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What we really learned from the disastrous legal deposition of Alex Jones in the Sandy Hook case

Commentary

Alex Jones was recently forced to answer questions for 3 hours about his conspiracy media coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre. This is evidence gathering during the pre-trial phase for a number of lawsuits in which parents of the Sandy Hook victims accuse Jones of profiting from reckles reports or even outright lies about the event having been staged with actors.

There will likely be a landmark ruling concerning the limits and the minimum standards of investigative reporting. It is nothing new that investigative reporters get sued, but the laws are outdated and lag behind the fast developements of the internet, where everything is really blurry, crazy, emotional and fast.

Without a landmark ruling, we simply don’t know yet whether Alex Jones’ shoddy second hand reporting was within the boundaries of free speech and other laws.

We learned several things from the deposition:

  • Infowars didn’t really investigate Sandy Hook themselves, despite Alex Jones publicly claiming he did “deep research”. They relied on second hand info from Youtubers and weird personalities like Wolfgang Halbig. During the deposition Alex Jones was confronted with evidence that was easy to obtain and which debunked outright what Jones had viewed as gross anomalies and as very suspicious about the shooting. Infowars has a multimillion dollar budget and could have been reasonably expected to invest appropriate resources to investigate Sandy Hook.
  • Alex Jones is willing to throw everybody else under the bus. Numerous times he blamed people like Halbig, Dan Bidondi, employees and ex-employees. He had to admit the he is the boss of his company and ultimately responsible. Infowars emails will shed more light on to the question of when exactly and why exacly Jones disengaged from Bidondi and Halbig.
  • Jones’ chief reporter, Paul Joseph Watson, strongly disliked the Sandy Hook reporting of Infowars and urged Jones to stay away from the topic. Watson recommended to handle this case with extreme caution and urged that nobody should harrass the Sandy Hook parents. He even threatened to quit his job.
  • Alex Jones’ lawyers objected to virtually all of the questions. If that is going to help them later is unclear.
  • Alex Jones repeatedly gave evasive answers, criticized that clips of him were “edited” and “out of context”. He even played word games and claimed that the meaning of his past words was different and harmless. At some point he asked the lawyer deposing him to clarify the meaning of the word “staged” because Jones even denies ever calling the event outright fake as a statement of fact.
  • Several times he seemed to be clashing with logic and the contents of several affidavits. If a judge rules that he lied, he will get punished for lying in a deposition.
  • We learned that besides the Free Speech Systems LLC there is another Jones company called Infowars LLC. It is unclear why questions were asked about this but Alex appeared terrified.
  • Alex strongly denied the most elementary accusations against him: That he made statements of facts instead of speculating, that his reports have been hurtful to the parents, that he profited off his reports, that he might have directly or indirectly encouraged people to confront the parents etc. He kept repeating that he was reporting lawfully and unfortunately relied on faulty information from other people. At the end of the deposition Jones made a murky statement that sometimes people claim to be hurt when they aren’t. This prompted a request for clarification. Jones insinuated an orchestrated campaign against him to which the Sandy Hook lawyer replied that Jones paints himself to be the victim in this whole affair.
  • When Alex was confronted with his other claims of other events being staged and fake, he became very uncomfortable. If this line of questioning is continued at some point it might appear that he plays fast and loose on a regular basis and this might be ruled as reckless. Jones defended his reporting on other cases, but later claimed he was almost psychotic in the past and believed all kinds of things were staged and fake.
  • He claimed a form of psychosis and inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. This was more of a throwaway line and likely not an insanity plea. He simply argued that he was under extreme work stress, the mainstream media and government had lied too much about things and he was deceived by internet conspiracy propaganda to believe everything was staged and a conspiracy.
  • Jones repeatedly stated that Sandy Hook was a tiny fraction of the topics he covered on the show. But he had to be aware that it was an important case and that mistakes could have serious consequences. Jones also repeatedly stated that almost all of his show consists of commenting on what is already in the news. But how can a multimillion dollar media outlet claim to be investigative but then rely on weak sources from elsewhere?

The Sandy Hook lawyers want to prove reckless disregard for the truth and/or outright lying. The deposition gave them the opportunity to unmask the incompetence and shoddy reporting at the Infowars office as well as the weird decision making. We learned from Jones’ earlier court case against his ex-wife that he is narcissistic and in this new deposition he was trying so hard to paint his Sandy Hook reports as legitimate or an hinest mistake that some people might call this “gaslighting”, a term used for narcissistic behavior during an argument.

Jones now has to submit a lot of emails and other communications next and the Syndy Hook lawyers will sift through the contents for more evidence and possible contradictions with what Jones said in the deposition. We will also likely see qustioning of Jones’ employees or former employees to get a better picture of what Jones really thought about Sandy Hook, how much or how little effort he spent to verify his public claims and how the demands of his audience influenced his decision making.

People in the Infowars audience think the get the truth from the program but what they are actually getting is a lot of ranting from an unqualified man who does not seem to understand a lot of how secret operations are conducted or can logically be conducted. Jones mentioned repeatedly non existing WMDs and the baby incubator hoax about Iraq to justify his critical questioning of the events of Sandy Hook. He should have been asked if he can produce one historical case of a public mass shooting being staged with actors. Not even Operation Northwoods comes close to this because the ideas tossed around in the Northwoods plan required that key information be kept secret within a small close circle.

You simply cannot stage a shooting in a public well known location with actors and have hundreds of police, rescue service members and other witnesses running around. There would be too many people in the know and you can’t surveill all of them for years to come. How would you surveill them? With hundreds of agents? Who would like to know why they are surveilling average folks who were involved in the events of Sandy Hook? It takes about 20 agents to provide total surveillance of a person. Even if you lower your standards it would still require too many resources.

Not only is the scenario of a staged Sandy Hook shooting with actors illogical, but there are so many events that have been called fake by Jones and others. So the most illogical kind of operation supposedly happens all the time which would make certain that something would leak at some point.

Politically, conservatives hate shootings because it gives the Democrats the opportunity to attack the 2nd Amendment. It is legitimate to point out when Democrats try to explain a criminal case with ideology and try to use the event in accordance with their ideology. It is legitimate to include several scenarios in your media investigation. But is has to be done properly. That is the job. If Infowars can’t do the job they signed up for they need to quit. If they report on too many cases they need to focus on specific ones.

When a shooting happens and the shooter has a history of mental illness, medications, violence and/or threats, you can investigate a possible scenario that involves an illegal operation. It is easy to go through databases, find a suitable candidate, break into his home and poison his toothbrush with chemicals to make him even more unstable. But these things are ultra-hard to prove.

This could be the downfall of Infowars and it could have different consequences. Either independent reporters will up their game and make sure they don’t have to financially rely on telling their audience what it wants to hear. Or independent reportes will go on as usual and retreat to the darker corners of the internet where only very little money can be made.

If there is no money and fame in it, many will lose interest in pusuing those jobs.

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