Monday, June 25, 2007

Yet Moron Alex Jones

Our longtime commenter, Edmund Standing, has started a blog on the master of disaster. Here he discusses why Alex amounts to little more than an exceptionally paranoid clipping service:

The problem with the second position is that what truth there actually is in what Jones says is almost entirely drawn from mainstream news sources (the same news outlets he claims are 'totally controlled', i.e. 'Don't believe them, just listen to me - and watch my films!'), and much of that is misrepresented by Jones to support an extreme conspiratorial outlook. In the 3 hours a day people spend listening to Jones ranting and raving on his radio show, they could be looking at both mainstream and alternative news sources for themselves - it's all there online for the taking!

Here he talks about Jones' fearmongering:

So, at the end of three hours what had Jones achieved? Well, he'd basically told us that either we're already in a Police State, or we're moments away from one, that the greatest force of evil in history has either been unleashed, or is just about to be, and that we are teetering on the edge of World War 3. If all of this is true, if the situation has really got this bad, then what is Jones doing putting out daily broadcasts and working on a new film when he should logically be heading for the hills and hiding in a nuclear shelter with his family?

Here he discusses Jones' approach to evidence:

Jones' analysis of John Yoo on torture:

'This guy, John Yoo, right here, been in mainstream newspapers [sic], that the man on your screen, and the memo's public, I've got it in my new film TerrorStorm coming out ... he says we're allowed to torture people - whoever we want, however we want - and we can even torture innocent third parties, bystanders, including children, including small children. And he gave the example, we could put pliers on a five year old's genitalia and crush them'.

From this statement, we could quite logically infer that, in a memo, Yoo specifically referred to torturing children's genitalia, yet this simply isn't the case. The memo Jones is referring to is the August 1, 2002 'Memo from Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo to the White House Counsel on interrogation methods that do not violate prohibitions against torture' (which can be read in full here), and that example isn't mentioned in it. The actual source of the genital torture example is a December 1, 2005 debate featuring Yoo and Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel.

Good stuff! There are a couple of other things that bug me about Jones. First, if you listen to him you'll pick up on this pet phrase of his, "It's admitted." Jones uses this phrase to pull his earlier conclusions up to fact level. For example, suppose some evil corporation is having a company picnic. Jones will look at the memo, point out that there's no mention of a company prohibition against engaging the services of underage boy prostitutes, and in the next breath, "It's admitted that they're hiring boys as young as eight years old to service their company executives."

The other thing is Jones' constant griping about the "false left/right paradigm". This is a trope that he appears to have appropriated from Arianna Huffington. Basically, it's admitted (heheh) that the 9-11 Kook Movement is too nutty for even the Left or the Right; it's only fringe characters like Jones who believe it.