Alex Jones’ day of reckoning has arrived.
The decision comes shortly after a trial in Texas where a jury found that the Infowars founder should pay a separate pair of Sandy Hook parents who sued him in the Lone Star state nearly $50 million.
In total, the lies told by Jones about the Sandy Hook shooting have so far cost him more than $1 billion.
With its punishing awards, the juries’ decisions could shrink or even doom Jones’ Infowars media empire, which has been at the center of major conspiracy theories dating back to former President George W. Bush’s administration and was embraced by President Donald Trump.
The reckoning for Jones comes at a pivotal moment in American society, where lies and conspiracy theories have flourished in recent years, often enriching and empowering those who peddle them to the public.
Jones has been an avatar for such behavior. He amassed both great influence and wealth by poisoning the online information well, writing a playbook that has been employed and executed throughout the years by others seeking wealth, fame, and political power.
While Jones may face a reckoning, nearly a decade after his heinous lie about the Sandy Hook shooting, the corrosive blueprint that catapulted him to fame and fortune on the political right is here to stay.
It is impossible to unwind.
And it is more popular than ever, mimicked by former President Donald Trump, right-wing cable channels such as Fox News, talk-radio hosts (both local and national), and innumerable online influencers who command sizable followings on social media platforms.
Many years ago, “deep-state” rhetoric and conspiracy theories about “false flags” were confined to places like Infowars, where viewers had to sit and watch a hysterical Jones rant against shadowy, globalist forces that he said wanted to upend the American way of life.
That is no longer the case. These conspiratorial elements are now central to the conversation on the American right.
It is simply impossible to quantify or compute the enormous influence Jones has had on the conversation that has entranced the Republican Party. He has pulled the mainstream into the fringe.
Which is all to say that while Judgment Day may have arrived for Jones, the model of information warfare that he popularized endures — now entwined into the very DNA of the American right.
A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.