With “Disinfo Wars” Project Censored Abandons Principles 120

Project Censored (PC), the news criticism organization made up of scholars, journalists, and activists that annually researches and selects stories overlooked or ignored by mainstream news media, has recently published a lengthy article on its website, titled, “Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones’ War on Your Mind,” by Nolan Higdon.[1]

The piece argues that Jones is comparable to a nineteenth century false prophet touting the imminent return of Christ; a figure prone to perennial error whose “reporting is vast in focus and lacking in evidence.” The bombastic Jones, the argument goes, besmirches more sober inquiry into the power elite, even suggesting that the talk show host, activist and news impresario may be part of a larger counterintelligence program that works in tandem with corporate media to delegitimize other independent inquiry and activism centering on deep events like 9/11.

Jones is a skilled interviewer who covers very important topics with an array of knowledgeable guests. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has allowed him to cultivate a sizable audience. He is also, no doubt, an often irksome on-air presence who is prone to Howard Beale-like outbursts and far-reaching streams of thought that sharply contrast with accepted modes of reportorial technique. Further, he is a steadfast advocate of just about everything haunting the psyches of those who identify themselves as Progressives—gun ownership, skepticism of “climate science,” a critical stance on US immigration policy, and, yes, a preoccupation with revealing a shadowy transnational elite.

If one is to accept the lofty assessment of certain thinkers who speak from their positions in academe and policy-forging bodies, Jones also epitomizes the chest-thumping libertarian survivalist, who thus invariably possesses a “crippled epistemology”—evident in the alleged hodge-podge of conspiracy theories he espouses and promotes.[2] Yet it is questionable whether these disingenuous taxonomies are at all helpful in assessing an individual’s capacity to produce worthwhile journalism.

Even if Higdon’s appraisal of Jones as a journalistic charlatan can bear scrutiny, the broader concern is that PC has chosen to abandon its own essential impartiality to assail one of its own honorees.[3] After all, the organization’s unambiguous stance in evaluating and designating important news produced by alternative media involves the avoidance of what essentially amounts to political prejudice that could itself lead to … well, censorship.

I have been an admirer of Project Censored for almost twenty years. Their style of media criticism served as an inspiration for my pursuing a career academe, and I have been more than thrilled to contribute to PC’s most recent yearbooks. Thus the notion that the entity would lash out at any public figure in such a fashion is troubling. Further, the article underscores what may be a less apparent problem, specifically how the organization’s criteria for evaluating the news can be compromised by subtle biases that may elude its own field of vision.

“Disinfo Wars” fails to distinguish between Jones’ on-air antics and Infowars’ journalism. It thereby proceeds to indict an alternative news outfit that often produces timely and well-researched stories on a host of topics regularly ignored or misrepresented by mainstream outlets—indeed, material that falls squarely within PC’s own criteria for “censored news.”[4]

This is because the faculty and students partaking in Project Censored’s nomination process exercise a bit of their own censorship that is not entirely intentional. This is either done subconsciously by researchers who recognize the “dangerous” survivalist or otherwise “alarming” features and themes of outlets perceived as similar to Infowars. Or, they partially acknowledge the merit of the issues addressed in these journalistic venues but under the perceived threat of informal censure dismiss such entries out-of-hand as “conspiracy theorizing” or otherwise politically incorrect. Efforts such as Higdon’s can only further ensconce the cloistered worldview that facilitates such practices.[5]

Regardless of a news outlet’s political foundations, if the material it produces is fundamentally sound and fits PC’s criteria for censored news, these methods are censorial in nature and fundamentally undermine the institution’s stated mission, credibility, and broader vitality going forward.

With this in mind, “Disinfo Wars” suggests that in a growing field of alternative news media producing important work from a variety of political perspectives, PC’s leadership has taken the low road in dealing with a difficult and unacknowledged discrepancy in its own political predilections and evaluative processes. Failing to concede this and seeking to maintain an air of impartiality, it now derogates a media personage and outlet producing undeniably important work that is at least as concerned and focused on corruption in high places, threats to civil liberties, and an extremely dangerous American foreign policy as the journalism generated by the array of Progressive news media PC increasingly tends to celebrate.

Most disturbingly, Higdon’s contention that Jones is a fanatical and deceptive soothsayer is based largely on the work of writers such as Alex Seitz-Wald, Jeremy Stahl, Mark Potok, Alexander Zaitchik, and Jonathan Kay, media personalities like Rachel Maddow, and dubious if not defamatory websites including “RationalWiki” and “AlexJonesDebunked.”

The stock-and-trade of these figures and entities is mobilizing the “conspiracy theory” smear to delegitimize specific individuals and ideas–a technique that Higdon contradictorily suggests is essentially a pincher movement vis-à-vis Jones’ wild exploits. Yet here Seitz-Wald, Stahl, Potok and their cohorts constitute the foundation for the stream of invective directed at Jones.[6]

While “Disinfo Wars” singles out Jones as a principal cause of the truth movement’s narrowed legitimacy, we would be well-served to look a bit closer to home. A foremost reason that Jones’ research and activism on 9/11 have come to occupy center stage is the vacuum created by the overall timidity or disinterest of Progressive-Left scholars and public intellectuals toward 9/11 and similar phenomena. Such indifference long-preceded the popularity of Infowars, inadvertently served the Bush-Cheney cabal, and has only been perpetuated by Obama’s illusory leadership. It also remains a strong (albeit indirect) contributor to the continued mayhem throughout the Middle East.

For close to four decades Project Censored has been a significant and largely impartial signal of hope that highlights the fundamental importance of news and information to democracy and a more just world. It cannot fulfill that noble purpose by adapting the malicious and unfair methods routinely used by corporate media to assail public figures and their viewpoints. Rather, it should more forthrightly address potentially suppressive practices in its own undertakings that serve to limit a fair and accurate evaluation of contributions from all alternative news media regardless of their political bearings.

Notes

[1] Nolan Higdon, “Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones War on Your Mind,” Projectcensored.org, September 2013.

[2] Cass Sunstein, “How Voters Can Escape From Information Cocoons,” Bloomberg.com, September 3, 2012.

[3] “Censored Story #2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty,” “Secret Patriot II Destroys Remaining U.S. Liberty,” Alex Jones/Infowars.com, in Peter Phillips and Project Censored, Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Stories, New York: Seven Stories Press, 38-41.

[4] The same may be said of the journalism from more beyond-the-pale news vehicles like Activist Post.com and Intellihub.com. Yet increasingly pieces that are seen as falling outside of the Left alternative media circuit appear at best infrequently among PC story nominations.

[5] PC’s tendency toward a more explicit politicization is evident, for example, in its nomination of reportage on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2013 Report, “Hate Groups and Antigovernment Groups on the Rise in US,” as a Top Censored Story. “Censored Story #5: Hate Groups and Antigovernment Groups on Rise in US,” ProjectCensored.org, September 2013. I have questioned the soundness of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s methods and overall trustworthiness elsewhere. See, for example, “Extremist Publicity and Historical Reality,” MemoryHoleBlog.com, March 14, 2013.

[6] Such figures also sit uneasily alongside the names of respected scholars like Peter Phillips, Lance deHaven-Smith, and Kathryn Olmsted.

-JFT

About these ads

120 comments

  1. Wahoo! James Tracy just hit a grand slam over the wall, way up into the cheap seats! Read his dissertation with rapt attention and it resonated to the bone. Beautifully said with just the right touch of passion laced with grounded rationality.

    Alex Jones is often infuriating, but one cannot deny the splendor in the mass of exposed MSM-generated poppycock. Independent of his coming, I began awakening to the schism between real and invented events before Jones reached Kindergarten. I was jolted into an unsettling realization by the book, “The People Shapers” by author/social critic, Vance Packard, way back in the mid-seventies. Piece-by-piece, the puzzle came into focus; my journey to the light began in earnest. Once bitten by truth, there is no turning back.

    This realm of consciousness is no place for the timid of heart. We all have biases and an agenda. I just want to make sure I weed out the wheat from the chaff and am honest with myself. It is easy to get sucked in by the undertow of popular culture–the pull is almost irrestible.

  2. One issue that stood out greatly that made me question Alex Jones true intent was his absolute REFUSAL to cover Sandy Hook. He simply refused to speak about it, there were minimal articles posted and I remember seeing a Paul Watson video actually addressing this point, because Jones’ followers were clearly unhappy that Jones never covered it.

    When Jones finally spoke of it, it was in “alleged” “perpetrators” couched vague PR speak.

    I use his site as a source for facts, but do not place ANY faith in his “opinions.”

  3. I am not familiar with project censored. Their critique does seem illegitimate. That doesn’t excuse Alex Jones. He frequently hosts guests like Larry Charles, who explained to Jones of the Boston Marathon 2013 event, “Bombing things—that’s what Muslims do.” Charles has returned as a guest since. He also hosts someone named Joesph Farah, whose work in counter intelligence is documented in an article by Tony Cartalucci entitled, “Joseph Farah – Neo-Con, Cognitive Infiltrator” (http://landdestroyer.blogspot.ca/2012/10/joseph-farah-neo-con-cognitive.html). Unlike the “hit piece” on Jones by PC, Cartalucci brings to light Farah’s associations, which are damning and hardly qualify him to provide honest analysis. Cartalucci has been featured on Infowars.com numerous times but we had to look elsewhere to see this particular piece.

    Then you have lobbyist Joel Wallach and his touch-and-go “supplements”, Jerome Corsi (who, reportedly, could be found on the Romeny campaign plane in 2012) and his tireless (largely pointless) search for Obama’s father, and a steady stream of Infowars guests that clearly add nothing but confusion (“clear as mud”). Let us not forget the foolish support for Ron Paul, who clearly is not on the same frequency as your typical truther and who, frankly speaking, comes off as a conman.

    It’s true that the left likes to imagine they are enlightened as they stare at reflections on the cave wall. The typical man or woman of left political ideology cannot be bothered to care about a total war, about the increasingly visible signs of tyranny in the West, or about the metal particles in the air they breathe; they are too busy thinking they heard someone utter a racial slur or that a homosexual wasn’t liked enough in Russia—on “Facebook”. These people are an embarrassment. It’s humiliating to share space with them.

    I’ll go one further step than Tracy on the consequences of the left’s indifference on 9/11. I believe the Iraq war would have been prevented if a few of their louder voices were heard publically discussing controlled demolitions. Images of casino demolitions juxtaposed to the WTC demolitions, etc could have entirely drowned out the war drums. Instead, we had to listen to leftist critics get bounced around like basketballs, wasting time debating the farcical issue of “WMDs”. By mimicking tv personalities were they pretending they were on tv: did they desire stardom? or were they just unable to see the trick of it? Who knows. We do know they have successfully prevented nothing, so far. On the other hand, some honestly about the identities of the monsters that have invaded Syria has been effective in delaying Syria’s destruction. And you can cite Infowars as a source.

    If you want to hear the dirt on false flags and dirty wars you might hear it first at infowars.com. But isn’t that only because infowars is the biggest beacon? The left’s inadequacy does not excuse libertarian failings. There are better sources. In the cases of the Boston Marathon 2013 media event and the Sandy Hook 2012 event, this very site was a better source. Perhaps Infowars could be better, too. Not with the likes of Joseph Farah and Larry Charles though.

    • I listen to Alex every day and can say with certainty that he never had a guy named Larry Charles on the show. Say what you will about Corsi, he is a rock solid investigator and provides incredibly important insight on Benghazi. You may think that the search for Obama’s actual birthplace is “useless,” but it’s not because Alex Jones isn’t working hard enough on the story — it’s because mainstream media refuses to cover the story.

      As for Sandy Hook, Heather is wrong. He’s covered it thoroughly on the site and on his show. Do a search on the site and you’ll find 434 articles on Sandy Hook. https://s3-us3.startpage.com/do/search?cmd=process_search&pid=9f262d6de164b91f6d6d7534b59b2e9a

      I see Professor Tracy and Alex Jones in a similar light (although their personas are vastly different). Alex is bombastic (“I’m just trying to wake people up”) because he has a sense of urgency and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. The COINTELPRO accusations feel like a psy-op and as Professor Tracy points out, it seems the people who are trying to discredit Alex are the ones who are trying to make YOU believe the official story of 9/11.

      • No psy-op here I will apologize if Jones turns out to be the real deal, I listened to his shows for many months and I’ve seen him interrupt people talking about putting out thousands of flyers and a number of other oddities coupled with the psychotic ranting almost every time he goes on MSM. So this is why I feel the way I do, but I do think 9-11 is an inside job for the record. I also care about the truth if enough to admit if I am wrong.

      • You are in some excellent company about 9-11. There are many engineers, a Canadian mathematician named Dewdney who used to do the puzzles for now-disinfo rag Scientific American, and even Ed Asner who like me find the three implosions of the day mighty suspicious. I might add that the passengers on the jets could never have used cell phones, but that would gild the lily. People who solve puzzles know it was a hoax. People who get that there are malefactors of great wealth steering the country also know it was a hoax. And there were many hoaxlets to follow, enough to make you dizzy and wondering if everything is a movie (it isn’t though – they want you to be disoriented because then they can keep on committing crimes and stealing). If you just look at it this way: the world has always been run by gangsters of one kind or another. Sometimes they really get the upper hand, as now. What we want is to prune them way back and stop them from turning the country into a third world dictatorship. History is all about this push pull. Keep pushing and don’t back down.

      • Bill Fred – stand and deliver. He’s a fraud because . . . ? Infowars was one of the first to put Professor Tracy on air after his report on Sandy Hook got him vilified by the likes of CNN’s Anderson CIA-ooper.

        Also, Bill Fred, the entire piece above by Prof. Tracy is largely a defense of Alex Jones’ alternative news reportage. So you think Prof. Tracy agrees with you?

      • uh . . . what? Both Prof Tracy and Alex Jones are villified by the MSM. So you think that means Jones is controlled opposition? This is when the concept of a psy-op BECOMES the psy-op. At that point, then nothing is real.

      • Perhaps Alex Jones himself will explain it better than either Kyle or I.

        Something about being cautious about strangers bearing gifts — although, actually, Alex refers the main ‘idea’ being touted by the PC article as the “turd in the punch bowl” effect.

        The man obviously has a talent for turning a phrase.

        And he obviously also agrees with the PC article’s over-riding thesis.

      • Sorry–the name I wanted to bring up is Larry Pratt. The point remains.

        If I were obsessed with Obama, the search for his father might be interesting. It is relevant that he’s a cia spook, as Wayne Madsen shows. But I don’t see what an obsession with Obama does for any particular cause. He’ll be gone soon and then what?

    • I don’t agree that the left is indifferent to 9/11, but I do agree that more prominent progressive writers have shown the same reluctance of prominent personalities of other political persuasions to put their “respectability” at risk by questioning the official narrative on 9/11 and other controversial topics related to conspiracies of the corporate state. Very few “respectable” media or political figures of the conservative/libertarian persuasion have taken that risk either, and those that have were immediately attacked and forced to retract their words. (Sarah Palin comes to mind, I’m sure there are other examples).

      This is the real crux of the problem on getting a half way honest hearing on the evidence pertaining to 9/11 and similar events. I have no doubt many prominent progressives such as Chris Hedges and Jeremy Scahill have a pretty good sense of these things, but also clearly understand that they would be roundly attacked, ridiculed, demonized, and “discredited”, left, right, and center – even by liberals such as Rachel Maddow – if they dare to step over certain lines. James Tracy is fully aware of how this works, aren’t you James? So writers, academics, and journalists have a pretty dismal choice – step carefully and restrict your criticism within certain parameters, or sacrifice your mantle of “respectability” and sacrifice your career for full integrity and freedom to express the truth on certain taboo topics. Politicians, if they wish to get elected to anything beyond statewide office (if that, in most cases) have no choice at all on this matter.

      • And simply because it is a bit of a stretch for some to believe that anyone akin to Alex Jones getting in on spreading the truth about 9/11 could actually impede the spreading of that truth, from the website “Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice,” under the section titled “Perception and Propaganda: Misinformation” :

        “Dubious Theories

        The vast majority of mainstream press articles that describe alternatives to the official narrative of the 9/11/01 attack do not seriously address anomalies and unanswered questions. Instead, they highlight unsupported or easily-refuted claims — the work of “conspiracy theorists” lacking critical thinking skills — and portray those as representative of all challenges to the official version of events.”

        source: http://stj911.org/perception/misinformation.html#history

        I get the impression that there may be a congruence of opinion between Project Censored and ‘The Scholars’ themselves.

        Sorry, Stuart, but in an oblique way I thought this sort of tied in with what you were saying, here. Perhaps this belongs somewhere else among all of these posts, or at least in couple of other places. But to be sparing and economical, I’ll just leave it here.

  4. I have to say that the comments section on this blog is becoming equally as nauseating as the bible thumping, sometimes racist, police and military defending misspelled comments on infowars.
    I just don’t get it. How can people be intuitive enough to see through the sandy hook hoax and boston etc. (and realize that there really were actors role playing the whole thing, at least the parts they have shown us) and still believe in global warming and think that killing your unborn children is merely a choice? I have fallen for that line of thinking before(twice) and no, it is much more than just a choice. It is a choice that will leave you with a sick empty feeling for the rest of your life if you are man enough to really acknowledge what you did.
    To call Jones or the right wing racist is absurd and is really just race baiting on your own part. Sure I think it might bother Jones deep down a little more that Obama pretends to be black than if it were some white SOB like bush, it does me too I think, but that is a far cry from being racist. I think that at least people occasionally got a chuckle out of w’s stupid antics/speech and the goofy ass look on his face when that guy threw a shoe at him. I can’t stand anything about obama, his looks, his voice, the cadence of his speech is just repulsive to me as it is with a lot of people. I think it is just part of being human that some things will bother you more than others, for some it might be a christian that really, really irritates you – does that make you a bigot? All I know is that Jakari Jackson is probably the classiest dude on the infowars crew – does that make me racist? You cant blame infowars for the comment section, it is filled with trolls and people from varied viewpoints. I watched how the republican party just went nuts for Herman Cain and if there were a black liberty minded candidate you can bet alex would support him. Instead we got buttstain Obama. You can bet the next president will be an even bigger pile of shizz.
    Alex certainly has his shortcomings, money grubbing, sucking up to celebrities, low self esteem/big ego and dancing around unpopular truths like crisis actors but he has woken up more people from their slumber than any other single person. some people follow him like lemmings and others like myself can barely stand to hear his voice anymore after listening to him for years, but he is really good at appealing to conservative leaning people, so good that all the phonies on the right try to emulate him in their own ways. His performance on Piers was fantastic! I laughed so hard, the whole world got a taste of the alex jones show “you put on the jolly roger and I’ll put on the red white and blue” classic. what did anyone think he would do, deliver such a nuanced argument that the lemmings watching Piers Morgan would be 2nd amendment advocates? impossible. He went and acted like alex and appealed to the kind of people he appeals to, what more can you ask? One person is not going to appeal to everyone, you have a target audience and you try to get them to see some things from a different perspective than the msm offers. It is kind of like Abby Martin, I doubt that she really believes in “climate change” but she wants to appeal to an audience that does and push through some other issues that wouldn’t get through otherwise. Does that make her cointell pro? Or successful at reaching an audience that someone like jones repulses? I could go on talking about others forever but it seems like an exercise in futility.
    I have to say that Dr. Tracy’s approach of elucidating the truth in such a coherent manner regardless of social implications is really refreshing. I wish more people had that skill.

    • There’s a portion of Plato’s Republic that distinguishes the instrumental from the intrinsic (false flag). Guardians, today’s technocrats (found in various NGOs/foundations and International Councils) make use of both to obtain their ends. 9/11 or the Boston Marathon media event are obvious tools to incite change (no matter how blind one is to how they happened). Abortion, on the other hand, has been made out to be a natural right. It’s been made out to be a cultural feature of free and progressive societies. In reality, we’re looking at the partial implication of a massive eugenics program, with the devaluation of human life as outcome. (One should look for the historical evidence of this statement before dismissing it.) The same may be true of the talk of global warming that is now morphing into talk of climate change (absent mention of chemtrails, always). We are supposed to create a carbon free world; that has a certain consequence for carbon based life forms (humans). The latter are not tools that incite a prefabricated reaction. Instead some fundamental new culture is supposed to be (or, to have been) developed.

      Plato stipulates the best result is accomplished through a consolidation of the intrinsic and instrumental. The two are not mutually exclusive, of course. Major events are made to trigger deeper societal changes. They are the explosive material that clears room for a “foundation.” A false flag in this way has many purposes.

      To the question of why someone can grasp the falsity of the Boston Marathon operation and not abortion, I’d point to a cultural change that has disguised a eugenics program as women’s liberation. Many simply cannot have a doubt about a belief that has come to feel natural, no matter how self-destructive it is. The Boston Marathon operation, because it was an event, was unusual. One is left in the heat of the moment to judge the validity of what they are hearing. It has become quite natural to trust the word and story of the man-in-uniform, but perhaps even today, many remained uncomfortable with the circumstances of a police state and the arrogant disposal of due process.

  5. It seems more than amazing that the theatrical and prescient Jones came along just in time for the 9/11 inside job. His accurate “prediction” of 9/11 — as a mere twenty-something kid — launched a disinformation career that promises to span decades.

    The forces that put him in place in the lead-up to 9/11, ready to marginalize that and other legitimate conspiracy theories with buffoonery, certainly know how to run a psyop.

  6. Many thanks to all for their contributions and facilitating exchange on this post. My initial intent was to critique Project Censored, with Jones as an unfortunate symptom of a much larger problem.

    A predominant theme in the comment stream echoes one suggested in PC’s article–that Jones is somehow a disinformation artist with certain designs contrary to his audience’s.

    Perhaps Jones is a nefarious double agent or what have you, out to misguide the truth movement. But then again, maybe he’s just the type of guy who’s stuck in third gear most of the time and who’s found a purpose, as those who know him well will attest.

    There are few public figures who cannot be attributed a dual clandestine role in a distant public’s imagination. Since Jones talks about such subject matter frequently, it’s unsurprising that his detractors use such qualities to question his overall prominence and effect.

    On a related note, does Jones have to take on the stylistic and behavioral features of someone who’s auditioning for an anchor post on the PBS News Hour to be credible and overall deemed legitimate? If so, who exactly has set the standards for the distribution of information and parameters of debate, and why do they seem to be so darned milquetoast?

    What Jones does on a regular basis is indeed an American tradition–a political advocacy style embodied in the nineteenth century “stump speech,” a form of appeal that has fallen by the wayside or been otherwise suppressed in the national psyche, largely replaced by a predominantly technocratic journalism and politics.

    • If the MSM can make money off lies and disinformation. Jones should be able to make money with good marketing of the truth and exposing the propaganda by the MSM. It may not be perfect but it is an alternative.

    • Hi James,
      You write: “There are few public figures who cannot be attributed a dual clandestine role in a distant public’s imagination. Since Jones talks about such subject matter frequently, it’s unsurprising that his detractors use such qualities to question his overall prominence and effect.”

      I wholly agree with the purport of what I presume you mean by that sentence: anyone can be suspect on the basis of the “objective” ‘qualitative aspects’ of their work as ‘journalists.’ And so that ‘suspicion’ is really irrelevant to the matter at hand, given that the focus of the discussion is more narrowly on the ‘qualitative aspects’ of Jones’s work, irrespective of whether these could be interpreted as ‘evidence’ for suspecting that he has links to the ‘intelligence community.’ Granted.

      Does this then mean that if I focus on the manner in which some (or even most) of ‘the qualitative aspects’ of Jones work undermines the ‘legitimate’ evidence based elements in his work, that I am probing a ‘probable nefarious connection to the criminal elements in the establishment?’ We both know that the one does not ‘necessarily’ follow from the other. Without any connection whatsoever with any like a COINTEL operation, Jones work can be shown in terms of its self-standing ‘qualitative aspects’ to be counterproductive to all and any efforts to expose the truth about events that it claims to be exposing. After all, the whole issue over the MSM not living up to what is supposed to be their role in the public sphere comes down precisely on the ‘qualitative aspects’ of their reporting.

      If the effect of Jones’s work is, in qualitative terms, an obfuscation of sociopolitical reality, he should be called out on that, just as you yourself call out the MSM, and although Project Censured proclaims itself the watchdog of the mainstream and should remain focused on the mainstream, a once marginal Jones becoming mainstream begins to fall within the purview of its mandate and thus a legitimate object of concern for PC. And if anything Jones does can be shown to buttress the disinformation being disseminated by the MSM, he is rightly ‘called out’ on it by PC.

      You write: “On a related note, does Jones have to take on the stylistic and behavioral features of someone who’s auditioning for an anchor post on the PBS News Hour to be credible and overall deemed legitimate?”

      Is it the bombast of Jones that is objectionable or something else? I think it is something else. It is the sort of thing, for example, that Norman Finkelstein demonstrates about the work of Alan Dershowitz, that if you follow up the man’s claims in an honest and scholarly fashion, checking up on the footnotes and comparing the attributions Dershowitz makes to various individuals with what those individuals actually wrote or said, you discover a pattern misattribution and false referencing that is difficult to construe as anything but out and outlying. And that is the problem, isn’t it, that people accept at face value what the ‘appearance’ of honesty professes without making an effort to follow up on their own, quite independently, in so far as they are able, the claims being put before them. That is they do not do the work that must be done to verify the ‘integrity’ of the source of information they take at face value.

      If only half of what Jones spouts is well researched and verifiable and the other half is invented and unverifiable, where does that leave his integrity as a source of information?

      And how does that ‘sloppiness’ impact the reputation of the people whose work he relies upon and that happens to be of the utmost quality?

      Hopefully, I have not digressed too far off the topic.

      • Please, Norm. If Jones lied 99% of the time (and I think most can tell some things said on his show are more for entertainment purposes – e.g. David Icke), and yet that 1% of truth made a positive difference in opening peoples eyes to powers oppressively manipulating them, then it’s a good thing.

      • I agree, Jason, that if someone can open your eyes to something ‘criminal’ that was happening right before your eyes, but to which you were blind, that is a good thing.

        But if you knew for certain that, to use your example, 99% of what comes out of my mouth was shear fabrication and confabulation, or deliberate lying, would you trust me as a source of information? Are you going to do the follow up on all 100% of my claims so as to distinguish that one true claim I spout from among the other 99 false ones. Finkelstein discredits Dershowitz by ‘documenting’ out and out lies in the latters purported scholarship. As a truth teller, Dershowitz is unreliable. In other words, to be certain that he is telling the truth, you have to go and verify each and everyone of his claims. On the other hand, if you cannot find a ‘pattern’ of deliberate falsification or even only a ‘pattern’ of inaccuracies in any of the claims made by, for example, a guy like Finkelstein, you can pretty well trust the guy to speak the truth in so far as he knows it and in so far as he does not utter more than he claims to know. Between an honest man and one who is dishonest or simply unreliable, who should I choose?

        If you can trust someone who lies 99% of the time to tell you the truth about anything without having to verify all of his claims, well and fine. That is your choice. My standard for trusting someone to tell me the truth is quite a bit higher. If over time, as become familiar with someone’s annotated work, I begin to discover frequent lapses in the accuracy of what is being referenced or in the manner in which what is being referenced is being interpreted, the person looses credibility in my mind and is stricken from list of person’s you can trust to tell the truth, by and large. And the ‘pattern’ doesn’t have to be half-and-half. I expect referencing and cross-referencing to be close to 100% although I recognize that as being humanly impossible. I also have a sense, imperfect as it undoubtedly is, of when a person is drawing illogical conclusions from a set of ‘facts’ that they have correctly amassed or gathered. If, to my mind, a person manifests a recurring pattern of ‘non sequiturs’ in his thinking or writing, not to be unkind, but I eventually arrive at the judgment that, like a compulsive liar, he is not to be trusted in the conclusions he arrives at, even if he is reasoning from a set of well founded ‘facts.’

        Apparently, we do not share the same standards of accuracy for discriminating between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources of information.

      • Maybe the 1% aka turd in the punch bowl is the whole point. Think of the stakes here, the key is to wake up the masses.. not us, folks like us are going to wake up one way or another in time, we don’t need anyone to assist. It is the hipsters and popular crowd and the trendies who need to be appealed to. To me ranting and arguably psychotic behavior is a nail in the coffin to those folk waking up which is needed if we’re going to turn the tables on the ‘globalist’, otherwise before too long it’l be too far along and they will thwart us to deep into the unwanted scenarios.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMbw94Fhnhc

      • Hi Kyle,

        I must say that I much enjoyed that. Alex Jones agrees with everything that the ‘dissenters’ in this series of posts have been arguing. Beautiful!

      • But, Jason, doesn’t that bring us to ask why he hosts a Lindsey Williams, a David Icke, a Larry Pratt or a Joseph Farah? If I hand my megaphone over to known disinformation agents, what does that make me? What does that make Jones. There’s a liberty, a very old liberty, of the free speech monster—i.e. it eventually eats you. It’s free to do that, because it can.

      • I think you give Jones too much credit and not enough to the masses. By the way, Norm, in that scenario trust neither and rely on common sense. They are both capable of lying, cheating and stealing without you knowing.

    • Those critical of Jones and not agreeing with everything he says, reminds me of what I thought was one of my greatest essays in a creative writing class. To my dismay, my grade was just barely passing, the professor declared, I missed the point entirely of the assignment! Creative writing was not apparently, what I perceived it to be! If we all agreed with each other on everything, we would not be human beings, just robots. Can certainly understand why avoiding the whole SH event would be the most comfortable position to take given the major grief we all endured with the possibility it actually happened. Perhaps now that the files are closed until eternity, the building will be demolished, uncounted millions have poured into the recovery and it has been declared that for the good of the citizens, dangerous drugs prescribed will never be announced, lest those in need might stop taking them, possibly Jones and Tracy might consider a debate on what transpired. Before SH, never considered any 9/11, JFK, et al truth theories and since, the flood gates have opened, every event is questionable, especially when the news covers one 24/7.

    • “does Jones have to take on the stylistic and behavioral features of someone who’s auditioning for an anchor post on the PBS News Hour to be credible and overall deemed legitimate? If so, who exactly has set the standards for the distribution of information and parameters of debate, and why do they seem to be so darned milquetoast?”

      That’s just the question Mark Steyn asks in a brief post on his website today:


      I gotta say Face The Nation and Meet The Press would benefit from a little of this. Syrian pundit Dr. Akram Makkana and Free Syrian Army political coordinator Luay al-Miqdad discuss the Assad chemical-weapons deal on al-Jadeed TV:

      Mr AL-MIQDAD: That criminal Bashar al-Assad would even hand over his wife to remain in power…

      Dr MAKKANA: You would hand over your mother and sister, you filthy pimp… You are scum with no honor. You were born of Israeli semen.

      EMBARRASSED HOST: Please. Some expressions you can’t use…

      “Born of Israeli semen”? As they say in Europe, it’s not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist.

      I bust a gut when I read that.

  7. Hear, hear, Dr. Tracy. HIgdon’s article is so filled with problems that I could not finish it. Yes, I read Infowars, and I don’t necessarily agree with every contention. But Jones and his colleagues have been right on top of the news, right away, with solid information conveyed in short, well-written (and often wickedly humorous) articles. Those who criticize him for his bombastic style, or the accuracy of his predictions, are missing the mark entirely, and exposing their own ignorance.

  8. Thank you, James, for your comments on Alex Jones. I went back and looked at some of the articles and comments, and it appears in addition to the racism, he also prints anti-racist articles and comments.

    The articles and comments on the Trayvon Martin trial were racist; the trial was racist from beginning to end. The Judge, prosecution, and police all threw the case in favor of Zimmerman, who murdered Trayvon.

    However, the Jones writers and commenters were really outraged by the police shooting of the black woman with the baby in Washington, and the 30 second ovation given them by Congress. Both I and my wife, who is an appellant defense lawyer, thought it the same kind of case, and legally it was. But a friend, who was working class, thought they were entirely different kinds of cases, but he couldn’t articulate how. Maybe I’m missing something here, since other factors are involved as well, and as Freud said, all incidents are over determined.

    I got a bad impression of Jones at the deep politics conference in Santa Cruz in 2010, where my daughter went to school. The major speakers were California academics; Griffin, Scott, Parenti, Phillips. A good journalist, Barry Zwicker, came from Canada, and there was also a Texas contingent led by Jones ex-producer, who I think was named Smith. They always hung together, and were not shy about stating absurdities.

    At dinner I told Parenti that one of them argued that the perps of 9/11 came from outer space. Parenti said that I was just de-legitimating the conference, but, although I admire him enormously for his gutsiness and talent for writing sentences, in this instance, as I explained, he was wrong. Marrs, who apparently wrote a good book on the John Kennedy assassination, stated publically that Obama was a “Marxist socialist.” This is Texas speak for “nigger.”

    But in journalism I suppose you have to take the hide with the fur. I’m glad you don’t say stuff like that, although some of the most articulate commenters here espouse primitive Christianity and a loony form of Ann Randism. You, James, are the next generation of the California academics, although there is apparently a good group in Canada as well, in addition to spreading all over the world. The homicidal conspiracy theories of elements of the American power system are being legitimated in public discourse, whatever they are called, and this involves an historic change in the American ideological culture, and consequently in the media.

    • “although some of the most articulate commenters here espouse primitive Christianity and a loony form of Ann Randism.”

      You make that sound like a bad thing, Mark. I’m guessing you’re thinking of me. Is my being articulate your consolation prize? I’ll cherish it always, storing it alongside my primitive portrait of Jesus and my collection of Rand novels.

      • Of course, I was trying to make you laugh. I’ve never read Rand, and possess none of her novels. I was mocking Mark, who seems to enjoy caricaturing the belief systems of people he does not know.

    • Here we go again, the huffington post zombies are race baiting again.

      The trayvon trial was about racism? Huh? Zimmerman is puerto rican or something – certainly not white. I have never heard of a court expressing racial preference to puerto ricans before – that is a first. If they were racists wouldnt they want to lock up the latino since they already got rid of the black guy? No the reason the court sided with zimmerman was because trayvon was a gold toothed thug. thugs really don’t get respect anywhere it has nothing to do with the shade of zimmermans skin.
      texans don’t speak in code. the word for nigger in texas is nigger. I promise.

      • To me the racism is so give the main stream open doors to attack alternative media, to me it is part of the cointel-pro strategy. Maybe I’m thinking too much into, I’m not sure.

        Additionally I see Natural News (friends with Jones) do the same thing with their articles so as to create a main steam/alternative paradigm and neutralize movement towards truth among the masses. I think if Mike and Alex are friends they must be in on the same game unless Mike has no idea, which I highly doubt.

      • You are making a lot of assumptions about everyone. People who do not care for facts make unnecessary trouble. Zimmerman is the son of a white man. He is a repeat thug, not Martin, no matter your prejudices about black teens who smoke pot. Zimmerman killed a harmless man. The facts show that Martin was appropriately where he was, and Zimmerman wasn’t, not after the police told him to lay off. All the evidence shows it. It does not matter, actually, who was what race. A life was taken, no matter how any politician tried to exploit it afterwards. I am not going to be happy if this site is just about scoring points against one race or another. That is not what is wrong with this country, that it is no longer segregated or something. No what is wrong is that we are lied to about very important matters – and that is generally white on white mental cruelty.

  9. Excellent article. Nolan cites as authorities several authors and organizations whose work is highly dubious, with no warning to the reader.
    Andrew Kreig
    Author, “Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters”

  10. Ahhh……imagine that…..a battle inside the “INFOWAR”! So what’s new? Here’ s my take on the ongoing and ever-evolving Jones juggernaut. Alright so I tend to look at the whole AJ issue as sort of having two distinct purpose driven parts, each with its own features and functions, operating simultaneously and somewhat symbiotically. There is the actual data content/information(the “product”)of which there is an astounding, amount and vast array of) part, and then of course there is the way he delivers (tone,technique,mode of technology,style,etc.); as well as the way the audience receives,that information (messaging). Together the two parts create a media environment that will effect the experience of the consumer. As technology advances and evolves at ever increasing rates, not only do the ways we take in media change, the technology of that media changes everything about the human that experience it. In fact, our reality is more effected by how we receive our information, then by the information itself.
    “The media is the message.”- Marshall McLuhan

    With all that in mind, this is how I see it—
    ~ part 1= lots of heavy information on a variety of topics from many sources and points of analysis(varying degrees of reliability). Alex doesn’t always present things with total accuracy, balance, or in proper context. That said….if one looks further into most of the info he presents, they will usually find something there that deserves to be examined/considered further(and that no one in the “MEDIA” ever reports on at all), and lots of the info is factually accurate.
    ~part 2= Most of PC’s criticisms of Alex’s personal characteristics and behavior are actually pretty much legitimate. I go back and forth on whether he is an operative of some sort or just a socially irresponsible, narcissistic, egomaniacal public figure with unethical business practices. I often wonder if his “Operation” (as he refers to it) is actually “OPERATION INFOWARS” a covert intelligence/psychological operation and that he may not be fully aware of what it actually is and who is really controlling it. Maybe we’ll find out one day………..or not? ‘Til then, use discernment and do your own research!

  11. So according to Project Censored there are big problems with what Alex Jones is doing but Russia Today is fine. It’s profoundly absurd. I see other glaring errors here too.

    They accuse Jones of wrongly profiting from this situation. OK. Let’s see a complete accounting of all donations and profits received at Project Censored then? Let’s see where the money is coming from? Let’s see who’s making money? And let’s see who’s working for free?

    Prof. Tracy, I’ve been following your work as much as possible. Thank you for it.

    Paul

    • Thanks for your kind words, Paul.

      In Project Censored’s defense, they essentially run on a shoestring budget. This isn’t difficult to do in terms of an academic/semi-academic organization since much of the labor is provided by faculty who take it on as research and/or service and bring on interested students to participate.

      I nevertheless suggest that outlets Higdon in part relies on, such as Media Matters, indeed rely on substantial foundation funding, with their main figures being paid very handsomely indeed. Some others are similarly questionable.

      • I got Media Freedom Foundation’s Form 990 for 2011 from guidestar.org. I’m looking at it now. I think it says that they received $528,036 in “grants and contributions” that year. I also think it says that $475,00 of that was paid out to “Grants and other assistance to governments, individuals, and organizations outside the United States”.

        Will you explain this to me?

      • Thank you for the information. If I could explain this I would, and I appreciate you making note of it here. I am not a member of PC/MEF’s board of directors; I merely contribute to their volumes and have been an admirer of their work for many years.

        When I last checked MEF’s financials (2010 990) the return indicated total revenue of %48,347 and net assets of $15,790. Of course, this is a substantial and likely unprecedented increase in resources.

      • I think Martin should have mentioned that as well. It was otherwise a very good interview.

        That subject was discussed. Why not contact PC and ask them directly?

      • I’m watching this video again now. It’s clearly false. Huff and Martin do not mention that Martin is on the board of directors at Project Censored. Martin refers to Project Censored as “they” at 00:15 clearly stating that it is group separate from herself. This is not the truth.

        They do this off a Kremlin funded broadcast. They do this as they attack others as seen in their article on Alex Jones.

        Again let’s see where their money is coming from and going to now, please.

        Huff states at the end that he’s interested in teaching people how to think. Prof. Huff, my guess is that your arrogance will be your downfall.

      • James says November 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm – I think Martin should have mentioned that as well. It was otherwise a very good interview. That subject was discussed. Why not contact PC and ask them directly?

        It’s not a good interview if it’s presenting a false reality, sir.

        I was having an email battle with them over their connection with Russia Today. To me, there is certainly no way Russia Today can be a positive force in this situation considering where the funding is coming from. It’s wrong to empower it in any way. It’s obvious.

        It got pretty wild. When I asked Huff to explain the their 2011 Form 990, he told to look at the financial records. They did not provide me with any records. Then Huff and Phillips both shut down communications with me.

        I don’t see any explanation of the 2011 990 online anywhere. You say the matter was discussed. Am I reading the 990 correctly? Where did that $528,036 come from? Where did that $475,000 go?

      • It was a good interview, in my estimation. The things they discussed aren’t being discussed anywhere else. I also think Iran’s PressTV often does an excellent job on topics and issues that barely get mentioned in US corporate media. Should I dismiss that outlet as well because it’s state-funded? I usually tell students that the best method in staying informed is looking at an array of news sources.

        Mickey has always been above the board with me, and yet we agree to disagree on some topics, such as Jones.

        Again, as for the 990, I think you should take that up with them because it’s not my business or organization and I am not their surrogate. It would be especially indiscreet to discuss such a matter in a public forum such as this.

      • If Russia today has an ulterior motive (I think it is easy to deduct they do) then why do so many alternative media outlets line up closely with the way they share information? I would really like to have a deeper discussion on RT and what the strategy is. Are they trying to further a controlled opposition and if so how and how do we combat it.

      • James says November 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm – “It was a good interview, in my estimation. The things they discussed aren’t being discussed anywhere else. I also think Iran’s PressTV often does an excellent job on topics and issues that barely get mentioned in US corporate media. Should I dismiss that outlet as well because it’s state-funded? I usually tell students that the best method in staying informed is looking at an array of news sources.Mickey has always been above the board with me, and yet we agree to disagree on some topics, such as Jones. Again, as for the 990, I think you should take that up with them because it’s not my business or organization and I am not their surrogate. It would be especially indiscreet to discuss such a matter in a public forum such as this.”

        Indiscreet. So your saying that the source and final destination of approx. $500,000 at Project Censored in 2011 is a secret. It’s absurd, sir. I told you above that I did take up with them directly and privately. They refused to answer and shut down communications with me. This is why I’m asking you about it here. I respectfully ask you again to see to it that this information becomes public, Prof. Tracy.

        I don’t know about Iran’s PressTV. State-funded is one thing. Funded by the same source as the FSB is something else I think, sir.

      • Kyle Sainz says November 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm – If Russia today has an ulterior motive (I think it is easy to deduct they do) then why do so many alternative media outlets line up closely with the way they share information? I would really like to have a deeper discussion on RT and what the strategy is. Are they trying to further a controlled opposition and if so how and how do we combat it.

        Oh it has to be. There’s no way it could be anything else. It’s obvious. I don’t how to combat it. It should definitely not be empowered in any way.

  12. Skimming over the comments I noticed that some readers have picked up on some of the worrisome anomalies associated with Jones. While recognizing the helpful role infowars has played in disseminating hidden power elite agendas, we must also be brutally honest with ourselves about serious concerns which indicate some form of controlled opposition going on.

    IMO, the biggest red flag to date was Infowars’ considerable coverage of Wikileaks despite very clear signs that Assange was working a psyop. Even Assange’s rude dismissal of 9/11 Truth wasn’t considered, much less his obvious ties to the Establishment, having a Rothschild lawyer, and favorable coverage by the press, etc. – not to mention Wikileaks seemingly sparking the Arab Spring, a much desired aspect of TPTB’s wish list on the road to their Greater Middle East Project.

    Now that the MSM has lost credibility and followers to alternative sources of media, we are witnessing the MSM move towards evermore extreme limited hangouts and that includes giving Jones some exposure on their networks. In turn, Infowars has substantially increased the number of MSM articles on its website. This is classic synthesis and also serves to undermine alternative media by desensitizing the public to darker truths thus stealing the thunder from bona fide alternative news sources on the internet.

    We also cannot ignore the common criticism that Jones’ rarely tackles solutions, instead proffering mostly doomer reports that reinforce a sense of utter helplessness.

    It is possible to have gratitude for the role Jones and Infowars have played in waking up and educating the willing masses while simultaneously closely examining some serious concerns – these are not mutually exclusive principles.

Comments are closed.