Alex Jones: Exploitation Through Conservative Buzzwords


Conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host Alex Jones is currently in the midst of a defamation trial as a result of his statements regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Daniella Terilli, Contributing Writer

Notorious conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host Alex Jones is currently in the midst of a defamation trial as a result of his statements regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. If you haven’t heard of Jones’s comments, he began claiming the shooting was a hoax within hours of the tragedy. 

For nearly a decade, Jones continued this crusade and insisted that the shooting was “staged” by the government and a ploy “engineered to interfere with Second Amendment rights.” This appalling rhetoric somehow worsened recently when Jones asserted that he is “done being sorry” for his actions during the trial in Connecticut. When it comes to free speech, there is a line. And Jones crossed it a long time ago. 

This isn’t a declaration that Jones should be imprisoned for his statements on Sandy Hook. Free speech is an incredibly valuable right granted to us by the Constitution, and it shouldn’t be limited just because others may disagree with what one says. However, Jones’ commentary on Sandy Hook falls way beyond freedom of speech. He lied to millions of listeners and incited his fans to harass the families of murdered children. 

Jones specifically slammed Robbie Parker, whose six-year-old daughter was killed at Sandy Hook, telling his audience that Parker was a crisis actor and calling his emotional tribute to his daughter “disgusting.” Jones’ targeting of Parker led to believers of the hoax sending the family online abuse and death threats, as well as an incident where someone even verbally attacked Parker in public, years after the shooting. Freedom of speech doesn’t equal freedom from consequences, and Jones should absolutely have to pay restitution to the families he defamed. 

Even during these ongoing trials, Jones’ behavior shows a grave lack of accountability. He has recently made inane references to China and “struggle sessions” and claimed the families’ lawyers are part of “the liberals who killed Iraqis.” At this point, I don’t think Jones is even attempting to make an actual argument; he’s merely deflecting to random topics and conservative buzzwords to avoid taking responsibility for his behavior. Jones knows that people who hold the same ideologies as him will hear “China” and “liberals” and immediately take his side based on their preformed views. Thus, Jones is able to retain support, even with his vile sentiments on full display. 

This readiness to agree with Jones as he deflects his responsibility certainly points to a significant and concerning trend: many people are quick to back others they assume align with their opinions without fully looking into situations and doing their own research. Jones knows what he’s doing. His acknowledgment that the shooting was real becomes hollow once he follows it up by saying, “I legitimately thought it might have been staged and I stand by that. I don’t apologize for it.” Paying damages to those affected by the Sandy Hook shooting might be the only way for Jones to grasp that lying to millions of people and making light of the mass murder of young children is unacceptable.

We should also address this story’s huge, glaring irony; one that I’m not sure Jones or his supporters are aware of. Jones asserted that the government orchestrated a hoax (the shooting) in order to further its political agenda (stronger gun control laws). But Jones was actually the one to perpetuate a lie to further his agenda (full Second Amendment support).

The obvious irony of Jones’ lies would be comical if the subject matter weren’t so heartbreaking. When you couple Jones’ hypocrisy with the fact that he profited $165 million while spreading misinformation about Sandy Hook, the entire situation becomes even more grotesque. 

The pain that Jones caused grieving parents on top of their already devastating losses is horrendous. I can’t express it any better than Jennifer Hensel, the mother of six-year-old Avielle who was killed at Sandy Hook, did with her testimony. Conspiracy theorists accused Hensel of helping the government fake the shooting and that Avielle was still alive. Hensel’s response: “God, if she were, wouldn’t that be amazing?” 

Jones’s role in exploiting these families is simply unforgivable. To subject these families to harassment and vitriol after what they have already been through is soulless beyond what words can describe. Jones deserves to pay whatever amount the courts order as a fair punishment, and even then, it won’t be nearly enough to make up for his actions.

Daniella Terilli, GSB ’24, is a marketing major from Westchester, NY.