"My mind hasn't been made up on AJ [Alex Jones] 100 percent."--Richard Poplawski, the Pittsburgh shooter.
WWW--The smoke on this one has yet to clear, and this writer wagers that it won't for some time. So far, Rawstory and DailyKos have enigmatically offered retractions that Pittsburgh shooter Richard Poplawski was influenced by the writings and musings of Alex Jones and his affiliated websites Inforwars and PrisonPlanet.
The Rawstory retraction is still puzzling this writer as the original source--The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette--which hasn't backed down, even going so far as to print an exchange between them and Alex Jones that not only doesn't let the conspiracy guru off-the-hook in being one of the shooter's influences, but actually confirming it with his rhetoric that sounds almost exactly like the terms used by Poplawski and his questionable acquaintances:
Mr. Jones, in a telephone interview with the Post-Gazette, denied any extremist views and described himself as "more of a libertarian" than member of the right wing.
He also denounced the violence that took place in Stanton Heights and suggested it reflected growing worries about gun confiscation.
"When the police and the military attempt to come for the guns, which they're going to do, it's not going to go well." [Ed.--My emphasis.]
He also complained that his views were being conflated with extremists that recruit people with legitimate concerns reflected on his own site and program.
"It's almost like I wake people up and they just get handed over to the nuts," he said. ("Poplawski was 'Braced for Fate' in days leading to attack," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.07.2009)
And maybe they were already nuts, Mr. Jones? And what about you? Why else would cowering skinheads feel an affinity with you and your paranoiac publications, media appearances and documentaries? Because if you insert the word "Jew" in your pronouncements, writings, and documentaries, you have the same ideology.
One word, that's it, the same.
Like all demagogues, Jones and his curious cadre are appealing to real social and economic problems--there are very real concerns regarding our most cherished liberties thanks to the damage done by the Bush II years to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But is running around yelling and intimidating progressives--as Jones is doing--going to fix anything? No, but his output and that of his kind has the potential of pushing another Richard Poplawski towards mindless violent action again, and there are many like him out there right now.
Jones has some intelligence: he knows that there is a slack-jawed segment of the left and progressive streams that might mistake him as one of theirs. That's part of the plan, as it is with Ron Paul, but also a tactic of the white hate underground to cloak yourself in the rhetoric of the progressive left to appear more "palatable." Is Jones a racist? Does it really matter when he appeals to them, ideologically?
A couple days ago, his PrisonPlanet was gloating (since that's what they frequently do) over the fact that Rawstory and DailyKos offered their retractions., but not everyone's falling for it.
...Other notable blogs such as Little Green Footballs and Media Matters should also follow the example set by Raw Story and Daily Kos in issuing retractions.
As we announced in our previous article, we will consider taking further action should full and frank retractions not be forthcoming. ...Unfortunately that does not constitute journalism and in sensitive cases like this one it very often leads to slander and libel. ("Daily Kos Issues Retraction of Infowars/Poplawski Smear," Infowars.com, 04.07.2009)
Yet today, I received an email from SPLC (The Southern Poverty Law Center) with a link to the original Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article noting Jones's presence in the ideological-lexicon of one Richard Poplawski.
Neither the ADL or the Post-Gazette are offering any retractions, which could be very telling. This could be because they're not as disabled by the economic crisis and don't take threats like those from PrisonPlanet and Infowars as seriously as the sites that have offered-up their retractions--retractions that they've probably yielded to far too easily.
The straw man issue that Jones and his acolytes are putting out there is that these sites claimed his nexus of sites working as an "outlet for 'hate speech,' " which isn't what this writer or many others were claiming, but that there's a very real ideological-thread connecting all of them together. The white hate underground doesn't have a problem acknowledging these commonalities, but if you're trying to cater to everybody with a message of anti-government paranoia, you have to accept the dross as well--and that's leaving-out Jones's snake oil advertisers that include himself.
A message to Alex Jones: Libertarianism is a right-wing ideology, with connections and affinities to the farthest-reaches of the extremist right. That the moths are attracted to his light just speaks volumes that he's arch-conservative. This writer believes he's well aware of this fact. Tune into Fox News for his next appearance, it should be good for a laugh...until you realize what he's about. One of Jones's main methods of attack is to claim that the rest of us "don't get it." I think many of us get it. Fascism comes from below, and no, it's not just about little old Alex Jones.
"Suspect in officers' shooting was into conspiracy theories," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.05.2009: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09095/960750-53.stm
"Daily Kos Issues Retraction of Infowars/Poplawski Smear," Infowars.com, 04.07.2009: http://www.infowars.com/daily-kos-issues-retraction-of-infowarspoplawski-smear/"Poplawski was 'Braced for Fate' in days leading to attack," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.07.2009: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09096/960938-100.stm