Alex Jones and the Battle over Fake News

Alex Jones has been removed from some of the primary platforms he used like YouTube and Facebook, and while most individuals will no doubt be jumping up and down for joy about him no longer being able to spread his fake news, I have some decidedly other views and concerns.

Like him or hate him Alex Jones is an alternative form of media. Alternative media is the king when talking about the Internet and even streaming platforms, especially on YouTube and other social media sites and alternative media frequently inserts opinion into its articles or videos. In some cases its much more popular than its own professional counterpart. The Streaming Advisor could be viewed as alternative media. And We try to present an unbiased and accurate source for our readers. Ryan has frequently critiqued my writings not only pointing out parts that I got wrong but where it was obvious that I injected far more opinion into a writing then it should contain.  He is a professionally trained journalist and I’m not. So I value his guidance regarding such matters. But one of the main reasons why alternative media is as popular it has become is in some ways due to the failure of the professional media.

Ryan started The Streaming Adviser because he was getting frustrated at seeing major media sources get it wrong when talking about the topic of Cord Cutting and devices like Roku and Apple TV. He wanted to create a website where individuals could read realistic reviews of various streaming devices and wanted to give the readers the tools to make informed decisions on which way to go when dealing with the topic of cord cutting and online streaming. He knew that the streaming device that was best for you may not necessarily be the best one for your neighbor, or the next reader. He invited me to write for him because… well to be honest, I’m not sure. I frequently question his judgment on that decision, but I can only assume that it was because I was honest, if not totally unbiased.

I’m not going to pretend that Alex Jones is worth high praise or should be commended for the quality of his material. But I have a tendency to agree with Tim Pool when he says that he views Alex Jones as a ‘canary in a coal mine’. YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms do have a right to remove whatever content that they want. But considering the controversies that many of these services like YouTube and Facebook have been caught up in on the lack of consistency in how they apply their own standards, it should be disturbing to everyone. Nor is it really new. It wasn’t all that long ago that Ryan and I both wrote articles pertaining to attempts to remove NRA TV from Roku, Apple TV and the Amazon Fire TV. I also find it disturbing that Oliver Darcy wants the news media to be given credit for his removal because it causes me to also question why it was removed and how dangerous it can be.

Alex Jones doesn’t strike me as the type that can be easily shut up. And while I have no doubt that he has been hurt financially as well as accessibility, I don’t believe that he is down for the count. If anything, the attention brought to him because of this will likely cause more people to hear him out. I do have concerns that this attempt to remove someone will become a common tactic and if it does the question then becomes ‘where does it end’?

I hope all of these social media sites will decide that it was a mistake that they took down Info Wars and make it accessible to people, not because I think Alex Jones has valid points or deserves to be heard, but because when they take these tactics and get caught up in the culture war battles they neglect to understand that they alienate a sizable number of their users.

It also causes my paranoia to flare up and wonder how long it will be before they come after us.