This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
In one of my more disorienting mornings in recent memory, I woke up to the sound of crying and a flickering light hitting my face.
Through that specific type of grogginess, which only comes when you fall asleep in front of a TV, I couldn’t figure out what was causing the noise. As I rolled over and pushed my cat out of my way, I saw my laptop. It was sitting open on my bed, loudly playing video of liberals crying liberal tears about Trump’s election.
In the bottom corner, clear as day, reads a little banner that says it all: Infowars.
It came back to me. The day before, for journalism, I volunteered to watch a 34-hour livestream Alex Jones was doing to celebrate the anniversary of Trump’s election. I was on hour 24—ten more to go. Fuck.
It has been a year since Trump won the presidency of the United States, and there are perhaps no bigger supporters currently out there than Alex Jones and his fellow Infowarriors. So when I saw on the ol’ tweet machine that Alex Jones was pulling out all the stops to celebrate his victory, there was a sick curiosity to see what that was like. However, as a dude who lives in what I must fairly call an admittedly liberal bubble, I did want to see what it was like to live in the hardest-core of the Trumper’s world (or at least that’s what I told my editors).
To put it bluntly, obviously not all Trump supporters watch/read Infowars, but be assured all Infowarriors are Trump supporters, so let’s consider the following some sort of anthropological study on this particular set of Trump supporters, shall we?
Take my hand. We’re in a for a bumpy ride.
My journey starts the day before my fateful wake up when I turn on the steam in the morning expecting to see a red-faced Alex Jones screaming at me about the Illuminati and how it’s the enemy. Except it isn’t—it’s some boring man named David Knight who is hosting a show called Real News.
Knight is my first introduction to the Infowars roster of hosts. Essentially, like Jones, these people are all relatively insane, but, unlike Jones, they’re very boring to watch.
Knight starts by talking about the gold standard and climate change being a hoax, but, again, it’s really hard to care about this guy because of how goddamn boring he is. David Knight is like when you go to a concert and the headliner has an inoffensively bland band open to make it look better.
It takes him less than five minutes into the show to toss to a break chock-full of advertisements for their supplements, and this will be the first of many, many tosses that will happen in this marathon. As many people have pointed out, the shows are mainly just an avenue for them to push their shitty health products. They’re the QVC for racist uncles.
After, Knight invites on a man named Lionel—no last name, just Lionel—to talk about false flags among other illuminating topics, I tune out for the first time. I’m barely into this marathon, and I’ve already hit a wall. Anyway, this goes on for a few more hours until it’s finally time for the man I’m here to see.
Here we go.
Jones immediately lets me know that we’re going to be hanging out for four hours, and that he will be back in the evening for a Reddit AMA. He opens with “serious news” that the FBI has arrested one of his listeners for calling onto his show—something that he insinuates could happen to all his viewers. I consider myself warned.
This is the first major lesson I learned in my time as an Infowarrior: They want you scared. The “deep state” could come for you at any point, so you need to be ready to be the “resistance.”
Like Knight, Jones doesn’t stay on the air for long before throwing to some ads. Alongside their nutritional supplements—of which there are many—there exist some amazing products like: fluoride-free toothpaste, chemical-free Infowars deodorant, and T-shirts that Jones’s British counterpart, Paul Joseph Watson, assures will “trigger the libs.” The shirts just have Watson’s face on them and say “conservative is the counterculture”—you know, triggering people with your face kind of feels like a self-own but whatever.
“If you buy from the globalists, you’re buying from the enemy,” Jones says in one particular ad’s voiceover.
Around this time, Jones sent out the above tweet saying, “Scientists are implanting tiny human brains into rats” and said, in the tweet, that this broadcast is both an emergency one about the tiny human brains and one celebrating Trump—which is… weird right?
However, the promise of tiny socialist rat brains turns out to be fake news—and is barely mentioned. What do we get instead? Well, we get compilations of liberals crying. Over and over and over and over and over again they play supercuts of people saying Trump will never be president and of “leftists being triggered.”
I’m now several hours into the broadcast, and my mood has turned from boredom to a mild anxiety. I can’t really say why, but I feel tense, like I’m about to be attacked or something. Apart from the super triggered “libtards” aspect, much of Infowars’ talk, as you would expect, is laser-focused on “fake news.” Jones rants about Jake (Fake) Tapper, says Keith Olbermann has Tourette’s syndrome, and says the media buried the Seth Rich conspiracy.
“We’re the real media,” he tells me. I’m unmoved.
To round out his show, Jones decided to bring on a “doctor” who looks like Tom Petty.
The show has become an infomercial punctuated with other infomercials. I can’t escape the supplements: Either Tom Petty is selling me it during the broadcast, or Jones is selling me it in the ads. Jones even goes full QVC at one point, saying: “These prices aren’t going to stay this low, folks. You know what, I’m going to go ahead and drop off 30 percent from the Super Male Vitality drops for tomorrow.”
I’m looking at my computer and technically hearing words, but I’m daydreaming about my time operating a locomotive in an oil field where I didn’t have to deal with this shit. Sure, I was outside on a train in negative-40 degree weather some days, but at least no one told me about fucking Super Male Vitality.
When I come to, Jones is answering his listener’s phone calls, and it’s getting out of hand. I’m having a hard time keeping a good handle on the crazy, but I know the final question is about John Lennon’s death, and Jones says it was the government that killed Lennon, and that he’s spoken to Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon but isn’t “at liberty to get into it.”
Thankfully, the show finally ends.
Yeah… I was thankful for around ten minutes, or however long the ad roll was because this whole thing was a about to get a lot worse.
The next show up was War Room, and was hosted by some young guy named Owen Shroyer, best known for being called a “fucking idiot” by a kid. This Shroyer dude—who has a certain “I’m wearing my dad’s suit” vibe—is no Alex Jones.
His show is pretty much unwatchable, and it’s here where I start to look forward to the the “triggered libs” videos as they at least have some entertainment value. The Infowars script for hosts may as well be laid out in subtitles: Speak for five minutes or so on a scary topic, tell the listener they are special, toss to a commercial, and play some compilations of triggered libs to give me that sweet, sweet dopamine fix—rinse and repeat as necessary.
Oh yeah, they also have vignettes where they pretend to be the Reservoir Dogs (its end goal is to sell T-shirts). The clip was obviously filmed in a lead-up to their (wrong) prophesy about the Antifa civil war on November 4. Over George Baker’s “Little Green Bag” the crew, who please remember are mostly middle-aged men, talk about pulling off “the greatest meme.” (Starting with a movie that is 25 years old.)
“Available now, our anti-fascist and anti-communist T-shirts, which are specifically designed to trigger the left,” the announcer says prompting me to feel empty inside.
War Room is then taken over by two female Infowarriors whose entire schtick seems to be just rejoicing about liberals being wrong, I guess. This is a constant throughout the entire broadcast. It’s not so much about Trump’s or conservatives winning, as it is about the left’s loss. One of, if not the primary point of conversation, is either attempting to dunk on liberals or making fun of them losing. The morphing of politics to sports and the parties to home teams you support at any cost is something that has been trending for some time (cough cough Republicans voting for Roy Moore cough cough), but it’s taken to its extreme on Infowars.
It feels like the particular style of Trump supporters Jones has cultivated just can’t accept that they won. For whatever reason, they need to be constantly fighting someone and to do so, they have to continuously have an enemy. Be it Muslims, the “deep state,” the Clintons, or Antifa, these people need to be told they’re the victims beaten upon by an unseen enemy—it’s a symbiotic relationship of purported suffering between Jones and his audience. It can’t be about their victory (how can they, the world’s most disenfranchised group, win?), but it can be about their enemy’s loss.
So the circle jerk of making fun of liberals keeps going on and on until I can’t keep up anymore. It’s just too exhausting and boring—it’s the same thing said differently over and over. Thankfully, their show doesn’t last too long, and finally, Jones returns for his Reddit AMA—he answers live on the air while some minion sporting an ill-fitting suit writes it out as fast as he can besides him.
Thank God—finally some entertainment.
In response to the first question, I get to hear about Jones’s thoughts regarding white farmers in South Africa, which are not worth mentioning. The second question is in regards to, and I’m being serious here, the Las Vegas shooting and if the “deep state”/Illuminati (who obviously did this) is slipping because the story has been out of the media. Jones tells us that he knows a ton about this but can’t report on it because he has signed an NDA.
But in the end, the AMA is less wacky than expected and only really gets going when Jones is asked if Trump will tell the world about “the aliens”—spelled “ALENS” by a Reddit user. Upon hearing this, I brace for something amazing; it’s time for some classic Infowars, baby! Jones, for some reason, almost instantly starts talking about “human-animal chimeras,” and that GMOs are the real aliens.
“There are, I’m going to announce, hundreds of thousands of types of aliens down here on earth,” Jones rumbles. “Aliens just mean something not of this world, not here previously.”
Shortly after the AMA is over, I’m agitated and angry at something—mostly at myself for taking on this assignment.
Again, I miss Jones as soon as he is gone. The shows following the Reddit AMA are pointless: One is hosted by two guys whose names I couldn’t bother to learn, which quickly turns into the anti-vaxxer variety hour. After the show with the nameless gentlemen, the two gloating women come back for more “owning of da libs.”
We don’t need to talk about these people.
While these shows did cover some of the marathon, it seems that War Rooms will be doing most of the heavy lifting.
In the time between his shows, Shroyer apparently did some reporting on a gathering of protesters who voiced their displeasure at Trump’s year in office by screaming at the sky. He, obviously, was really proud of his work and spends hours talking about the event—the video he took was of six people in a park. You get the feeling that he, and the guests, thought it was going to be a far larger thing than it was, and they don’t really have anything else to talk about and are forced to pretend it was something massive.
The whole evening is just fucking talking about triggered liberals and, again, is hyper-focused on Clinton’s loss, not Trump’s win. There is no fucking news on this channel, just bloviating and gloating. The crying liberals supercuts return, and it is during one of these that I fall asleep, only to wake a few short hours later to more of the same.
Hour 24 (Please Kill Me)
After more Real News and the bland David Knight, it’s back to Jones (and, honestly, it’s getting weird how much I’ve come to welcome his insane but lively presence).
Finally, we get to the good shit. Jones really ups the crazy in this episode. He, again, harps on his listener who was “arrested by the FBI,” but his main topic is how the “deep state” might be responsible for the Texas shooter. I mean, he doesn’t outright say this, but he also doesn’t not say it.
“They got a whole cell of these guys in central Texas and if you want to say MK Ultra please do because he fits the exact precise, complete, total cutout…” he bellows. “Then he’s allowed to escape, they don’t try to pick him up and let him infiltrate back into the public after he’s high on drugs, and he was told that he was a god and given a bunch of women.”
And just as quickly, Jones pivots to talking about ninjas and how Trump has a “Christ-like” energy.
Then, we finally get to something in the news, as Jones moves toward his talking points on the Roy Moore allegations and says that all he did was call a girl “purty” and that if this is what is going to take him down than we’re all doomed. He ends his show by implying Mark Zuckerberg has built robots of himself or something—which to be fair, is one of the more realistic Alex Jones conspiracy theories.
The grand finale of the 34-hour livestream is more fucking War Room. Shroyer again welcomes guests—this time conspiracy pusher and doxxer of one of Roy Moore’s alleged victims, Jack Posobiec. Like Knight, I’m not going to get into it as it’s more of the same (but this time with 100 percent more flat earth conversation) and aptly ends with the 14-year-old in a big suit talking about the people screaming at the sky again.
Without any mention of the 34-hour marathon (brutal branding, guys), it’s over, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Being a fan of Infowars is built on an angry energy and faith. I tried my best to get into the head of one of these Trump voters through their media and just found fear and infomercials. Over the 34 hours, countless false or unprovable theories were pushed that require the viewer to either simply believe the hosts or to consider them pure entertainment. To get through the majority of their programming is taxing, the only way to squeeze any juice out of that rock is to just fully embrace a hatred of the enemy. Frankly, it must be exhausting to do this day in, day out. We all have bills, I guess.
But… this was supposed to be their big celebration of Trump, and they could barely string a coherent set of shows together. While, yes, Jones may be fun to watch, Infowars is lacking severely in the depth department—watching the other Infowars shows after Jones’s is like watching a junior battle of the bands immediately following (insert cool musical act here.) The production value is there to help them along—seriously, it’s way more polished than I thought it was going to be—but they just can’t stick the landing.
This isn’t saying that I would like them to stick the landing. Most of the hosts are bigoted maniacs who, whether they believe their own bullshit or not, are trying to melt the brains of the public—so, while it sucked for me to sit through it, these people being bad at their jobs is probably good for society.
All that said, I was seriously losing steam at the end of the stream, my notes were scattered, and upon reading them back, I realize most of it is just me yelling at my computer. By the end, I was angry, tired, and my skeptical defenses were lowered after so many hours of absorbing the “info” that Infowars trades in. It beats you down until you catch yourself thinking that “well, fine, maybe, I’m too tired to argue.”
I assume this is how most people fall into watching stuff like Infowars. It’s like a drug—you start off small, and a little becomes a little bit more and more as time goes on. Over time, you have to develop a fear of the world and start buying both their bullshit ideas and their bullshit products. There’s no other choice for the audience, other than tuning out. That’s what all of Infowars programming is directed to do—to make its audience say to themselves, “yes, I do need that Super Male Vitality so I can fight off the Antifa super soldiers coming to decapitate me.”
Alex Jones frequently paints his audience as one full of brave souls, but, make no mistake about it, what he actually has is an audience scared of the world they live in, and he quite possibly helped make them that way.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.