How Alex Jones’s custody trial turned into a case about his credibility.
We’d all come to see the Alex Jones show. Not InfoWars, the one that airs on over one hundred radio stations every weekday and streams on YouTube to two million subscribers—the one in which Jones has four unfettered hours to explain to his audience why, exactly, “there is a war on” for their minds.
This version, rather, played out inside of the Honorable Orlinda Naranjo’s 419th District Court. Spectators poured into the Travis County courtroom’s movie theater-style seats—reporters, fans, the curious. A retired attorney who moved to Texas weeks earlier found out about the trial from a buddy who told him, “You don’t want to miss this.” A young woman spent her entire week in court just to watch. “Are you a fan of Alex Jones?” someone asked her in the hallway during a recess. “Oh, no,” she said, laughing.
Jones, who built his platform by promoting a conspiracy-minded version of right-wing news and punditry, was facing off against his ex-wife, Kelly, for custody of the couple’s three children. Spectators weren’t there to gawk at a custody trial, though—they were looking for something that wasn’t on the docket. The credibility of the immensely successful conspiracy theorist—who can count the President of the United States among the millions of Americans who at least occasionally tune into his show—was on trial. Exhibit A: Statements given by Jones’s lawyer, Randall Wilhite, in which he argued during a pre-trial hearing that Jones was “a performance artist” who is “playing a character” on InfoWars.
That comment directly contradicted Jones’s entire persona, which is built around authenticity. Jones promotes the idea that he’s the one guy who will give you the truth when the media, government, and the occasional yogurt company are lying to you. He’ll get to the bottom…