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The Alex Jones verdict is a declaration of war on independent media

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 14, 2022

A Connecticut court has handed down a 1 billion dollar fine on radio host and independent journalist Alex Jones, for “spreading misinformation” about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

This is a travesty, and that any could call such an absurd penalty “justice” is sickening. Especially when it is so obviously designed as warning to everyone in the independent media.

Indeed, outside of the specifics of this case, the potential fallout for everyone in the alt-media sphere is terrifying, because already the Jones precedent is being used as an argument for “regulation” of the internet.

Forget about Sandy Hook. Maybe it happened or maybe it didn’t, experience teaches us that virtually nothing happens exactly as the media reports, but even if it did – even if every single word Alex Jones ever said about Sandy Hook was a deliberate lie – you cannot “regulate” that, you cannot make it a crime, and you cannot silence people’s future for words they have said in the past.

That is censorship.

People have the right to free speech. And that includes – MUST include – the right to lie and the right to simply be wrong.

If you take away those rights, you put the power to regulate speech in the hands of those with enough influence to create official “truth” or hold the “right” opinions. And that has nothing to do with objective truth, or real facts.

The media, and the establishment it serves, do not care about truth or facts.

To take a recent example, a Pfizer executive recently reported the pharmaceutical giant never did any research to ascertain if their Covid “vaccine” halted transmission of the “disease” commonly called Covid.

There was never any trial data showing the “vaccines” prevented transmission of “covid”, and that means every outlet, channel or pundit who claimed the vaccine “stopped the spread” was actively “spreading misinformation”.

What’s more this misinformation has likely led to literally thousands of deaths. That is far more harmful than anything anyone could say about a ten-year-old school shooting, real or not.

Will CNN or The Guardian or the NYT face a billion-dollar fine?

Of course they won’t. Because this is not about “misinformation”, this is about uncontrolled information. It is about regulating – even criminalising – the free flow of ideas and opinions.

Even if this kind of rule were equally applied to all media on every topic, it would be still awful… and we all know it won’t be.

Instead, it will be applied to the independent media, to alternative and anti-establishment voices, and to the internet.

If you doubt that, check the media reaction.

One argument against the need for any new regulation of free speech is that we already have legal systems in place to protect people from “harmful speech” – threats, libel and defamation.

Indeed, Jones’ fate here could be held up as a prime example of “the system working”.

But that is not enough, according to this article on NPR which bemoans the “limits” of de-platforming and defamation suits.

That opinion is shared by this article on NBC, which headlines “Alex Jones’ lawsuit losses are not enough”, and concludes:

Defamation lawsuits are an important tool in the quest to reduce harm from harassment and abuse. But they are not a solution to the lie machines built by incredibly savvy, incredibly cynical pundits like Alex Jones. This week’s verdict, coupled with whatever else happens next, will certainly make conspiracy theorists think twice before they inflict pain on private individuals in the future. But it will not solve the bigger problem, which is our world’s dangerous, pervasive flood of misinformation.

That line about “making conspiracy theorists think twice” is the most honest sentence in the article, and confirms one of the major aims of the Jones trial narrative is to set an example.

But while the point of the article could not be clearer, the author never actually uses the words “regulation”, “legislation” or “censorship”. He chooses to play a more subtle game than that.

The same cannot be said for Simon Jenkins in yesterday’s Guardian, who eschews subtlety completely:

Only proper online regulation can stop poisonous conspiracists like Alex Jones

“Proper online regulation”. We all know what that means, it means censorship. He’s not even hiding it in coy language, but openly arguing for a global censorship programme.

He begins by pining for the days when nobody could get a scrap of the public’s attention without going through approved channels:

There have always been Alex Joneses spreading poison from the world’s soap boxes and pavements. As a boy I used to listen to them at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park […] Their lies never made it into newspapers or on to the airwaves. Free speech went only as far as the human voice could carry. Beyond that, “news” was mediated behind a wall of editors, censors and regulators, to keep it from gullible and dangerous ears.

Imagine the kind of mind that is nostalgic for an age when “News” – he is right to use quotes – had to pass through a “wall of editors, censors and regulators”. Imagine being able to simply dismiss the multitude of the public as “gullible and dangerous”.

From there he moves on to praise the verdict against Jones, and the state-backed censorship exhibited by the major social media platforms, but laments it does not go far enough, even hinting that people should have their own private websites confiscated:

The main social media outlets have accepted a modicum of responsibility to monitor content […] attempts are made to keep up with a deluge of often biased and mendacious material, but […] by the time it is taken down it re-emerges elsewhere. Jones has been banned by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but he can still reach audiences on his own website […] Justice is meaningless without enforcement or prevention.

Next, he tells us who exactly will be in the crosshairs of this suggested global censor. It’s a predictable list:

victims may have the rule of law on their side, but that does not curb the climate deniers, anti-vaxxers, trolls and QAnon followers or the appalling and anonymous abuse that now greets the expression online of any liberal – I might say reasonable – point of view.

Alongside a “no true Scotsman” fallacy altering the definition of free speech:

No one seriously believes free speech is an absolute right.

Like all censors before them, modern censors such as Jenkins seek to codify their desire for control in the language of concern. Proselytizing about the need to “protect people” and “the greater good”. They would, they claim, only censor harmful lies.

Such is the call of the censor through the ages. We’re only censoring heresy, we’re only censoring blasphemy, we’re only censoring treason.

Jenkins is aware of this, even as he uses special pleading to argue his version of censorship would be different:

Historians of the news media can chart a progress from early censorship by the church and crown to state licensing and legal regulation. This control was initially employed to enforce conformity, but over the past century it has also sought to sustain diversity and suppress blatant falsity.

The hypocrisy is rank. “Maybe they used to enforce conformity, but of course we would never do that…we just want to silence people who disagree, for society’s sake.”

Of course, none of those who seek to control the speech of their fellow humans ever claim to want to censor the truth. They call it “sedition” or “propaganda”, and claim to be safeguarding “the truth” even as they pull out tongues or break their victims on the rack.

Now they call it “Misinformation”. It’s all the same in the end.

One more time, for the people at the back.

  • Free speech is NOT reserved for people who are “right”.
  • Free speech is NOT only for people who tell “the truth”.
  • Free speech is NOT to be moderated by “a wall of editors and regulators”.

Free speech is not a privilege in the gift of the state, a commodity to be regulated by the government or a child’s toy to be punitively confiscated by grown-ups who know better.

It is a right. For everyone. Everywhere. Always.

And if it is removed from one of us, it is removed from all of us.

October 14, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering |

6 Comments »

  1. Everyone in the USA, and the rest of us as well, must comply with the Media’s reporting of the “official” News. Everything else is a lie/propaganda. Has everyone noticed that the daily news always comprises ‘really scary things’? Viruses, wars, violence, etc etc? And the government is always promising to “Keep us safe”?

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the population alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of ‘hobgoblins’, ALL OF THEM IMAGINARY……H.L. Menken (1880-1956)

    Americans (and the rest of us as well) cannot trust the mainstream media’s reporting of ‘the TRUTH’. We have to be kept in a state of anxiety, so that the government can keep promising to, “Keep us Safe”……..But, we are never safe from the lies of politicians…..

    Like

    Comment by brianharryaustralia | October 14, 2022 | Reply

  2. The first comment ends accurately. Thank you for it and the reference to H.L. Menken (correctly, Mencken, but mis-spelling isn’t a crime, is it?). He continues to resonate to this day.

    As to the warning sounded by Kit Knightley, thank you for the opinion analysis Accurate, also. (A billion dollars? Something very, very unreal about that.)

    And, as to billions of dollars, how can Zelenskyy harangue countries for the billions he wants in the present, and into the future.

    Next, he’ll harangue nations to send their soldiers to the slaughterhouse.

    How long before he absconds, flees to his Italian villa? Or Florida. Or his property in Israel, which is probably right next to that of his parent’s property. Israel will let him in, of course, because anyone jewish who wants, can sail on in, whether he has any one of a number of criminal offenses pending. No extradition worries.

    What lunacy to become more and more entangled in a war with Russia.

    Remember, that the treaty with NATO, that the United States is committed to the defense of NATO; that treaty does not supersede the American Constitution, whereby only Congress can declare war.

    The problem is, the War Powers Act bypasses the Constitution. Biden is conducting a war without a Congressional Declaration. Isn’t that then, an un-constitutional act?

    If so, how then hasn’t the President committed a ‘high crime and misdemeanor’?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by michael | October 14, 2022 | Reply

    • You’re right. Mis-spelling isn’t a crime, yet. But the way the world is going, only the Mainstream Media reporting is designated as the ‘official truth’, and our interpretation of the truth is officially “Misinformation/Disinformation”…..The “Ministry of the Truth” is the only ‘official Truth’, and all else is ‘officially’ “Mis/Dis”
      We are being drowned in “Bull Sheet”……Orwell was right.

      Like

      Comment by brianharryaustralia | October 14, 2022 | Reply

  3. A few too many words, a few too many repetitious arguments makes this article a bit boring to finish, although it deals with the facts. We are now under totalitarian control, except that the fences and official beatings have not started yet. All this is happening because too many of you folks do not have the courage to stand up for your liberty, assuming that you are seeing what is happening. But too many folks are brainwashed to think that anything against the official policy and officially announced agenda (one world government) is the imagination of conspiracy theorists. So people refuse to see, refuse to think critically and analyze, refuse to inconvenience themselves, and will wonder what ever happened when their private comforts are suddenly taken away.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Peter | October 14, 2022 | Reply

  4. I think jones is a bombastic blowhard undeserving of views, but, he has every right to say whatever he wants as long as it doesn’t break the law, which he hasn’t. And, if they can fine Jones a billion dollars for misinformation, what the hell is CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CBC, and BBC doing running around unfined?

    Like

    Comment by papasha408 | October 15, 2022 | Reply

  5. Alex Jones is an over rated deceitful Alternative truther – a Gatekeeper who sold his soul to Zionism and his Infowars is funded and run by Jews and his support for Israel is undying. All this drama about Sandy Hooks and him being fined is frankly duping people because it is political theatre on the part of the Judiciary to use him to ‘set an example’ to all Truthers who dare question for the official narrative of such shootings etc. They already targeted and demonised Professor James Fetzer and I believe his case is till ongoing. But Alex loud mouth Jones is just being used to silence dissent and questionig. I dont give a damn about him and the fake fines placed on him which he will not pay as he is backed by his Jewish Handlers who run his Infowars.. Jones sadly compromised himself years ago and is no longer a genuine Alternative Truther who supports all things Israel andf supports Judeo Zionist Donald Trump. WHY people still believe in him and think he is the bee’s knees for truth telling is beyond me. Believing in Jim Fetzer and his theories re Sandy Hook false flag is far more plausibe than anything that comes out of Zio Jones and his Nefarious Wealth

    Like

    Comment by Maisoon | October 20, 2022 | Reply


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