters at an antifa rally held in Austin on November 4, 2017. Infowars headlines had previously supported a conspiracy theory that the event would be the beginning of a planned "insurgency" against Trump, although Shroyer had said he did not believe antifa was a real threat.
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