After conspiracy theorist Alex Jones lost his platform across many forms of social media, Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and various others, it did not take long for those who support Alex Jones and Infowars to complain that his First Amendment rights to free speech were being stepped on. One conservative personality who uses Twitter, Bill Mitchell wrote, “Social media goes Gestapo!” Out of the 366,000 followers that Mitchell has on Twitter it remains unknown how many share his sentiment where Alex Jones is concerned.
The removal of Alex Jones is something that Democrats have been after for quite some time as they applied pressure to the big tech companies to try and put an end to the spread of what they would like the rest of the world to believe was misinformation. When I stop and consider how honest main stream media has proven itself to be in recent history I personally would put more faith in the world of Alex Jones and that is more than likely the problem that a lot of Democrats and their followers have with Alex Jones. Now that main stream media has lost the trust of the American people we are turning toward people like Alex Jones and placing our trust more in what men like Jones say than we are in what the liberal controlled main stream media would like for us to believe.
For years liberals have tried to silence Alex Jones and get his content removed from social media. Sunday, Apple removed five of the six Infowars podcasts and Monday morning Facebook and Google’s YouTube had done the same. When someone stops to consider the timing of how all of these big tech companies came together and did the same thing all within less than twenty four hours of each other there is no way that anyone can see this as anything less than collusion. But the joint removal of his content is not the only measure that has been taken to silence Alex Jones voice. He also faces several defamation claims that he has to defend himself against in court. Long before the joint effort to lessen the exposure that the rest of the world has to Alex Jones, scholars have been trying to claim that the words of Alex Jones are not protected by the First Amendment.
In one recent case four law professors who specialize in the First Amendment strongly encouraged a judge not to allow Jones to hide behind the First Amendment while referring to his words as absurd conspiracy theories. The scholars wrote, “false speech does not serve the public interest the way that true speech does. And indeed, there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact.”
The filing was submitted in June during the case of Brennan Gilmore, a former State Department official and Democratic party activist who was among the large mass of people that attended the rally in Charlottesville last August. Gilmore was one of the many on the street that unfortunate day on August 12 when James Alex Fields Jr. drove into a crowd of people killing a young woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring several others. Shortly after Gilmore posted a video of the episode online talking about the incident he found himself accused by Alex Jones of being a plant from the Central Intelligence Agency. He further made the claim that killing Heather Heyer was an attempt to bring about the downfall of President Trump.
Brennan Gilmore is not the only one to bring a defamation law suit against Alex Jones. The parents of the students who ere killed at Sandy Hook have also found reason to bring defamation law suits against Jones. However, it is Gilmores case against Jones that has set a precedent as it was the first case against Alex Jones where the judge presiding over the case sought the opinion of First Amendment scholars. While defending himself against the defamation accusations Alex Jones has stated that the allegations he made against Gilmore were his personal opinion and not stated facts.
Scholars who were consulted by the judge shared the opinion that the protection of free speech is beyond words when it comes to the importance of protecting it, however going back to the middle ages defamation law has always set boundaries that dictate what is socially acceptable and unacceptable as far as free speech is concerned. While trying to balance out the freedom of expression the reputations of people must also be valued and find themselves protected. It is this reason that defamation law has always placed a restriction on some forms of speech.
Although I personally believe that the banning and removal of Alex Jones was a planned joint effort, as a journalist I value the importance of the First Amendment and see it as a great power that we all possess. However, with great power comes great responsibility. If Alex Jones crossed that line and became irresponsible with his use of that power then yes he must be held accountable. In the words of Stephen Colbert if accountability doesn’t apply to everyone then it means nothing.