More than four decades ago, Chris the Kid Schroeder and I tried desperately to avoid wetting ourselves in a cinema whilst watching a 1950s promotional film about Dallas. The absurd shots of big buildings, huge hats, and sparkling Lincoln Continentals were accompanied by a repetitive ditty: They make ‘em bigger and better in Dallas!
It really was not that catchy, and yet it tickled us so that not even the walk to the Savoy (admittedly after several hours in a very convivial McDaid’s) could restrain us from belting out the chorus. Ever since, I have been set off by any mention of Texas. But when it comes to online lunatics, they make ‘em even bigger and better in the state capital, Austin.
This is the nucleus from which Alex Jones of ‘InfoWars’ spews his poison. Those who have never experienced Jones’ output can simply envisage Goebbels’ 1943 ‘Total War’ speech delivered by a quite convincing Jabba the Hutt impersonator.
Mr Jones is currently of interest because in recent days he has been successfully sued by the parents of a six-year-old child murdered in the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. 20 of the 26 children killed that day were aged 6 to 7. In the intervening ten years, Jones has denigrated this variously as ‘a fake’, ‘a false flag’ and even accused bereaved parents of ‘acting’ – pretending to weep as they cradled the bodies of their dead children.
A defamation case taken by the parents of Jesse Lewis (who have in the past received death threats from Jones) concluded last week in the Texas Supreme Court. In all, Jones has been ordered to pay a total of almost €50 million to the couple, though the plaintiffs had sought $150 million.
Does Jones have such money? Some forensic accounting shows that in the not-too-distant past, InfoWars was pulling in $800,000 a day from the products (nutritional supplements, survival gear, and of course the ever-popular penis pills) his show promotes. This, however, did not prevent Jones from having the brass neck to file for bankruptcy in the middle of the trial.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers were able to point to an income of $165 million over a three-year period, while Jones was claiming a net worth of minus $20 million. His bank statements also show that in 2021, he withdrew $60 million for his personal benefit.
Jones faces quite a few similar lawsuits, which are starting to make Daddy InfoWars look like the gift that may just keep on giving.
In his sworn pre-trial deposition, Mr Jones said he had ever issued any texts from his phone on the subject of Sandy Hook. On the last day of the trial, however, the lawyer for the family of Jesse Lewis revealed in open court that Jones’ own lawyer had emailed his opponent extensive files, including two full years of Jones’ phone records.
Not only had he unaccountably done so, but when informed of what he had done, he did not take the appropriate steps to rectify the matter and simply allowed the statutory period in which he could invoke privilege over this data, to expire.
This allowed the plaintiffs’ lawyer – almost at the very end of the trial – to walk up to a visibly shocked Jones and tell him he had now seen Jones’ texts regarding Sand Hook, proving he had lied in making his deposition. The presiding judge did not bat an eyelid but the prospect of a charge of perjury is in clear view.
This would be quite enough for anyone on one day – but wait, there’s more! The large number of texts provided to the family’s lawyer apparently include some between Jones and one Roger Stone. Now swirling round mainstream news outlets are all sorts of comments about ‘intimate’ texts between the twice-married, homophobic father of four Jones and the twice-married father of two Roger Stone. Here I must pause for breath dear reader, as Mark Bankston who did such a bang-up job for Jesse Lewis’ family, now confirms that among the items sent by Mr Jones from his phone to Mr Stone, was a naked photograph of his Mr Jones’ wife. Monsieur Jones, now you are really spoiling us!
Trump-pardonné Stone has been around Washington politics a long time, including as a stripling in Nixon’s last campaign. His lowest political point (so far) was getting kicked off the ‘96 Bob Dole campaign. It seems the ‘personal ads’ he and his then-wife had placed in the magazine ‘Local Swing Fever’ may have been a contributory factor:
“Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband, experienced
swingers, seek similar couples or exceptional muscular single men”.
To avoid any confusion, the sporty pair included photographs of themselves. But don’t take my word for it – ask Jeffrey Toobin (CNN’s long-time senior legal analyst) to whom Stone disclosed this ‘indiscretion’. But I digress (and can you really blame me?).
However, the coming weeks and months are likely to inflate Mr Stone’s CV. When he appeared before the January 6th Congressional Committee last December, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment to every question put to him. He will be back.
Inevitably the complete record of Alex Jones’ texts provided to Mr Bankston caught the notice of the Congressional Committee. On 8 August 2022, it requested and promptly received those phone records. Given Stone’s position within the Trump camp throughout the whole sorry mess of the 2020 US Presidential election, contemporaneous messaging between Stone and Mighty-Mouth Jones must be of interest.
We are quite good at joining up the dots in this country. Just look at sharp-eyed Bono, rocking up to the Hyatt Hotel, Orlando in February 1992 and looking all the way up to the 17th floor to see a face from home. “Ah, Jaysus, Ben Dunne! How’s it going, man?”
Whoever thought something so simple could lead us into the private lives of such luminaries as Charlie Haughey, Michael Lowry and so many others? Let’s see how the good folks in Washington join up the dots – maybe they’ll make Watergate look like a cookie jar theft.
The prime and supporting actors around January 6 2021 are being drawn together in a more quickening pace. Whatever lies ahead, I’ll be having extra butter on my popcorn.