- The Washington Times - Friday, December 9, 2016

A conspiracy theorist blamed with propagating the so-called Pizzagate scandal and urged supporters to petition President-elect Donald Trump this week in order to prevent being silenced by a supposedly imminent “government-led shut down” against online purveyors of fake news.

Radio host and Infowars.com founder Alex Jones announced a “red level emergency” Wednesday amid facing renewed criticism for passing off bogus accusations as being legitimate.

“In an effort to try and censor the liberty movement and free speech, the mainstream media is now attempting to label legitimate news sources like Infowars as ‘fake news’ to push towards a government-led shut down of Infowars.com,” Mr. Jones wrote on his website.

“We are calling on and asking President-Elect Donald J. Trump to take a stand against the establishment media’s ‘fake news’ attacks and to stop the impending censorship of independent media platforms like Infowars.com and others,” Mr. Jones wrote in the statement, which accompanied a form where visitors can “ask Donald Trump to fight back against ‘fake news’ attacks.”

Mr. Jones, 42, earned notoriety as a conspiracy theorist years ago as a result of using his radio show and websites to peddle unfounded allegations surrounding news events ranging from the September 11 terror attacks to the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting — the latter he once described as “a giant hoax.”

More recently, the devout Trump supporter claimed the president-elect’s former White House rival Hillary Clinton “personally murdered and chopped up” children during a November broadcast.

Despite his theories being widely panned, Mr. Jones gained new attention in recent weeks after reports suggested that the outcome of the 2016 presidential race was influenced to some degree by the spread of pro-Trump “fake news” published on websites, including his own. 

Post-election discussions surrounding the “fake news” phenomenon took a dark turn earlier this week when a 28-year-old North Carolina man fired a gun inside of a D.C. pizzeria while “self-investigating” a debunked conspiracy theory the restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, is at the center of a child abuse ring that implicates Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, John Podeta, and other members of Washington’s elite.

“I may just have to take off a week and just only research this and actually go to where these places are and stuff,” Mr. Jones said days before Edgar Welch opened fire inside the eatery on a Sunday afternoon. “Fact, I’m looking at getting on a plane. … I can’t just say something and not see it for myself. They go to these pizza places. There’s like satanic art everywhere.”

Mrs. Clinton discussed the fake news phenomenon during a Capitol Hill appearance Thursday, saying: “It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. This isn’t about politics or partisanship — lives are at risk.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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