So, you may remember during the primary there was a story known as "Pizzagate." It was a right-wing lunatic fringe fake-conspiracy tale which was built into a hysterical cause by the right-wing Alex Jones of InfoWars, by fake-reporting about a non-existent human trafficking site of children supposedly run by high-level Democrats in a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor. Soon after, a right wing vigilante got so riled by the false stories that he broke into the place with an assault rifle. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But the man was arrested, and his trial has now started.
Well...gee, it turns out that manic-conspiratorialist Alex Jones (who, among his other causes, claims the government controls the weather, vaccines are a secret program to cause cancer, and that the tragic Sandy Hook massacre was fake and staged) has just "apologized" for his part in propagating the fake Pizzagate story.and making it even bigger. But the best part is that he blamed others for spreading the fake story even further.
(There's something whimsical about the "Party of Personal Responsibility" seems to love passing the buck to others. Even Trump is blaming everyone but himself for the failure of the TrumpCare bill.)
Of course, that overlooks a bigger problem for Jones with this, because the gunman says that he was actually a listener to Jones' show, InfoWars.
Needless-to-say, this is the weakest, emptiest, most pathetic sort of "apology" one can imagine, when you blame others for spreading your own lie further. But then, rather than really trying to be an apology, what it more likely seems (since Alex Jones doesn't admit he was wrong and apologize about anything, including demeaning the tragedy of Sandy Hook) is that this is an a Hail Mary last-minute effort pushed by Jones's lawyers as a way to cover himself out of fear of being held legally culpable in the attack.
All that aside (and, yes, that's a massive amount to put aside), there are two other even-more important things to address about this event.
The first is how many people riding the far-right bus to Crazy Town still don't believe that the tales about Pizzagate are false, and still defend it online, despite Alex Jones himself admitting it was false and even apologizing for it. (And again, the toxic Alex Jones does not admit he was wrong and apologize about anything.) That speaks massively loud volumes about the people at that manic edge, for whom reality has ceased to exist and "fact" is a four-letter word. As reporter David Corn notes, "You can't debate crazy."
But there's something that's even a far more important take-away from all this. Alex Jones -- who has now publicly admitted to pushing this "fake news" story on his InfoWars show (and apologized) -- is one of the favorite sources for material that Donald Trump uses in his Tweets and public yammerings. Someone who Trump adviser Roger Stone (a craven piece of work himself) has called a "valuable asset."
So, the next time Trump tries to point his finger at "fake news," I trust it will at least be while looking in a mirror.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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