Reprinted with permission from Media Matters for America.
Alex Jones suggested last month on his radio show that “something’s being covered up” at the restaurant that’s been falsely accused in the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory and “it needs to be investigated.” Days later an Alex Jones listener attempted to “self-investigate” Comet Ping Pong and ended up firing his gun inside the restaurant. After the shooting — and after media began reporting that the shooter is a fan of Jones — Jones deleted the YouTube video.
Jones is a radio host who has pushed the conspiracy theories that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon. Jones has also repeatedly accused the Clintons of murder. He has been elevated from the fringes to the mainstream by President-elect Donald Trump, who appeared on his show in December 2015 and praised his “amazing” reputation. Trump adviser Roger Stone is also a regular Jones guest and contributor.
Jones and his Infowars website have promoted the false conspiracy theory dubbed “Pizzagate,” which alleges that top Clinton associates such as campaign chairman John Podesta are trafficking children through the Comet Ping Pong restaurant.
On his November 27 program, Jones spent roughly half an hour pushing Pizzagate conspiracy theories and told his audience that they “have to go investigate it for yourself,” claiming, “Something’s going on. Something’s being covered up. It needs to be investigated.” From that program:
ALEX JONES: Now I want to be clear. Not everybody in the WikiLeaks is involved in this. Clearly. You have to go investigate it for yourself. But I will warn you, this story that’s been the biggest thing on the internet for several weeks, Pizzagate as it’s called, is a rabbit hole that is horrifying to go down…
Let’s go ahead and go to the report, “Pizzagate Is Real.” The question is: How real is it? What is it? Something’s going on. Something’s being covered up. It needs to be investigated. To just call it fake news — these are real WikiLeaks. This is real stuff going on. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 11/27/16]
Jones then aired a previously taped video titled “Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” During that video, Infowars producer Jon Bowne stated that Clinton allies were “using a code to communicate child sex trafficking as casually as ordering a pizza.” The video then claimed that Comet Ping Pong “may be competing for the lucrative Washington, D.C., pedophile market right out in the open.”
Jones also suggested that he himself would be “getting on a plane” to visit Comet Ping Pong. He stated: “I couldn’t sleep last night and you know, people may look into it. I may take off a week and just only research this and actually go to where these places are and stuff. In fact I’m looking at getting on a plane — it’s just like Bohemian Grove and stuff, I can’t just say something and not see it for myself. They go to these pizza places, there’s like satanic art everywhere.”
Later in the program, Jones backtracked and said that he “can’t go out there and investigate it myself. We’ve had reporters on that have been there. They say it’s really creepy because — I don’t have the self-control to be around these type of people. So you want us to cover Pizzagate, we have covered it. We are covering it. And all I know is God help us, we’re in the hands of pure evil.”
Days later an Alex Jones fan decided to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory at Comet Ping Pong. On December 4, Edgar Maddison Welch entered the pizzeria and, during his attempt to uncover the supposed sex ring, fired an assault rifle inside while scaring patrons and staff.
Welch also told The New York Times that he listens to Jones, and he reportedly “liked“ Infowars on Facebook. The FBI said that Welch shared a separate video headlined “Watch PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture on YouTube” with a friend. “Pizzagate: The Bigger Picture” is the headline Infowars used for a December 1 article — still online — promoting a video from Infowars producer Jon Bowne that also pushes the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Jones has been scrubbing his Pizzagate content from the Internet following the shooting. The November 27 report that called for people to “investigate” pizzagate was originally uploaded to Jones’ YouTube channel under the headline “Down The #Pizzagate Rabbit Hole – Warning! Soul Sucking Info.”
He has since removed the video. According to the Internet Archive, the “Down The #Pizzagate Rabbit Hole” video was online as of December 6 but “removed by the user” by December 7. A tweet by Jones promoting the video is still online; it captures roughly 10 minutes of the video and links to the removed YouTube page. Non-Jones YouTube accounts have re-uploaded the “Down The #Pizzagate Rabbit Hole – Warning! Soul Sucking Info.” The video is roughly 30 minutes long.
Jones also removed the Jon Bowne video that Jones played during his November 27 program. On November 23, Jones’ YouTube channel posted the video with the headline “Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” The video was removed “by the user” shortly after the shooting, according to the Internet Archive.
Jones posted a December 15 video in which he lied about his prior promotions of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. He claimed that he actually said there’s “probably nothing going on there” and his lawyers reviewed his coverage and found that he’s been the “most restrained of all the coverage” in the alternative media.
Jones also said in the recent video that that he warned his staff that Pizzagate was “probably a setup” and that unnamed adversaries are “probably going to shoot that place up or something” and then blame Jones. He then claimed that they were setting him up so they can ban “free speech” and have him “taken off the airwaves.”