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Promoting Fake Conspiracies, Roger Stone Warns He Will 'Monitor' 2020 Voting

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Trump confidant Roger Stone is pushing conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the 2020 election and suggesting he might launch an effort to "carefully monitor" voting on Election Day.

Stone floated the plan in a September 14 article published on his website where he responded to widespread attention given to his claim that a Donald Trump victory would be the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election and that if Trump loses, he should consider imposing martial law or using other draconian measures in order to stay in power.

Trump recently commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into 2016 election interference. Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump's prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president's 2020 reelection efforts.

In comments first reported by Media Matters, during a September 10 appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars outlet, Stone said that Trump should have federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada to prevent them from being counted in part because the state is "already flooded with illegals." He also said Trump should order FBI agents and Republican state officials to "physically" block voting on Election Day under the pretext of preventing voter fraud. And he urged the president to use claims of voter fraud to declare martial law or invoke the Insurrection Act in order to arrest people Stone baselessly accused of being involved in plans to steal the election from Trump. Evidence-free claims about early voting fraud have already led to right-wing protests in Nevada.

After those comments were widely criticized, Stone reiterated his claims in an article on his website Stone Cold Truth, where he wrote that "the Democrat Party has cheated at the ballot box for decades and how they plan on doing so again in 2020." He also claimed that "the Democrats plan to intimidate voters at the polling places through their alliances with Black Lives Matter and Antifa, as well as they are more traditional forms of election thievery including the manipulation of electronica voting machines, Double and Triple voting, the voting of ineligible illegal immigrants, not to mention those dead people will come back for an earthly visit only on election day" and urged supporters to "STOP THE STEAL."

Stone then called on the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign to "launch an effort to carefully monitor what happens in the electoral process" before writing that if those entities did not take action he would "have no choice but to do it in order to protect the integrity of our elections."

In 2016, Stone headed a tax-exempt 527 organization called Stop the Steal that repeatedly pushed baseless claims that Democrats would employ widespread voter fraud in order to steal the presidential election. Stop the Steal urged its supporters to act as "Vote Protectors" on Election Day by using "incendiary rhetoric to motivate members to turn up at contested areas tomorrow to participate in a survey of voters leaving polling places." Several Democratic groups filed lawsuits, leading an Ohio federal judge to issue an injunction prohibiting the group from participating in voter intimidation in that state.

And Stone interfered in the 2000 election. He was reportedly an organizer of the so-called "Brooks Brothers riot" during the 2000 presidential election that led to vote counting being suspended in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The disruption proved pivotal to George W. Bush becoming president.

Roger Stone Says If Trump Loses Election, He Should Seize Total Power

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Roger Stone is making baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and is urging Donald Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power, including having federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada, having FBI agents and Republican state officials "physically" block voting under the pretext of preventing voter fraud, using martial law or the Insurrection Act to carry out widespread arrests, and nationalizing state police forces.

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Roger Stone Accepts Trump Commutation On Alex Jones’ Infowars Show

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Roger Stone signed a document to accept the commutation of his prison sentence during a broadcast of far-right conspiracy theory program The Alex Jones Show. President Donald Trump commuted Stone's sentence on July 10, days before he was scheduled to report to a federal prison to serve a 40-month sentence.

During his appearance, Stone also thanked several conservative media figures for cheerleading his commutation, which included Alex Jones ("who never abandoned me"), Fox News host Tucker Carlson ("the standout. … He pounded it at every turn of the case"), Fox News host Sean Hannity ("I believe he spoke to people in touch with the president, he may have even spoke to the president"), Fox News host Mark Levin, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Trump administration official Larry Kudlow.

While Stone will not have to go to prison, pay fines, or serve probation, he remains a convicted felon following his prosecution for lying to Congress, obstructing an official proceeding, and tampering with a witness. Prior to his commutation, Stone had been making right-wing media appearances urging Trump to grant him clemency so that he could be a more effective advocate for the president's 2020 reelection campaign.

During the July 14 edition of The Alex Jones Show, Stone joined Infowars head Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist perhaps most notorious for repeatedly claiming that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was a hoax. During the episode, Stone said he was "going to do something very historic now, right here on the air on Infowars, I'm actually going to sign my acceptance of the commutation by the president of the United States." Stone signed the document and went on to compare his trial to "a lynching" and criticize the jurors who convicted him.

Stone was previously employed by Infowars and co-hosted a show called War Room with conspiracy theorist Owen Shroyer. Shroyer has also promoted Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, as well as coronavirus denial and claims that George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police was staged and his funeral was a "hoax." During Stone's trial, Infowars led efforts to attack and out the identities of jurors, and while the jury was deliberating, Jones broadcast a message from Stone asking Trump for a pardon. The judge overseeing the case later cited Infowars' efforts in a ruling to shield juror identities from the public to protect their safety.

During his appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone called for retribution against those who prosecuted him, singling out Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky for firing and prosecution. Zelinsky recently testified before a congressional committee that other people at the Justice Department told him that Stone was receiving preferential treatment in sentencing because of his longtime friendship with Trump.

Stone's commutation after being convicted of trying to hide Trump's own wrongdoing has been described as one of the most corrupt acts a president has ever engaged in. And now he's back to his 2016 election role of bolstering Trump to mainstream reporters:



Stone Posts Meme That Depicts Him Wielding Sword Against Judge

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

As Trump confidant Roger Stone serves home confinement while waiting to report to prison on July 14, he is using Instagram to attack Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge who oversees his case. Stone previously ran afoul of Jackson after he used his Instagram account to post a picture that showed Jackson next to apparent gun crosshairs.

The image Stone posted on Instagram on July 4 references the film 300, a fictionalized account of the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, which pitted a small number of Spartan warriors against Persian King Xerxes I.

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Roger Stone Asks Pardon So He Can Join Trump 2020 Campaign

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

As Roger Stone embarks on a virtual media tour from home confinement, he is repeatedly deploying a talking point that offers an incentive to President Donald Trump if he were to grant him a pardon. According to Stone, if Trump offers him clemency, he will be a more effective advocate for Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

In November, federal prosecutors secured a conviction against Stone on seven felony counts after he lied to Congress, obstructed an official proceeding, and engaged in witness tampering in an effort to shield Trump from fallout related to the dissemination of Russia-hacked emails during the 2016 election. Stone was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison, and after further legal wrangling, the judge ordered him on June 26 to begin home confinement and report to prison by July 14.

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Fox News Alarm Over Seattle Zone Contrasts With Friendly Coverage Of Bundy Gang

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

When Americans are at odds with the government, Fox News has a lot to say -- but which side Fox figures take in such cases seemingly depends on the politics and race of those involved.

As peaceful protests against police brutality and racism in the U.S. continue to unfold nationwide, Fox News has been laser-focused on demonizing the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), a recently formed six-block radius zone in Seattle, Washington, that is free of police. Fox has framed CHOP protesters as engaging in "anarchy," "outright insurrection," and an "occupation."

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Alex Jones Launches Assault On Vaccine Research

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

As scientists race to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, far-right conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer Alex Jones is urging his substantial audience to not take the yet-to-be-developed vaccine when it becomes available. In recent weeks, Jones has also claimed to have taken his conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and his attacks on vaccine-proponents Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci to White House advisers with the hope of influencing President Donald Trump, who himself has promoted false claims about vaccines and has praised Jones' "amazing" reputation.

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Conspiracist Alex Jones Launches Deranged Attack On Bill Gates

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has placed Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Bill Gates at the center of a coronavirus-related globalist depopulation plot that Jones has suggested could be staved off if Gates is executed.

Gates is one of the most prominent public figures targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic. Over the last several decades, Gates has had major involvement in public health efforts, notably in the field of vaccinations. He has also been one of the more prominent voices warning about the possibility of a major global pandemic. More recently, Gates has pledged significant funding to the effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

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FDA Orders Alex Jones To Stop Selling Fake Virus ‘Prevention’

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

The Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that instructs him to immediately stop selling products through his Infowars outlet that he has marketed as coronavirus preventatives.

The Daily Beast reported on the development on April 9, noting that Jones risks legal action if he does not comply:

The Food and Drug Administration is demanding that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones stop advertising dubious dietary supplements as coronavirus treatments and threatening legal action if he doesn't comply.
The FDA sent a letter to Jones and his website InfoWars on Thursday demanding that he stop telling the viewers of his popular internet broadcasts that they can ward off the virus with colloidal silver products sold on his website. Those videos, the FDA wrote, "misleadingly represent them as safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19."
A failure to remove those claims, the agency added, "may result in legal action seeking a Federal District Court injunction and an order may require that you pay back money to consumers."
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Despite Warning, Alex Jones Persists In Anti-Virus Claims For Vitamin Supplements

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is continuing to suggest that supplements he sells through his Infowars outlet offer protection against the 2019 novel coronavirus and, in recent days, has ramped up marketing for a multivitamin he sells called The Real Red Pill. On March 12, New York Attorney General Letitia James sent Jones a notice that ordered him “to immediately cease and desist selling and marketing products as a treatment or cure for the coronavirus.”

Since the cease-and-desist letter was sent, Jones has become more creative in his product pitches — employing wordplay and innuendo — but the conclusion remains inescapable that he is continuing to suggest that his products will help people with the 2019 coronavirus. 

After previously claiming that a colloidal silver toothpaste he sells “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range” and that other other Infowars Store products are coronavirus preventatives, Jones is now seeking to take advantage of people looking to purchase zinc, which is an ingredient in The Real Red Pill supplement he sells. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19” and “the best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.” A March 23 New York Times article about a surge of consumer interest in zinc and other dietary supplements noted, “None of these products have been shown to lower the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus or shortening its course, and taking large doses of them can potentially do harm.”

Marketing information about The Real Red Pill at the Infowars Store describes it as a “heart and brain formula” that was “designed specifically and exclusively for Infowars Life” to “support healthy aging and cognitive function.” A bottle of 120 pills costs $39.95. According to an image of the supplement bottle, a dose of two pills contains 15 milligrams of zinc, which the bottle lists as 100% of the daily recommended amount. The marketing page includes the disclaimer that “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” but Jones has repeatedly suggested the product offers some benefit against COVID-19 in product pitches during his broadcasts.

During a March 21 broadcast aired on Infowars streaming platform Banned.video, Jones used wordplay to suggest that The Real Red Pill would help treat the coronavirus. Claiming that “big drug companies” want The Real Red Pill “banned because of what it does for so many people on so many fronts,” Jones said, “And I want to be infinity clear: It is not meant to treat or diagnose the novel coronavirus.” He then paused for a moment and said, “And oxygen is not meant to let humans live.” Jones then suggested that the ingredients in The Real Red Pill prevent viral infections rather than treating or curing them, claiming, “When you don’t have enough of it and you’re deficient, that’s how the viruses get in.”

The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times and its description includes a link to the Infowars Store product page for The Real Red Pill. 

During the March 22 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones claimed that unnamed people don’t want the general public to know that zinc is an antiviral and that taking it also supposedly lowers by 90% the chance of getting “all these different cancers.” Jones then started pitching The Real Red Pill, noting that he had asked his staff recently “why isn’t it in the bestseller list” considering it contains “a big nice dose” of zinc. He went on to say that zinc is not a “silver bullet” but that according to a microbiologist he talked to, taking zinc means viruses “can’t go into the cells as easy and order the mitochondria to mass produce the viruses, and it coats the cell.” Later in the show Jones again pitched The Real Red Pill, noting “it’s sold out pretty much everywhere” and said, “You need to take [zinc] before you come into contact of these type of things.” Later on, Jones explicitly connected zinc to lessening the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying, “The media won’t tell you, the globalists won’t tell you about zinc. They won’t tell you because they don’t want you to know. They want this to be as bad as it can.”

From the March 22, 2020, edition of Infowars’ The Alex Jones Show

During his March 23 broadcast, Jones touted hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has been promoted by President Donald Trump, even though it has not been approved by the FDA to treat the novel coronavirus. According to a recent small study, the drug “was no more effective than conventional care” in treating the 2019 coronavirus. Jones however claimed that the drug is “pretty much a cure” for the novel coronavirus and “helps almost everybody.” Claiming that hydroxychloroquine works by forcing “your body to push zinc into the cells,” Jones then touted The Real Red Pill and claimed that it also works by “pushing all of that into your body.”

In recent days, Banned.video has been running a banner ad for The Real Red Pill that appears above all videos encouraging viewers to “add a boost of zinc & pregnenolone to your daily routine.” This means that Jones can tout the supposed benefits of zinc against the novel coronavirus without explicitly saying the name of his product. For example, later during his March 23 broadcast, Jones claimed that “there are things out there that massively, massively mitigate this virus” before adding, “but you’ve got to have the zinc in your body” at triple the daily recommended dose “before you come in contact with it or other viruses.”

In addition to a banner ad for The Real Red Pill that ran above the video, the video’s description includes a link to purchase The Real Red Pill Plus, which is similar to The Real Red Pill, including the amount of zinc per dose, but with the addition of “a NEW energy-boosting combination.”

In addition to leaning heavily into the promotion of The Real Red Pill in recent days, Jones has also pitched a colloidal silver “wound gel” sold at the Infowars Store that Jones claimed on his March 22 broadcast “creates a shield on your hands” that is longer lasting than the protection against coronavirus offered by alcohol in hand sanitizers.

NY Attorney General Orders Alex Jones To End COVID-19 ‘Cure’ Fraud

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed during a broadcast that a nanosilver toothpaste he sells kills coronavirus and that his claim is backed up by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19.”

The Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and two state attorneys general have begun taking action against individuals who have made similar claims in selling coronavirus-related products.

Following the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus in December, Jones has used his media outlet Infowars to promote products from the Infowars online store to his supporters, including pushing conspiracy theories to sell bulk food packages at inflated prices and claiming that the supplements he sells will stop the spread of coronavirus.

Jones made the toothpaste claim during the March 10 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, which streams online and is carried by radio stations throughout the country. He said, “I’m just going to tell you that for just your daily life and your gums and your teeth for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security has said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range.” Jones went on to claim that his toothpaste “kills every virus” and that “the Pentagon uses the product we have.”

Jones was referencing the “Superblue Fluoride-Free Toothpaste” he sells. The product page claims it is “a revolutionary new toothpaste blend with iodine and Nano Silver designed to deliver a powerful clean while supporting good oral health and fresh breath.” Contrary to Jones’ suggestion on air that the toothpaste is a coronavirus preventative measure, the product page includes a disclaimer that reads: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” During his broadcast, Jones urged listeners to buy the “Superblue” toothpaste, as well as a whitening toothpaste, saying, “Those are both excellent, they are at InfowarsStore.com, they’re still discounted despite all the hell breaking loose.”Video fileVideo Player00:0001:41SHARE

CitationFrom the March 10, 2020, edition of Infowars’ The Alex Jones Show

ALEX JONES (HOST): I’m not going to belabor this, I’m just going to tell you that for just your daily life and your gums and your teeth for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security has said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range. Well of course it does, it kills every virus. But they found that. This is 13 years ago. And the Pentagon uses the product we have. And the product we have in private label is about to be in Walmart, coming up. They’ve just ordered a massive crap ton, not the one they have, but this even better one that we have. So I’m just saying we’re always cutting edge, thank to God. I just go with the research, go with the spirit and we always have it. The nanosilver toothpaste in the Superblue with the tea tree and the iodine that’s — the Superblue is amazing. And then we have the whitening toothpaste that has the nanosilver and a lot more as well. Those are both excellent, they are at InfowarsStore.com, they’re still discounted despite all the hell breaking loose. 

We have storable food in stock, but we have to package it and it’s six to eight weeks behind shipping it out to you. Other people will lie to you, got big old Pinnochio noses, we’re not, that’s what’s going on. You want storable food, you want to get it delivered? This thing if it is super bad peaks in about 12 weeks in the U.S. the model shows, so you’ll get your food. InfowarsStore.com. And it’s high quality, it’s very low priced. They haven’t raised prices yet but I’m told it’s next week.

Despite Jones’ claims, nanosilver — which is another name for colloidal silver — is not broadly accepted as an antiviral cure-all. As a 2013 survey of the use of nanosilver in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives explained, “Despite its widespread use, nanosilver remains a fairly poorly understood material to both regulators and scientists. Consensus remains elusive on subjects as essential as how it behaves in the human body and the environment, and the extent to which its use may contribute to bacterial resistance.” A 2018 article in the peer-reviewed Molecules journal specifically looked at claims about nanosilver’s antiviral potential. The article concluded, “The understanding of antiviral mechanism of [silver nanoparticles] is still in its early stages; hence, further studies are needed to explore the mechanisms of action of [silver nanoparticles], which may render the conceivable antiviral development of [silver nanoparticles] to fill the vital niche of a wide range of antiviral agents.” In terms of the use of nanosilver in supposed health products, the Mayo Clinic warns, “Colloidal silver isn’t considered safe or effective for any of the health claims manufacturers make. Silver has no known purpose in the body.” 

The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission recently sent warning letters to several companies “accusing them of marketing illegal, unapproved drugs and making deceptive or scientifically unsupported claims” in coronavirus-related product pitches, The Washington Post reported. According to an FDA and FTC press release, “The products cited in these warning letters are teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver.” 

Additionally, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office is suing televangelist Jim Bakker for marketing a colloidal silver product he sells as a preventive measure to coronavirus. The lawsuit, which is asking a court to enjoin Bakker from selling the product, alleges that he is “falsely promising to consumers that Silver Solution can cure, eliminate, kill or deactivate coronavirus and/or boost elderly consumers’ immune systems when there is, in fact, no vaccine, potion, pill, potion or other product available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019.”

During a March 7 video that was posted to Infowars’ video streaming platform, Jones claimed that using the toothpaste, as well as a supplement he sells for nearly $90 called DNA Force Plus, was the “answer” to the spread of coronavirus. 

After pitching toothpaste as a coronavirus killer during his March 10 broadcast, Jones urged viewers to also buy bulk food from the Infowars Store, warning the prices are set to increase soon. Media Matters previously documented that in recent weeks, Infowars Store more than doubled the price of the bulk food packages it sells, with the most expensive package now costing nearly $3,000. 

Jones made the claim about his toothpaste during the same broadcast that he announced that he had been arrested the previous evening under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. According to police documents obtained by The Daily Beast, Jones’ wife called the police to report a “family disturbance” that was “only verbal but earlier in the day it ‘was physical.’” The police had located Jones and pulled him over for speeding, discovering a “strong odor of alcohol coming from his person.”

Update (3/12/20): Reached for comment on Jones’ claims, a spokesperson from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent Media Matters a statement that said the agency “is aware of claims made by Alex Jones regarding supplements claiming to cure COVID-19” and that “generally, the FDA does not discuss compliance or enforcement matters, except with the party involved”:

The FDA is aware of claims made by Alex Jones regarding supplements claiming to cure COVID-19. Generally, the FDA does not discuss compliance or enforcement matters, except with the party involved.

To date the FDA has issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products and the agency intend to take further action – including but not limited to WLs – as appropriate. The FDA and FTC will continue to monitor social media, online marketplaces and incoming complaints to help ensure that the companies do not continue to sell fraudulent products that claim to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Update (3/12/20): Bloomberg News reported that New York Attorney General Letitia James has initiated an investigation into Jones’ claim that his nanosilver toothpaste “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range.” James subsequently called on Jones to “immediately cease and desist selling and marketing products as a treatment or cure for the coronavirus.”  

Alex Jones Seeks To Profit From Coronavirus Fears

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Far-right conspiracy theory outlet Infowars has been aggressively hawking bulk food packages at inflated prices while spreading wild conspiracy theories about the coronavirus outbreak. Since December, the price of bulk food at Infowars' online store has more than doubled with the biggest package costing nearly $3,000.

On December 31, China announced an outbreak of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that started in Wuhan City, with the first known case dating back to December 1. The disease has since spread beyond China and is currently present in 53 countries, including the United States, and has stricken more than 83,000 people.

Infowars is selling bulk food at recently increased prices

As the virus continues to spread, and a pandemic becomes more likely, Alex Jones is using Infowars to panic his viewers while also trying to profit from them.

Infowars operates InfowarsStore.com, which sells dietary supplements, apparel, firearm accessories, and bulk food. The page for bulk food has been using the coronavirus outbreak as a sales hook. A video ad has appeared at times on the store's "emergency survival foods" page with the title, "EMERGENCY SURVIVAL FOODS: Coronavirus Clearance Sale." In the video, Jones urges viewers to buy Infowars bulk food packages, claiming that other sellers are sold out, but that Infowars can ship within seven to 10 days. (When accessed on February 28, the Infowars Store now says "Shipping WILL be delayed on many orders, potentially 6-8 weeks or more in rare cases.")

In the advertisement, Jones explicitly references coronavirus, saying, "I noticed there were reports that food prices in general were going to be going up because of the crisis in China and surrounding areas and with how deadly this coronavirus is" and claims, "This is the lowest price you're going to find anywhere, even when it's at its regular price." He also suggests that buyers should act before it is too late, saying, "You can feel it in your bones, big stuff is coming down, whether it's coronavirus or something else, now is the time to get prepared and I suggest folks get their storable food at InfowarsStore.com while you still can."

Jones urges buyers to consider large purchases, saying, "I personally have ordered more storable food just last week because I have to be able to take care of not just myself but my neighbors, because believe me, hungry starving neighbors are not a good thing to have and so it's simple: You better hide your food or you better have extra." During the video, Infowars packages with prices up to $2,987.00 are shown.

Since December, the Infowars store has more than doubled the price of its largest package, "Infowars Life Select: 1 Year." On December 21, the package was being sold for $1443.50. The price increased to $1,594 by January 23. By January 30, the price had increased to $2,987, and the page was displaying the "EMERGENCY SURVIVAL FOODS: Coronavirus Clearance Sale" video.

Infowars broadcasts are filled with aggressive sales pitches for bulk food

Coronavirus has been a near-constant topic of discussion on Infowars' various broadcasts. According to a search of Infowars' online streaming platform Banned.video, at least 145 videos have been posted since January 22 that reference the outbreak in their titles. Of these, 127 were published after Infowars released its "EMERGENCY SURVIVAL FOODS: Coronavirus Clearance Sale" ad for bulk food on January 27.

Sales pitches that appear in Infowars content are aggressive. They play on fears of food shortages, emphasize the need to make immediate and large orders, and fearmonger about the prospect of societal collapse and cannibalism. Among some of the on-air pitches:

  • On February 27, Jones posted a video with an "emergency announcement about storable foods" in which he announced shipping delays and then said "the lord works in mysterious ways" before crediting the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent bulk food sales for helping Infowars' finances.
  • During a February 25 broadcast, Infowars contributor Mike Adams pitched Infowars bulk food, telling viewers to buy Infowars bulk food right now because "if the CDC is briefing the Senate right now today — if they tell the Senate this is uncontained in America, that news could come out three hours from now and then it's too late. You won't be able to order anything." As Adams made the pitch, the camera cut to stacks of Infowars bulk food products displayed in the Infowars studio.
  • In a February 18 video with the title How To Prepare For A Coronavirus Lockdown In The U.S., Jones raised the prospect of cannibalism during a food crisis, saying that "within about 15 days, most people become cannibals" immediately before pitching Infowars bulk food, which was shown stacked in the studio.
  • In a February 12 video about "the natural components that can easily be used to combat viral infection," Jones pitched Infowars bulk food, saying, "I am very sad about this virus and very sad about the bioweapons and things that are going on, but it is an opportunity for people to take advantage of the products we have." During his pitch Jones said the Infowars warehouse is full of "safes with guns and folks trained to use them" and said, "We got food, we got guts, we got red blood, we'll kick your ass if you attack us." He also said: "With me, it's religious not to screw you over."
  • In an Infowars bulk food ad that appeared on a February 2 video about "possible solutions for those who seek to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic," Jones said, "Last week there I was ordering masks and more food and then I didn't even come on air and do it myself, because there was that feeling of like, 'Well I'm pushing it during a crisis.' Of course we should promote this during a crisis, it's all more reason to get prepared and get ready." Jones urged viewers to order food within the next four or five days to avoid price increases.
  • On January 29, Jones hosted Keith Bansemer, the president of My Patriot Supply, the company that provides Infowars with the bulk food that it sells under its own label. A video of the segment was published with the title "EXCLUSIVE: D.O.D. Buying Up American Food Supplies For Coronavirus Outbreak." Bansemer claimed that the Department of Defense is repeatedly calling him trying to buy food, but that he has refused. Throughout the segment, Jones and Bansemer promoted their respective bulk food products.

Infowars is seeking to instill fear in its audience

Infowars streaming platform Banned.video has been carrying a banner advertisement for Infowars brand bulk foods.

Banned.video banner ad 2

And the videos that are paired with this ad appear designed to maximize fear about the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some of the more sensational titles of Infowars videos related to coronavirus:

  • "Violent Leftists In A Coronavirus Quarantine Would Collapse Society"
  • "How Globalists Justify Releasing the Coronavirus Bioweapon"
  • "Lancet Model Predicts Hundreds Of Millions Dead From Coronavirus Outbreak"
  • "Was Coronavirus Intended To Be Primer For Chinese Invasion Of America?"
  • "Bioweapons Expert: Coronavirus Is Super Biological Weapon Never Encountered Before"
  • "MSM Tries To Suppress Evidence That HIV Delivery System Is Embedded In Coronavirus"
  • "Countdown: Top Ten Ways Coronavirus Will Be Used to Usher In Global Government"

The conspiracy theories Infowars is pushing to sell its bulk food

Infowars has been spreading ever-evolving conspiracy theories about coronavirus, pushing other falsehoods, and making dire predictions about the outbreak. Initially, Infowars broadcasts pushed a conspiracy theory that coronavirus was designed in a lab and was accidentally released, but more recently the overarching conspiracy theory is that coronavirus is a bioweapon that was created by China and/or the "globalists" and was purposefully released in an effort to control and depopulate the planet. Here are a few of the various conspiracy theories and fearmongering:

  • While guest hosting the February 26 edition of The Alex Jones Show, Infowars contributor Mike Adams claimed that the Centers for Disease Control is "setting a trap for Trump" by exacerbating the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. The end of the segment was an ad for Infowars bulk food.
  • During the February 24 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, a video was played which Adams claimed showed residents of Wuhan en masse screaming in terror. In fact, the residents were shouting encouragement to each other. Adams used his false account of the video to make claims about what would happen if there were coronavirus quarantines in the U.S., saying, "When you take these deranged lunatic violent leftists, who are already mentally ill … and you add a quarantine to that, what's going to happen to their state of mental health? What are they then willing to do in terms of violence or looting or murder or killing or rape or pedophilia or all the things that they do almost on an everyday basis anyway? Add the coronavirus to that, you start looking at the downfall of society." The segment included a coronavirus-themed pitch for Infowars bulk food.
  • In a video published on February 21, Infowars contributor Greg Reese claimed "experts tell us the virus was weaponized in a lab, and while nobody disputes this fact, the mainstream media hide it." The video ended with an Infowars Store ad urging viewers to buy bulk food and other products.
  • In a February 20 video, Adams said, "We're going to get into the heads of the globalists here to try to understand what they are thinking when they released this global pandemic and engineered this weapon against human beings, the Wuhan coronavirus."
  • During a February 17 broadcast, Infowars host Owen Shroyer promoted the conspiracy theory that coronavirus was designed by China as part of a U.S. invasion plot. The segment ended with a promotion for Infowars bulk food.
  • During the February 17 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones suggested that coronavirus was a bioweapon created by globalists so governments "can use the smokescreen of the crisis to expand their control." The segment ended with a pitch for Infowars bulk food.
  • During his February 7 broadcast, Jones claimed that coronavirus is "a race-specific bioweapon" that was released by the Chinese government.
  • During his February 6 broadcast, Jones devoted a segment to claiming that coronavirus is a bioweapon designed by China to attack the west. The segment concluded with a coronavirus-themed ad for Infowars bulk food.
  • During a February 4 Infowars broadcast, Adams claimed that globalists designed coronavirus by combining HIV and SARs. Moments later, Infowars broadcast a coronavirus-themed Infowars bulk food ad.
  • During the February 4 edition of The Alex Jones Show, Jones suggested that maybe even President Donald Trump was involved in the creation of the coronavirus, but that "maybe it's a complex false flag to blame America down the road." After Jones finished his comments, a coronavirus-themed ad for Infowars bulk food was broadcast.
  • During a February 2 Infowars broadcast, Adams hyped a scenario in which people in Mexico become infected with coronavirus and then flee to "sanctuary cities" in the United States causing a massive outbreak. The segment ended with a coronavirus-themed ad for Infowars bulk food.

How Alex Jones is taking advantage of his audience

People are right to be concerned about coronavirus, but Jones and Infowars are attempting to profit from panic that they create. Writing in Scientific American, Zeynep Tufekci argued that the way to stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus is through practicing "community-wide isolation" where outbreaks are present and taking actions — including getting a flu shot, regularly washing your hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, not touching your face, and, if in a position of authority, allowing workers to work from home or make up the time later. Such steps, according to Tufekci, reduce the risk for people to get infected — by coronavirus or other diseases like the common flu — and will lower the burden on the healthcare system, so it can better treat vulnerable populations such as the elderly.

In her article, Tufekci criticizes tactics like the ones used by Jones, writing, "There is no shortage of snake oil sellers who hope stoking such fears will make people buy more supplies: years' worth of ready-to-eat meals, bunker materials and a lot more stuff in various shades of camo." Instead, Tufekci says the way to prepare for the possibility of self-isolation is to "buy two or three weeks' worth of shelf-stable food that you would eat anyway, and be done; this could include canned food like beans and vegetables, pasta, rice, cereals or oats, oils/fats, nuts and dried fruits" and to have potable water on hand.

That won't cost you $3,000.

Perdue Using Taxpayer-Funded USDA Podcasts To Promote Trump

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer used a taxpayer-funded USDA podcast to suck up to their boss, President Donald Trump, and praise his agricultural trade policies, which have left farmers hurting. 

Lighthizer joined Perdue for the latest broadcast of the USDA’s monthly podcast The Sonnyside of the Farm, which purports to cover “the issues facing America’s farmers, ranchers, producers and foresters.” The podcast has recently featured former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich. 

Perdue peppered his podcast with Lighthizer, the president’s top trade policy adviser, with his signature praise of Trump. Introducing his guest, Perdue described Trump as “an unapologetic advocate for America around the globe” and said that he wanted to congratulate Lighthizer because he “can’t think of anyone who can support President Trump better than you have in these trade negotiations. You’re tough and you reinforce his ability to use leverage … You’ve been quite a sidekick to the president.” 

Turning to the topic of farmers, Perdue said, “I don’t think people would understand how much [Trump] really cares” and later said that farmers appreciate Trump’s “toughness” and that in return, Trump sees in farmers “the values that embody the American spirit, who really built this country.” Lighthizer agreed, saying that Trump also “appreciates” that “so many farmers have basic values, the kind of values that not only made the economy, but made our communities.” Lighthizer also told an anecdote about Trump supposedly caring about farmers more than anything else and said Trump refers to them as “his farmers and ranchers.”

When Lighthizer praised Trump for being willing to “stir it up” on trade, Perdue responded by saying that was “the amazing thing about President Trump” before praising the president’s “trading acumen.” Lighthizer added that working with Trump is “a hoot,” that he has “been kind of a consistent, steady leader,” and that the two have never had a disagreement. 

Perdue ended the show by saying to Lighthizer, “I want to applaud you on behalf of the United States of America for supporting our president,” and added that “like the president said, I’m not tired of winning yet.”

On the issue of farmers affected by Trump’s trade war with China, Lighthizer said, “On this question of the farmers, and the farmers being being bothered by some of things we’ve done, and, as you say, it’s now been proven that we were right and the numbers are coming in.”

But that’s not the case. In 2018, Trump started a trade war with China, imposing additional tariffs on the importation of $34 billion of Chinese goods. In response, China placed tariffs on U.S. agricultural products such as soybeans and dramatically reduced importation of U.S. soybeans in favor of increased purchases from other countries, in particular Brazil. The trade war caused serious additional financial problems for soybean farmers. (Disclosure: This author’s family farms corn and soybeans in Illinois.) 

Overall, Trump’s trade war with China has been absolutely devastating for U.S. farmers. In January, Trump touted his signing of the so-called “phase one” trade deal with China as evidence that he was bringing the trade war to a successful conclusion. But as Vox reported, the deal “stops short of the comprehensive trade and reform agreement the Trump administration wanted when it launched its trade war with China in 2018” and “it’s still not clear if China can or will totally fulfill this obligation to buy US products, and even if it does, the guarantee is only for two years.” Writing for The Hill, Daniel Griswold, a senior research fellow for the conservative Mercatus Center, called the trade targets in the “phase one” deal “unrealistic” given that they would require an “unprecedented” increase in exports to China. 

In any case, significant damage has already been done. Writing at Forbes on the “crushing truth” about Trump’s trade war, Erik Sherman noted that because of the standard business model for small farmers in the U.S., “small family farms (90 percent of all family farms) are in deep trouble normally” and that “these latest shocks are helping to drive up farm bankruptcies and farmer suicides.”

Sherman said relief given to farmers as a result of the trade war in the form of subsidies has not been equitably distributed, noting that “the biggest [farm] organizations sucked up the bulk of the money, putting small farmers ever further behind.” The release of the Sonnyside of the Farm episode comes days after Politico published an extensive expose about dysfunction under Perdue at USDA. Of many of the issues discussed in the report, Politico delved into payments to farmers, noting that “many in the industry” considered them insufficient to offset losses from the trade war, including corn farmers — who “were outraged about receiving just one penny per bushel under the 2018 trade aid plan” compared to an average 44 cent per bushel drop in corn prices — and blueberry farmers,who were alsoaffected by the trade war but received no subsidies.

Perdue hosted the inaugural episode of the USDA podcast in October, when he traveled to Arkansas to meet with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is likely to run for governor in that state. They discussed farm policy only minimally during the podcast, and only in defense of Trump’s policies. Instead, Perdue and Sanders spent the majority of the episode heaping lavish praise upon Trump. 

In December, Perdue hosted Gingrich for an episode in which the two attacked people who receive food stamps, with Perdue suggesting they don’t contribute anything to society. The cruelty has endured on that front, with the Trump administration pushing a proposed USDA rule that could leave more than 3 million people without access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and cause nearly 1 million children to lose their automatic enrollment in a program that provides breakfast and lunch at school. 

‘Clinton Cash’ Author Launches Wildly Inaccurate Attack On Warren

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

In his new book, conservative author Peter Schweizer argued that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is responsible for federal bankruptcy laws that big businesses have used to their advantage. But Schweizer’s Warren criticism is based on a fabricated and wildly inaccurate history of bankruptcy law, and one expert in the field told Media Matters that Schweizer has a “fundamental misunderstanding of what bankruptcy is about.”

Schweizer, a Breitbart senior editor-at-large and president of the right-wing think tank Government Accountability Institute, is best-known for his 2015 book Clinton Cash, which was riddled with errors, fabrications, and distortions. Despite his sloppy work, Schweizer was aided in promoting his claims by a compliant mainstream press that failed to rigorously investigate his work or needlessly gave his allegations oxygen, as The Washington Post and The New York Times did when they made “exclusive agreements” with Schweizer to promote his work.

Now, as the 2020 presidential election approaches, Schweizer has released another book, Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite, that levels corruption allegations against several Democrats running for president and other progressive politicians. In a chapter about Warren — who before being elected a U.S. senator in 2012 was a professor at Harvard Law School specializing in bankruptcy legal issues — Schweizer claims that during the 1990s, she was responsible for Congress’ adoption of pro-corporate bankruptcy laws. The claim, which is false, would be contrary to Warren’s presidential campaign platform. 

In his book, Schweizer seizes on the fact that between 1995 and 1997 Warren was the reporter for the National Bankruptcy Review Commission (NBRC), a bipartisan task force created by Congress to suggest changes to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. As Schweizer relates, Warren’s work on the commission included issues relating to mass torts, which involve many people bringing a lawsuit against one or more corporations. Bankruptcy law is sometimes relevant to the resolution of these lawsuits. 

Schweizer claimed that “Warren was at ground zero in rewriting corporate bankruptcy laws” because of her work with the commission and that “the new laws allowed financially healthy corporations to start using bankruptcies as a way to avoid liability from legal suits.” Schweizer also claimed that “as the New York Times explained, the legislation pushed by Warren led ‘Fortune 500 companies with otherwise solid balance sheets’ to use ‘the bankruptcy courts as part of a broad strategy to resolve potentially ruinous legal woes’” and that “the new bankruptcy laws were a big win for large corporations, from asbestos producers to manufacturers of breast implants.”

Nothing Schweizer wrote here is true — except for the fact that Warren was the reporter for the NBRC commission. Efforts to change bankruptcy laws in the 1990s and 2000s are a complicated subject, but Schweizer’s claim of a connection between Warren’s work on the commission and “new laws” that benefited big businesses is false for one simple reason: There were no “new laws” as a result of the NBRC final report. Congress ignored the recommendations and set its own course, eventually making broad changes to the bankruptcy laws in 2005 (which Warren opposed).

The NBRC delivered its final report to Congress in 1997. As conservative legal scholar Todd Zywicki explained in a 2003 law review article, the NBRC’s “idiosyncratic ideological orientation guaranteed that its recommendations would be dead on arrival” in Congress.  Zywicki, a professor specializing in bankruptcy at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, criticized the commission’s recommendations as overly friendly to judges and trial lawyers in his article and explained that they were unappealing to Congress because of ideological disagreements about the personal responsibility people who file for bankruptcy bear.

So instead of adopting the commission’s recommendations, Congress set its own course, which was laid out in a 2006 Department of Justice report that chronicles the history of the NBRC commission through when Congress actually overhauled bankruptcy laws in 2005. Before the final NRBC report was delivered in 1997, legislation that was “in sharp disagreement with the Reports’ consumer provisions was introduced.” That bill failed the following year, but as the DOJ report author Judith Benderson explained, it “rose repeatedly from the ashes in some curiously creative ways.”

In 2000, another version of the bill was passed by Congress, but then it was pocket vetoed by President Bill Clinton. Warren was actually involved in sinking the legislation. In a 2004 appearance on PBS program Now with Bill Moyers, Warren recounted that in the late 1990s she was invited by then-first lady Hillary Clinton to educate her on bankruptcy issues and the bill, which Bill Clinton was considering signing. Warren recalled that Clinton “went back to White House, and I heard later from someone who is a White House staffer that there were skid marks in the hallways when Mrs. Clinton got back as people reversed direction on that bankruptcy bill.” As Warren explained, President Clinton had been considering signing the bill to show “another way that he could be helpful to business”:

ELIZABETH WARREN: President Clinton had been showing that this is another way that he could be helpful to business. It wasn’t a very high visibility bill. And when Mrs. Clinton came back with a little better understanding of how it all worked, they reversed course, and they reversed course fast. And indeed, the proof is in the pudding.

The last bill that came before President Clinton was that bankruptcy bill that was passed by the House and the Senate in 2000 and he vetoed it. And in her autobiography, Mrs. Clinton took credit for that veto and she rightly should. She turned around a whole administration on the subject of bankruptcy. She got it.

As the DOJ report explains, a modified version of the bill was again introduced in 2005. That bill, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), became law after it was passed by Congress and enacted by President George W. Bush. As Vox explained, “Warren opposed the bill so vehemently that its passage inspired her transition from a Harvard bankruptcy law professor, who studied middle-class economics, to a senator and now a presidential hopeful.” 

According to legal publication Lexology, “between 1997 and 2005, numerous bills intended to address consumer bankruptcy abuse were presented to the house or senate floors. Consumer lending businesses are widely reported to have been the dominant lobby behind these bills,” and BAPCPA became the largest change in bankruptcy laws in 35 years. The primary purpose of the law was to make it more difficult for individuals to file for bankruptcy.

Reached by phone, bankruptcy expert and University of Chicago Law School professor Douglas Baird said the notion that Warren supported or helped enact pro-corporate bankruptcy laws was “ridiculous” and “baffling.” Baird emphasized that he is “not a supporter of Warren” and that the two have had significant public disagreements about bankruptcy policy, jokingly referring to himself as a “conservative force of darkness” compared to Warren. Still, Baird said he wanted to explain what Warren’s views were when they were traveling in the same circles during the 1990s, such as when they were both members of the National Bankruptcy Conference.  

Baird said that during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Warren “took positions that were so pro-consumer” on bankruptcy that they were repudiated by large financial institutions, and that “the idea she was taking positions that made her the tool of large organizations is ridiculous.” Baird described Warren’s role as reporter for the NBRC commision as something like an “executive director” or even a “cat herder.” While offering some criticism of how Warren used that role, Baird emphasized that she was not the “policymaker” and mentioned, as others have, that Congress didn’t take up the commission report’s findings anyway. 

Reached for comment by Media Matters about Schweizer’s claims, Seton Hall Law professor Stephen Lubben wrote by email that “the 2005 bankruptcy amendments did very little to change corporate bankruptcy law (it was mostly about personal bankruptcy)” and “that, combined with the fact that the Commission’s work had little to no impact on the 2005 amendments, would seem to massively undercut [Schweizer’s] claims.”

Schweizer inserts more misrepresentations in his book, making claims about Warren and Section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code in order her paint her as having pushed corporate interests. The provision was added by Congress in 1994, and is relevant to companies facing legal claims over asbestos exposure. Relying on a legal declaration issued by Warren in 2002 about her consulting work with Congress during the 1990s, Schweizer wrote that “she was also a key advisor on an obscure but profoundly important section of the bankruptcy law called U.S.C. 524(g)” and claimed the law benefits big corporations. 

The 524(g) provision of the Bankruptcy Code is a codification of a process used by a federal bankruptcy court to resolve the Johns Manville asbestos bankruptcy case. According to Warren’s 2002 legal declaration, some members of Congress “hoped that the [NBRC] Commission would develop a more comprehensive approach to replace” 524(g) and that in its final 1997 report the commission did make further recommendations (which Congress ignored). In his book, Schweizer characterizes 524(g) as legislation “pushed by Warren” and claims it was a way for corporations to “avoid liability.”

But according to Baird, describing what Warren did on 524(g) issues as pushing corporate interests is a conclusion that someone who “doesn’t understand the law” would reach, as in Baird’s view, 524(g) is not an anti-consumer law. Baird added that “nothing that Warren was doing was contrary to the interests of tort victims” in that litigation area and that she was “involved in coming up with a sensible mechanism” to resolve certain legal disputes.

Overall, Baird said that Schweizer’s characterizations of Warren’s work with Congress on bankruptcy laws and the conclusions that he drew from them show a “fundamental misunderstanding of what bankruptcy is about.” 

Schweizer has been touting his smear of Warren across conservative news outlets, appearing on Fox News shows Special Report and Fox & Friends and on Fox News contributor Mark Levin’s radio show and claiming that Warren helped rewrite bankruptcy laws — sometimes while also falsely saying that she did so to benefit corporate interests.

More reputable outlets would be wise to give Schewizer’s false claims attention only when they’re debunking them.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Purdue Attacks Low-Income Families On Tax-Funded Podcast

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and guest Newt Gingrich painted a disparaging picture of welfare recipients during the latest episode of the USDA’s taxpayer-funded podcast, The Sonnyside of the Farm. Perdue’s comments came as the USDA effectuated a rule change that will kick nearly 700,000 people off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and cut the number of children who can receive free lunch at school. 

While Perdue advocates for limiting government assistance for people struggling to eat, he has used his positions in government to benefit himself, his friends, business associates, and family members throughout his political career

Launched in October, Perdue’s monthly podcast purports to discuss “the issues facing America’s farmers, ranchers, producers and foresters today.” The third installment of The Sonnyside of the Farm, released on December 5, focused on low-income Americans who receive government assistance. Perdue opened the show by saying, “Today, we’re going to talk about the transformational power of work” before claiming that “sometimes the helping hand can become an indefinitely giving hand, creating government dependency on programs like the food stamp program, which we administer here at USDA.” 

Perdue was joined by Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich, who, as Perdue noted, was a driving force in Congress behind the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. The law, which was enacted by President Bill Clinton, is credited with contributing to the increase in Americans who live in extreme poverty. Like the 1996 law, USDA’s SNAP rule change limits the ability of people who are not working to receive benefits. 

During his appearance, Gingrich offered several negative characterizations of low-income Americans who receive assistance from the government. According to Gingrich, without strict work requirements, “you begin to reshape the mind of the welfare worker because they begin looking for the loopholes that enable you to stay dependent on the government.” He added that without a work requirement, government assistance recipients are dependent, passive, and “waiting for the next government check.” He also said, “A generation that watches their parents do nothing learns that it’s OK to do nothing.”

Perdue suggested that people on food stamps don’t contribute to society and have no self-worth, saying to Gingrich, “You’ve done a great job articulating how working and contributing to society increases personal self-esteem [and] self-worth. Sadly, what do you see today? We still have 36 million people [on food stamps], up from 17 [million] prior to the recession.” Gingrich responded, “I think there is a subculture of people who think they are really clever if they avoid work.”

During the podcast’s discussion of government assistance, Perdue did not mention USDA payments to farmers. In July, the USDA announced that an additional $16 billion would be paid to farmers impacted by Trump’s disastrous trade war with China. As The Washington Post reported, an analysis conducted by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group “found that the top one-tenth of recipients received 54 percent of all payments” from the $8.4 billion that had been distributed as of July from a previous 2018 subsidy and noted, “The top 1 percent of recipients of trade relief received, on average, $183,331. The bottom 80 percent received, on average, less than $5,000.” 

Perdue, who was the governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011, often used his position to benefit himself and his associates. A 2017 investigation published by Politico “found more than a dozen instances when he gave positions to business associates and campaign donors, and other occasions when he rewarded his state staff with opportunities in his agriculture and shipping empire after he left office.” As governor, Perdue gave himself a $100,000 tax break by signing into law a bill that “gave land buyers temporary relief on capital gains tax in Georgia if they sold land in Georgia and purchased land in another state.” While the bill was being considered, a state legislator — who was also Perdue’s lawyer — successfully amended it to apply the tax break retroactively, meaning it would cover a Florida land purchase Perdue had made within the last year. 

Perdue has also personally financially benefited from federal government rule changes. In 2017, while he was under consideration for the USDA secretary position, Perdue was one of the beneficiaries of an executive action taken by President Donald Trump that eliminated an Obama-era environmental regulation. Perdue was personally involved in litigation challenging the regulation through his grain company AGrowStar. 

While The Sonnyside of the Farm bills itself as a podcast about farming issues, the inaugural episode of the podcast instead largely consisted of Perdue and his guest, Fox News contributor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, lavishly praising Trump.

Far-Right Conspiracist Jones Furiously Smears Fiona Hill

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has continued to use his Infowars outlet to slime Fiona Hill, using derogatory language while making false accusations about the former National Security Council staffer who testified last week in the impeachment inquiry. Jones said that he was responding to Hill because his former Infowars colleague Roger Stone, who was recently convicted of seven felonies and is under a gag order while awaiting sentencing, cannot.

Jones and Stone began to smear Hill in May 2017, shortly after she joined the Trump administration, when Stone claimed Hill was a “mole” who was planted by financier and philanthropist George Soros. (Hill was previously an advisory board member to a pro-democracy group founded by Soros; there is absolutely no evidence Soros directed her to work at the White House.) Jones and Stone continued to attack Hill during her tenure in the White House, and in 2018, Stone bragged that Infowars had “first identified” Hill as a Soros-backed infiltrator. When it was announced on October 11 that Hill would testify as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Infowars republished prior content attacking Hill. 

During her closed-door testimony on October 14, Hill recounted that after the smear campaign started in 2017, she began to receive death threats and other forms of harassment, and she said that the harassment was ongoing. She was asked about Stone and Jones’ smear campaign against her during her public testimony on November 21, and in her response, she criticized Soros-related conspiracy theories as anti-Semitic, saying, “The trope against Mr. George Soros was also created for political purposes, and this is the new ‘Protocols of The Elders of Zion,’” referring to an infamous book that fabricated records to suggest Jews were secretly plotting to control the world. Hill also provided damning testimony about Trump’s attempts to use U.S. foreign policy to fulfill a personal desire, saying that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had been running a “domestic political errand” when he urged Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden. 

Jones responded to Hill’s testimony during his November 22 episode with continued and escalating smears. While mentioning that Stone is under a gag order following his conviction on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering, Jones said, “I’m simply pointing out that he can’t respond to her, and I can respond for Roger, so I will.” Jones then ranted about Hill for several minutes before saying, “So when we come back, we’re going to show you this lying, stinking Soros wart’s operations. And I want her ass indicted. I want her indicted for perjury. Today. Indict that whore.”

Later during his show, Jones said, “I want to apologize, not to Fiona Hill, but to prostitutes who are, in a lot of cases, you know, good, hard-working people,” before saying he meant Hill is a “globalist whore of Soros, a trafficker in evil.” Jones said, “When it comes to selling this country out, she whores herself out, she whores the world out. But she’s not an American, so what do you expect?” (Hill is a British-born American citizen.) Jones went on to claim, “Her system is about destroying nation-states, tearing cultures apart, and putting it back together in people like Soros’ architecture.”

Jones also responded to charges of anti-Semitism against him by pushing the smear that Soros “helped round up Jews” and was “killing them” during the Holocaust. He went on to attack White House staffer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who also testified in the impeachment inquiry, by saying that Vindman “looks like a child molester to me.” He added, “If I was a Hollywood director and I was going to cast somebody, I would cast him as a sniveling, rat, mole, lying piece of crap. Like, Jew didn’t pop into my head.”

Jones previously claimed that Soros is the head of the “Jewish mafia” and later attacked “the Jewish press” for reporting on his initial claim. He has also claimed that many Ku Klux Klan members are “Jewish actors” who look like the “cast of Seinfeld” with their hoods off.

Roger Stone Smear On Infowars Instigated Threats Against Fiona Hill

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

While giving testimony for the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Fiona Hill, who previously worked in the Trump administration as a Russia expert, related that during her tenure in the administration, she received harassment and death threats over the conspiracy theory she was a “mole” planted by financier and philanthropist George Soros. The smear can be traced back to comments made in May 2017 by Trump confidant Roger Stone, who is currently standing trial on seven felony counts as a result of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in 2016 presidential elections.

Hill, who joined the Trump administration in Spring 2017 and left in August 2019, referenced the harassment and threats she faced while discussing a smear campaign Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani orchestrated against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

In her testimony, which was released on November 8, Hill related, “My entire first year of my tenure at the National Security Council was filled with hateful calls, conspiracy theories, which has started again, frankly, as it’s been announced that I’ve been giving this deposition, accusing me of being a Soros mole in the White House, of colluding with all kinds of enemies of the President, and, you know, of various improprieties.” Hill added that former NSC head H.R. McMaster “and many other members of staff were targeted as well, and many people were hounded out of the National Security Council because they became frightened about their own security.” Hill related receiving death threats and said she got harassing phone calls at home, stating, “My neighbors reported somebody coming and hammering on my door.”

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Stone purported to reveal Hill as a “Soros mole” during the May 31, 2017, broadcast of The Alex Jones Show.

Hill mentioned in her testimony that since it was announced on October 11 that she was going to testify, the harassment has picked back up. On October 12, a video-sharing platform used by Jones’ Infowars outlet posted a “Bombshell Flashback” claiming, “Roger Stone and Alex Jones expose a major Soros operative within the Trump White House. Fiona Hill.” The video included footage from Jones’ May 31, 2017, show.

During the May 2017 broadcast, Jones teased that Stone “has exclusive inside intel that he’s breaking right now” and that he would reveal “a major Soros mole discovered in the White House.” Stone then said that, “George Soros has penetrated the Trump White House. Soros has planted a mole infiltrating the national security apparatus, a woman named Fiona Hill,” before he and Jones disparaged her work in the Trump administration.

Hill previously was an advisory board member on an Open Society Institute (OSI) project. OSI, which is now called Open Society Foundations, was founded by Soros and describes itself as “the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.”

Stone and Jones would continue to smear Hill. During the March 15, 2018, broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Stone said, “We also reported exclusively last year that H.R. McMaster’s top aide was a globalist named Fiona Hill who we traced directly to George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Now we have learned that it was Hill who facilitated the conversation between McMaster and [former NSA adviser Susan] Rice that has gotten McMaster fired.”

Stone added, “Again, we here at Infowars first identified Fiona Hill, the globalist leftist Soros insider who had infiltrated McMaster’s staff.” Jones said, “We broke this word for word, in May 31, 2017, ‘Bombshell: Soros insider infiltrates Trump administration.’ Then it was picked up by NewsMax and then it was hand delivered to the president at Mar-a-Lago, we can now reveal, back in the summer of last year.” Jones described Hill as “this Soros operative lady who is the linchpin to it all,” and Stone later claimed, “We know that the president first took note of Fiona Hill because of our reporting here at Infowars. Now he’s put two and two together and figured out — we’ve confirmed this this morning — that Fiona Hill was the one who engineered his communications with Susan Rice.”