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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

 

Lawyers for parents who lost their children in the Sandy Hook Massacre had to ask Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to stop defending far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Cruz recently criticized Jones’ recent removal from social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube for violating their terms of service, using hate speech and inciting harassment of others.

He wrote, “Am no fan of Jones — among other things he has a habit of repeatedly slandering my Dad by falsely and absurdly accusing him of killing JFK — but who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech?  Free speech includes views you disagree with.”

Twenty-six people were shot and murdered at Sandy Hook. Twenty of those killed were children between the ages of six and seven.

But Jones, who Cruz felt the need to stand up for, has said he believes the Sandy Hook shooting was a government-created hoax, and his promotion of the conspiracy theory led some of his viewers to hound the survivors’ families.

Jones also believes that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the U.S. government, amongst a host of other absurd ideas. Despite these statements — or perhaps because of them — he enjoys a relationship with Trump that includes phone calls, according to Jones.

Cruz’s comments were so harmful that Mark Bankston and William Ogden, who are representing two of the Sandy Hook families in a lawsuit against Jones, wrote an op-ed to call out his support of Jones.

They write, “When it comes to Jones, we can only presume that you are speaking from ignorance and that you do not know the nature of the conduct you are now zealously defending, nor the harm that has befallen my clients and many others.”

The lawyers suggested that Cruz to check the court filings in their case, where he would learn that “an InfoWars host laughed as he mocked a Sandy Hook father as a fake, claiming he could prove the father was lying about having held his dead child.” Infowars is Jones’ website and media platform.

The lawyers concluded, “We are not asking you to stand up for the Sandy Hook families now; we just want you to fully understand what you are defending before you throw the weight of your office behind the man who has tormented their lives and so many others.”

Conservatives — including Trump — are in the middle of a pressure campaign to try to convince Americans they are being silenced on social media (a false claim), and Cruz appears to be trying to tap into that sentiment. He is in a close re-election race against Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Cruz in all likelihood is pandering to the conservative base he needs to ensure a win against O’Rourke. But to do so he has aligned himself with an unsavory character like Alex Jones.

But instead of his comments quietly slipping through the cracks, Cruz got called out by the Sandy Hook lawyers, who showed exactly why he should be ashamed.

Published with permission of The American Independent.