Conspiracism, Right Wing Populism and Alex Jones

Art by Andy B. Clarkson / Kenny’s Sideshow

The following column by John Zorabedian on the mushrooming and quite frightening growth of “conspiracism” was passed along to us by Carl Davidson. It was first published on Examiner.com on April 11, 2009. After that, we post a related feature by Zorabedian, from April 9, 2009, on Austin conspiracy meister Alex Jones, that is followed by some vitriolic reactions from Jones fans — and then a video trailer of Alex Jones’ film, “The Obama Deception.”

Thorne Dreyer / The Rag Blog / April 26, 2009

‘The conspiracy theorists, notably radio host and filmmaker Alex Jones, propose that President Obama is the frontman for a shadowy group of financiers who are pulling the strings, preparing to enslave the population through domestic surveillance and military-style policing, in the name of protecting their global empire — a New World Order.’

By John Zorabedian / April 11, 2009

See ‘Alex Jones exploits fear and populism, stokes paranoia and rage,’ By John Zorabedian, and a Video trailer from ‘The Obama Deception‘ by Alex Jones, Below.

Populist sentiment has reached feverish levels in recent months, as the economy melted down and the culprits, Wall Street bankers, walked away with millions in bonuses. The response to the global financial crisis has only added fuel to the fire, raising fears of one world government among a subculture of conspiracists and right-wing populists.

The conspiracy theorists, notably radio host and filmmaker Alex Jones, propose that President Obama is the frontman for a shadowy group of financiers who are pulling the strings, preparing to enslave the population through domestic surveillance and military-style policing, in the name of protecting their global empire — a New World Order.

But although Jones claims in his film The Obama Deception that the new president has long been groomed for his role as demagogue and enforcer of the new regime, the consiracy theory has had a long life of its own. Obama is a convenient vessel for their beliefs about our government.

The conspiracist, who is a believer in secret plots by select elites, oftentimes Jews, is a political type that has a long tradition in the United States. According to Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, a think tank that studies right-wing social movements, conspiracism “is woven deeply into US culture and the process appears not just on the political right but in center and left constituencies as well.”

Berlet’s research underscores the importance of underlying emotions among the population — the scapegoating of minorities and fears of social and economic unrest — for conspiracy theories to take hold in the popular imagination. What adds to a conspiracy’s appeal is the apparent basis in fact of many of the conspiracists assertions.

The conspiracist “makes irrational leaps of logic in analyzing factual evidence in order to ‘prove’ connections, blames social conflicts on demonized scapegoats, and constructs a closed metaphysical worldview that is highly resistant to criticism,” Berlet explains.

For an example of how Jones’s websites distort facts to make these conspiracy theories seem like valid arguments, see my post Infowars.com claims Obama uses “mind control,” scientists say hogwash.

What makes these theories and fears so compelling to so many people is what also makes them dangerous to a rational society and potentially leads to violence. Berlet writes: “When conspiracist scapegoating occurs, the results can devastate a society, disrupting rational political discourse and creating targets who are harassed and even murdered.”

Mass movements

Something else, though, is stirring in our political discourse that resembles a mass movement. It consist of disaffected conservatives, many of whom feel abondoned by the Republican Party, some loyal to Rep. Ron Paul, others devoted followers of right-wing talk hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and others devoted to “nonpartisans” like Alex Jones.

Through meet-ups and social networking around events like the Tax Day Tea Parties being organized around the country, these groups, with members who, in some cases, share the worldview of the conspiracists and doomsday Rapturists, are forming a mass movement similar in its base of support to the militia movement of the 1990s.

Mass movements have also produced many positive, progressive changes in our society — the civil rights movement, to name just one. But mass movements also attract and give force to people whose normally antisocial tendencies produce something more fanatical and driven overall by hatred and fear.

The social theorist Eric Hoffer, in his 1951 book “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements,” explains that the fanatic joins a mass movement to escape his own inadequacy and frustration. Through hatred of outsiders, secret elites, minorites, Jews and one’s own failures, a mass movement coalesces.

Hoffer writes: “[T]he chief preoccupation of an active mass movement is to instill in its followers a facility for united action and self-sacrifice … by stripping each human entity of its distinctness and autonomy and turning it into an an anonymous particle with no will and no judgment of its own.”

The movement is not only unified in its drive and purpose, but it is homogenous in its convictions and intolerant of dissent or criticism of itself or its leaders.

Source / Examiner.com / Posted April 11, 2009

Conspiracy freak/radio personality Alex Jones.

Alex Jones exploits fear and populism, stokes paranoia and rage

By John Zorabedian / April 9, 2009

Radio host Alex Jones has one thing in common with his nemesis President Barack Obama; both men are masters of viral web 2.0 propaganda. Jones’s documentary-style film The Obama Deception has burned up the internet since it dropped on March 15, and no one can tell how many millions will see the video as it spreads by email and blogs across the globe.

Jones’s popularity among followers of his websites is undisputable, and he has spawned an army of attackers who fan out across the web and push his line, much like Obama’s supporters did during his long campaign for the presidency.

Jones’s PrisonPlanet.com and related websites like Infowars.com post articles, blogs and videos for the media consuming public. These popular sites inspire mimickers who defend Jones and his theories to the hilt.

What exactly is the content of this message that inspires such ardent followers? For both President Obama and Jones, it is some kind of combined effect of their sheer media presence that is almost unidentifiable by the pieces of their media works alone. But some examples will help paint a picture.

The trailer for The Obama Deception shown below shows us how the tone of Jones’s voice gives weight to his words. When combined with crafty imagery, music and spliced together clips of video, Jones builds up extraordinary tension.

Watching this effective piece of filmmaking, it is hard not to have an emotional response–is it fear, hatred, anger, sadness, anxiety that we feel?

Jones’s style is not unlike right-wing tlak show hosts Rush Limbaugh or
Glenn Beck, who exploit similar emotions in their appeals to traditional values and outrage over moral failures. But Jones is not a conservative, and he does another thing well that resembles Obama’s success as well–he plays both sides of the debate to get everyone thinking the same thing.

Jones uses the film to rail against Wall Street, global finance and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to get everyone agreeing with something–things are really bad and the world is a terrible, dangerous place ruled by horrible men.

In this construct, President Obama is the perfect lynchpin to set off a firestorm of righteous, fearful anger. A black man from Chicago with a Muslim name and a Harvard Law degree, who came from nowhere to win the presidency in a year of chaotic disorde rin the financial markets, a new president who has had to rapidly acclimate himself and insinuate himself into the small cadre of powerful people who are running the show.

Obama’s European and Middle Eastern trip, like his last trip abroad, have had a dual effect. His supporters believe in him thoroughly, and his detractors find cause to dislike his every move.

Update: My humble effort to point out how Jones inspires fear and rage among his supporters spurred a torrent of comments from Jones fans, directed to this article by message boards on Infowars.com.

Rather than refute their claims to the contrary, I invite you to read their comments and assess the nature of their rhetoric and purpose of their comments for yourself.

Here are a few of the choicest ones (I have added emphasis where I believe it is useful):

TdoubleU says:
What you wrote about Alex will exploit fear populism, stokes of paranoia and rage towards you!
April 11, 2:08 PM

Pedro says:
I wish Alex Jones didnt have the job he has But unfortunately for us The globalist are Indeed Taking over and His network is tip of the Spear To kill this diabolical scum taking over.
April 10, 10:19 PM

Sovereignty Soldier says:
Are we fuming? Hell yeah. We are being forced into world government, we are being forced to lower our standard of living, we are being brainwashed from birth with propaganda. What the hell do you think we should feel. What am I supposed to leave my daughter? A world of slavery to pay debt to crooked bankers? Socialism? How about a world of eugenicists trying to kill her or sterilize her? What the hell is wrong with you journalists? Don’t you realize your gonna be victimized too. You are being used until no longer needed, then your a useless eater like us.
April 10, 9:39 PM

Sovereignty Soldier says:
Wow, alot of my fellow Americans are awake here. Good! RIP corporate media, go away, we hate you and your lies. Can you feel anger and hate directed to you. Independent and foreign press is the wave of the future. Hope you lose your “journalism” job, your home, and your ability to feed yourself you globalist traitor!
April 10, 5:47 PM

fukyu says:
it amazes me this guy was ignorant enough to say alex promotes fear and rage when the rage comes from the acts of our so called “president” and the fear that we all feel comes from the direction this country has gone in the last 9 years. and to top it all off this guy brings up the fact that our president is supposedly black(for all u idiots out there hes only 6.3% black,50% white n 43.7% muslim if u dont believe it do his geneology) and “he came out of nowhere”….you mean nowhere like being groomed for his position by kissinger for the last 20+ years……..i was just as happy everyone else was when america was actually able to elect what the people thought was an african american president…but then come to find out he is neither african nor american leaves a pretty bitter taste……alex jones always promotes peaceful solutions…journalists should do actual research before spouting defamatory statements…….oh wait i forgot you’re not a journalist,you’re a propagandist………..so i guess the NWO doesnt exist when they are announcing it all over the main stream media, WTC building 7 collapsed due to a fire on several floors when the 50+ story tower in beijing which was completely engulfed in flames didnt, and 12.8 trillion dollars was not funneled out of the economy into off shore banks(make sure u tell bloomberg….or does bloomberg not exist either)
April 10, 2:59 PM

LogicRealityTruth says:
RE: Matt said it very will above.

Alex, by telling us that scary things are being done in our good name, is not the cause of our fear.

That’s like calling Paul Revere a “fear-mongerer”.

“nah, the brittish aren’t coming, you’re just a paranoid conspiracy nut!”

Oh, and to BB, Alex lives very modestly for the amount of profit he actual brings in. He then cycles that money into making better films and expanding the reach of them. He makes more documentaries and gives them to the world for free!

I deeply respect Alex’s integrity as a peaceful humanitarian.

If you hear Alex talk about violence, it’s when he predicts that the NWO will force us to defend ourselves, which according to our Nation’s founding documents and principles, we most certainly WILL DEFEND OURSELVES.
April 10, 2:16 PM

rick smith says:
Hay John the d_ck,
Have you noticed that most comments are AGAINST you and your trash writeding. Your nobody!! Your a CON– Alex is a true patriot.

John go F__k Your self.
April 10, 2:12 PM

Shannon says:
You come to Me carrying the heads of Kings threatening my people with death and slavery. You insult my Queen. This is Sparta (kick in the stomach to the messenger, soldiers kill the escorts and down into the bottomless pit they go) Does anybody remember the movie 300?
April 10, 1:47 PM

Jan says:
You better believe I’m angry. I’m angry that people like you – who consider themselves “journalists” – slander and malign others because you don’t agree. I’m angry that America has been hijacked and you’re helping them. I’m angry because I know that nothing will be done to change it – also you are not helping. God help you take the blinders off your eyes and look into the Hell that America has been thrown into because unethical “elected” officials. WAKE UP!
April 10, 12:38 PM

Source Examiner.com

Trailer — ‘The Obama Deception’ by Alex Jones

The Rag Blog

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5 Responses to Conspiracism, Right Wing Populism and Alex Jones

  1. Anonymous says:

    John Foster “Chip Berlet” ?
    Hahaha.

  2. Mary says:

    What bothers me most about the Alex Jones propaganda is his intentional and/or unintentional deceptions. FIRST – that he had the nerve to actually alter Obama’s website in his Obama Deception film to make it say something entirely different from what it said about community service. To try and scare people into thinking Obama was starting “work camps” when it was actually a Peace Corp type opportunity to students to earn college credit or money for college by volunteering (NOT forced servitude, Alex) Isn’t that libel or slander Alex is engaging in by actually altering what is on a website to make a false case fo his own movie – I dont think you can do that ? Alex needs to be sued or prosecuted for it. He ACTUALLY displayed in his film an altered page of the Obama website. You can freeze frame the Alex Jones Obama Deception photo of the website on your TV and then compare it with the actual Obama website page (which by the way has NOT been changed by Obama or scrubbed as they are trying to say now to cover their own deception) How RIDICULOUS and how EVIL Alex is to lie like that. Also, Alex made a fool of himself again with his lack of facts in his “debate” with Noam Chomsky where he tried to say England has recently outlawed guns. Chomsky tried to tell him that guns has been illegal to carry for a long time in England (not even the cops in England carried them) and Alex insisted that he was right (he was WRONG) and then went into a Rush Limbaugh style tirade against Chomsky on his radio show. BEWARE, when you watch or listen to Alex Jones. He mixes lies and non facts with Truth. Sometimes purposely and sometimes I guess just from his own ignorance. Sorry, since I have a Masters in Critical Sociology and work everyday to encourage students to wake up and be vigilant about corruption in our government, business and military industrial prison complex., I like the fact that Alex exposes some of the wrongs in our government HOWEVER his reputation and reliability for honest journalism and honest investigaton, truth telling and fact finding really falters when he deceives truth seekers. The TRUTH is enough and the TRUTH is the only thing that will set people free Alex. Lies and fear mongering will only confust and enslave people further. It’s also really unfortunate that he is attracting so many racists and loons. UGH. My neighbors son in law watches those documentaries and is so angry and confused he doesn’t know what to do. Sometimes I wonder if Alex is subversively trying to lay the ground for some kind of race war or civil war which will ultimately result in a true fascist takeover (the very thing he says he is warning people about) Hitler looked very nationalistic and purely German at first too. Clever – things are not always what they seem. One bad sign is when a lot of racists who think they hold the only true “American” ideals gather around what any person or movement is promoting. A really bad sign. Watch out, be carefuly, unless you are a true hater yourself – if you are not an angry racist and a hater, you need to be very careful of those who are addicted to Alex Jones films. Just take the few truths that he does expose and DISCARD the rest !

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mary, I’ve been listening to Alex Jones for awhile, not because I agree with what he says but because I am researching the growing conspiracism in America. I agree with all of what you say until the ending when you call Alex Jones a white supremacist and similar to Hitler. Though Alex engages in ridiculous amounts of slander on a regular basis, you should not sink to that level without hard evidence.

  4. The Internet alters political power. As Scott Brown (the newly-elected US Senator from the state of Massachusetts) demonstrated, web tools enable populist messages to rise like wildfire and overturn the better-funded establishment. The latest example of a Web populist underdog winning a measure of advantage over a powerful adversary is Hillary Machinery Inc. This mom-and-pop business is locked in a strange lawsuit with PlainsCapital Bank, a much larger business. What do you think? –Ben

  5. Thank you to the Rag Blog for publishing my writing for all to see.

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