A review of Alex’s War, a documentary film by Alex Lee Moyer on Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, 2 hours, 11 minutes
Alex Jones may be cancelled, banned, censored, and silenced on social media platforms and from mainstream media, but he’s in the spotlight once again with the penalty phase of his trial to determine how much he owes the parents suing him for his defamatory remarks that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged with child actors (leading to years of harassment of the grieving families by Jones’s deranged followers), and now with a new documentary film by Alex Lee Moyer (her previous film was TFW No GF), Alex’s War (see trailer), released today, July 29, 2022 (available on Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu).
Alex’s War is not pure hagiography (Moyer was given access to InfoWars archives and followed Jones around with a camera crew starting in 2020), but neither does it treat its subject with the skepticism so sorely needed. As such, at 2 hours and 11 minutes, it’s too long by half, with eye-rolling repetitive clips from Jones’s paroxysms about the “elites” and “globalists” conspiring to institute the “New World Order” that will end in a “One World Government” that will “micromanage” each of our lives through intimidation, imprisonment, and the threat of violence. The film opens with this disclaimer: “You are about to watch a documentary film about controversial American media personality Alex Jones. The film will contain coverage of real events, as well as ideas and perspectives held by the film’s participants, which some viewers may feel upset by or disagree with.”
Do you think? Isn’t that Jones’s entire shtick?
The disclaimer continues: “They are nevertheless presented here in a constructive effort to promote discussion, and to offer an authentic depiction of the subject matter.”
I’m sorry to say that the film falls far short of this lofty goal, although there were glimpses of authenticity. An early clip is revealing. “This isn’t some crazy conspiracy theory,” says the man who has trafficked in conspiracy theories for decades and quite possibly made more money than any conspiracy theorist in history with the possible exception of Oliver Stone. “This is reality. Truth is stranger than fiction.” Unfortunately, mostly what we get in this film is Jones’s fiction, and if there is truth it is hard to discern.
Toggling between historical archives and current events, Moyer follows Jones and his team as they march and protest the outcome of the 2020 election in Washington DC, where a mob chanting “InfoWars” is led by Jones and his colleague Owen Shroyer, who says into Moyer’s camera that he hasn’t been there “since the fake pandemic,” adding that he’s marching because he’s worried that the Democrats “are going to turn the country into a Communist hell hole.” On his ubiquitous bullhorn, Jones growls “Bill Gates can burn in hell.” He then explains to Moyer:
“Everything’s a war. That’s how the universe works. There are competing forces that are trying to dominate. I am the most banned, most demonized media person in the world. I don’t feel sorry for myself. This is what happens when you get successful and you’re over the target.”
After this rant, in which he calls his critics “chicken-neck rats,” without a hint of irony this is followed by Jones proclaiming optimistically: “American unity: we all love each other.” Sure.
An early revelation in the film came when Jones mentioned reading Gary Allen’s None Dare Call it Conspiracy when he was a teenager, a book I also read in my youth, advertised as “a primer for anyone who wishes to understand the basic workings of the global network of Insiders that is determined to wield power over all of mankind in the coming New World Order.” Searching for the intellectual roots of Alex Jonesism may sound oxymoronic, but in fact all ideas flow into and out of catch basins of culture and ideology, and Moyer screen grabs this quote from the book: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
Actually, historically, that is rarely the case, and we would be wise to employ a maxim among conspiracy researchers (of which I am one), expanding on Hanlon’s razor: “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” When this is applied to conspiracy theories, I call it the conspiracism principle: never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence or chance. I expand on this in depth in my forthcoming book Conspiracy: Why the Rational Believe the Irrational.
Jones explains to Moyer that he grew up in a wealthy suburb of Dallas, watching televangelists raking in millions, living in their mansions, sipping their drinks on their balconies, and “snorting cocaine off of prostitutes’ breasts,” which Jones claims he witnessed with the aid of his binoculars as a prurient 12-year old. Growing up in the 1980s, Jones’s authorized autobiographical commentary continues when he recalls witnessing gangs, fights, and even police going to parties to sell people drugs—”crazy, like a James Dean movie!” Bullied, Jones hit the gym after his father told him he would have to defend himself, and a number of fisticuffs landed him in juvenile hall. “I didn’t look for trouble but I guess I enjoyed it when it happened.”
Since conspiracy theories have long been in the wheelhouse of skeptics, I have followed Jones for decades. One obvious problem with studying him is discerning when he’s lying, when he thinks he’s telling the truth (however self-deceived he may be) and when he’s bullshitting, defined as not caring whether or not something is true. As Moyer follows him around a post-election November 2020 protest in Atlanta, Georgia, standing in front of the interlinking Olympic rings from when the games were hosted there, Jones proceeds to explain to a curious passerby that the logo was designed by none other than Adolf Hitler (in the context of griping about the removal of Confederate statues), declaring “you can look it up on Google.” (I did—the interlocking rings of the Olympic flag was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the co-founder of the modern Olympic games. The five rings represented the five participating continents of the time: Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and Oceania.)
Continuing the Stop the Steal rally in Georgia, Jones denounces the media for saying “Trump is a Russian agent. No evidence,” but then announces that “Biden is a Communist Chinese agent, 100 percent provable. He’s done.” This is followed by a brief tour of the “Great Reset” conspiracy theory, or what Jones calls “the darkest Satanic force ever on the face of this planet and it must be opposed.” Part of that conspiracy theory involves the Georgia Guidestones, a granite monument built in 1980 and sometimes known as the American Stonehenge. The creators were steeped in Cold War fears over thermonuclear annihilation and the monument was meant to serve as a guide for a post-apocalyptic humanity. In the film Jones is seen urinating on one of the six giant slabs, convinced that the site is connected to George Soros, Ted Turner, and Satanism. On July 6, 2022, not long after Jones’s gross desecration of the monument, domestic terrorists, apparently acting on similar conspiratorial beliefs, detonated a bomb that severely damaged the slabs, and the rest were raised by bulldozers later that day.
The film then time travels back to Jones’s 1980s youth in Austin, where he moved after his his troubles in Dallas. There he was introduced to and watched obsessively access TV, where he encountered conspiracy theorists wildly speculating about the “New World Order” for “global domination,” leading Jones to have a revelation. “That’s what I’ll do.”
Conspiracism in the 1990s peaked with two events: the fiery disaster at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993, and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Visiting both in person with camera crew at the ready, in front of the latter monument Jones breathlessly explained that “they don’t want you to know what really happened here. Either they’re exploiting this terrible tragedy and the children who died, or they were actively engaged in it; yes, the Federal government actively engaged in tyranny. Actually, that’s the way history works. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For Waco, Jones went there and recruited people to rebuild the Branch Davidian church and a memorial and museum for what happened in 1993. Naturally, Jones thinks the Federal government was behind it, and while the ATF did not act in the most professional manner, we would be wise to again employ the conspiracism principle: never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence or chance.
Then there is the mother of all inside jobs: 9/11. The archival footage of Jones’s apparently prophetic commentary on July 25, 2001 is chilling: Jones broadcast the White House phone number and instructed his listeners to call in to tell them not to blow up the World Trade Center building and blame it on Osama bin Laden. And in retroactively taking credit for the prophecy Jones has on his show none other than Joe Rogan, who to his credit pushes back against Jones:
Rogan: “You don’t think that there are people in other countries who hate us? You think our government did it. What are they trying to accomplish?”
Jones: “Why did Hitler burn the Reichstag?”
Rogan: “Blaming anyone without evidence is irresponsible speculation.”
Jones: “The government that puts cancer vaccines into your children, Ritalin and Prozac, toxins in the water, is telling you that people who live in mud huts is your enemy. They’re all working for the great Satan and I’ve got all the evidence connected once you start looking at it.”
Moyer then artfully weaves present commentary with footage from Jones’s 2007 documentary film End Game, as the CEO of Conspiracy, Inc. rants about the globalist destruction of our country, how the elites will unleash a super virus to kill us all while they evolve into super humans with the aid of advanced technologies, ultimately granting them eternal lives as they travel throughout the cosmos. “It’s all happened,” Jones tells Moyer with the hindsight bias in full force. “We’re living in the End Game. In 2023, Covid 2022 will shut everything down. I told my son there will be no more colleges or universities to go to as they’ll all be shut down.”
The film winds down (mercifully) by addressing Sandy Hook and Jones’s current legal troubles. On the one hand, Jones says “I don’t lie to people. Sometimes I make mistakes. I pointed out anomalies in the Sandy Hook story. Does The New York Times get in trouble for lying about WMDs that got us into a war that killed tens of thousands of people? No!” On the other hand, archival footage has Jones saying “My gut tells me that the government killed these kids. They kill little kids all day every day. They’re doing it.”
Deception, self-deception, or bullshit?
Finally, of course, Jones was there at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, but not, apparently, to participate in the insurrection. Moyer films Jones telling a sizable crowd through his bullhorn:
“Listen to me. We are not Antifa. Don’t give the police what they want. We are peaceful. We won this election. We do not want confrontation with the police to be the story. I’m going to march to the other side where we have a stage. Peacefully. The police are causing problems throwing flash bangs. We don’t want to have a Kent State here. This is beautiful. I love you. But march to the other side.”
And with a touch of humanity, he tells Moyer, “Ok, here’s what happened. The capitol police were understaffed. They stood down and the rest is history. It was a total nightmare, one of the worst days of my life.”
Just when you thought perhaps there is an once of humanity and rationality in Alex Jones, on January 20, 2021 Jones went on the air to announce that the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, had been installed in a giant coup by the globalist Chinese Communists.
Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, and the author of a number of New York Times bestselling books. His next book will be published on October 25, 2022, titled Conspiracy: Why the Rational Believe the Irrational. You can preorder it here.