While there are plenty of reasons to take Alex Jones with a grain of salt, there is no wiggle room on whether or not he has a right to say what he’s saying over at Infowars.
Almost always labeled a conspiracy theorist, Jones’ over the top persona has long kept the fringe journalist on the outskirts of the mainstream media. Thanks to the free press of the internet, however, Jones has now become a household name whose visage is conjured any time someone mentions any sort of out there hypothesis for the way things are in the world today. He’s even been lambasted by Taco Bell’s later “Belluminati” ad campaign, as well as a entire 30 minute interview show on Comedy Central that airs 5 nights a week.
The host, while unorthodox, has certainly made a splash.
Something strange has happened in recent years, however. Alex Jones’ theories and diatribes have been hitting a little closer to home. With great probability we could venture to guess that this is not due to the hound-dog named Alex is onto an actual scent trail. Rather, the 24/7 connectivity between ourselves and the world at large, through the omnipotence of the internet, has allowed us to recognize that the world is a much crazier place than we really thought.
With the power to see everything, nothing will seem absurd.
So Jones has found himself in the middle of yet another campaign of spin, working out strange details and faulty eyewitness accounts pertaining to the Parkland, Florida Valentine’s Day Massacre. In particular, and fitting with Jones’ love of angry, pedantic debate, the talk show host has been railing against Parkland survivor David Hogg, who himself has earned a dubious reputation among conspiracy theorists.
It is this latest push to discredit Hogg that has YouTube laying the smack down on Jones.
“Conspiracy theory outlet Infowars is one strike away from being banned from YouTube.
“The channel said it received an alert from YouTube on Tuesday morning, saying Infowars received a second strike on a video about the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting and will temporarily be unable to upload new content.“‘This is the second strike applied to your account within three months. As a result, you’re unable to post new content to YouTube for two weeks,’ the alert said. ‘If there are no further issues, the ability to upload will be automatically restored after this two week period.’
“Infowars’s second strike comes as social media giants like YouTube and Twitter grapple with how to handle extremist or conspiracy theory content.
“A channel that receives three strikes from YouTube within three months is banned from the platform. While Infowars has several other ways to promote its videos — including an online radio show, its own website, Twitter and Facebook — a ban would cut Infowars off from its YouTube subscribers, which number more than 2 million.”
This sort of censorship, while certainly in good taste to some, is completely unacceptable in a nation that purports to have both freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
Jones may not be agreeable to the nation at large, but his ability to speak his mind is all of our ability to speak our minds. YouTube deciding what to broadcast based on its own beliefs is not conducive in any way to a free society.
Next, YouTube could choose to remove Christian content from their platform because it offends Muslims. Or perhaps the channel could remove any videos documenting the history of the American Civil War in favor of videos that only describe the social justice movement’s push to remove Confederate statues.