Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Conspiracy Business: Alex Jones

Back when an Anglo Saxon received an education in English History, or an Italian was expected to read Machiavelli, the concept of elite machinations, intrigue and deception was quite normal, but alas, finds itself cut off from most of the mass imagination north of the mean on the Bell Curve in these times.

In the 70s, counter-cultural journalism was limited to newsletters, bookselling/conferences and the semi-legal ‘Men’s Magazine’ that in order to legally be shipped in the mail, had to contain actual, non-obscene ‘journalism.’

Fletcher Prouty is generally the most famous example with his series of articles in the mid-late 70’s Gallery covering U2/Gary Powers and the Kennedy Assassination. , and more recently, Carol Valentine and Linda Thompson’s (APFN) Waco investigation in Penthouse circa 1995.

The newsletter business tended to be closed-loop, where the newsletter/newspaper/magazine sold a series of books in line with a general conspiratorial view with no crossover (e.g. Covert Action Quarterly, Liberty Bell/The Spotlight, Soldier of Fortune, producing three different sets of conspiratorial minds.) 

The most famous/infamous in rightwing political conspiracy publishing was the various Willis Carto related publications (Liberty Bell & The Spotlight, with The Spotlight becoming The American Free Press after losing a lawsuit to a chap connected to the OKC Bombing.)

The point here is that each was a competing publishing firm, to be thought of as a political party in a corporate sense. For example, Soldier of Fortune and APFN (see next paragraph) were both early to the scene with Waco narratives, but when APFN delved into the presence of Delta Force at Waco (note the source, the Leftwing, Counterpunch), Soldier of Fortune took a different direction--and became its own conspiracy.

By the 80s, the fax machine, in the form of APFN (at one time, the F stood for fax), was gradually replaced with the Internet Message Board, and then replaced by the Internet most of us know today in and around 1992.  This development finally led to some collaborative narratives (Danny Casolaro's Octopus--in a Covert Action spinoff, PROMIS software, and Hillary Clinton's work for Alltel--all three pieces still hang around today; Fox News wove Promis into their 9/11 coverage at the time.)

 I shall finish my narrative here:
Recent post at CHT:
Alex Jones was a leader in the application of technology to an existing field of folk inquiry long popular in various forms of the patriot movement, historically a little more left then Right. Alex Jones, speaking in the rightwing populist rhetoric of his time, was able to reach heights the old guard of conferences/book selling and newsletters never achieved*–never thought to achieve.
Many in his line of work had at one time or another dipped into UFO stuff for a paycheck–Jones has done better on credibility, in turn leading to charges of disinfo.
Jones is different though. He was able to get on The View and defend his friend Charlie Sheen (a popular thing to do on dissident Right boards at the time) but I think that achieved a new level of respect. Music icons like Dave Mustaine and Billy Corgan feel safe to use the show to promote themselves, as has Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul.
The vibe of the site is thus different cultural positions on folk inquiry.
While from a journalistic stand point, Infowars is behind lets say WND in quality prose and logical presentation but really, not that much different. And considering the NY Times printed ridiculous Iraq Is Scary stories on the frontpage, perhaps the evaluation system needs to be reconsidered.
* The Carto publishing folks are of dubious quality, not in intelligence and wordsmith, but any tactical program beyond charlatan book selling; I don’t believe they have produced anyone like a Jones, and their only crossover author Mark Lane (first on the scene with a JFK conspiracy book in ’64, and strangely, involved with Jonestown)
retreated to the Carto world; I am not sure they have produced one crossover personality, if plenty of sensationalism
But Jones nevertheless reaches out to that audience by having Tucker on and giving Tucker credibility….
I feel my point wasn’t stated clearly enough, or I came up with it after writing about it, but Alex Jones was able to get Carto material on paleo boards, because the “custody” of the verbiage had been slightly sanitized.
This is a really impressive function, I have come to appreciate rather than shake my head. Jones is a Middle Man.

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