Tuesday, 8 January 2013

chain of tools

Never let it be said that this is my england is a fan of the oily, shifty Piers Morgan. Indeed, the only time his name has come up here was in a piece which expressed the hope that he will eventually come unstuck as a result of the phone hacking-related allegations that have dogged him since his stint in the editor's chair at the Daily Mirror.

So it's quite an achievement for someone to share a TV screen with Morgan and manage to make the former Mirror man seem likeable in comparison. This week, a noted conspiracy theory whackjob has achieved precisely this. Here is Alex Jones in action:

If you've not followed the back story to this interview, and if you don't feel like watching all of the clip, you may need a little background info. Well, it started with Morgan recently joining the call for tighter gun laws in the USA, prompted to do so in the wake of the murder of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Predictably, this outraged the more vocal elements of America's pro-gun lobby, whose feeling seems to be that no one should enjoy the protection of the US Constitution's First Amendment when questioning the wisdom and present day relevance of the Second. Of course, Morgan being a tawdry controversialist, he simply had to cheapen his argument by resorting to a needlessly inflammatory approach to an interview with Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America"You're an unbelievably stupid man", Morgan told Pratt. "You don't actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America."

Very shortly after that interview was aired, Alex Jones responded by organising an online petition calling for the deportation of Piers Morgan back to the UK. As of today, the petition has been signed by over 106,000 people. 

It may be the case that Piers Morgan genuinely cares about gun control, about the number of people killed with firearms in the US and about the awful events in Connecticut. There's no evidence that he's being insincere on this occasion. But we do know for sure that he cares a lot about his TV ratings. We know this from Morgan's numerous juvenile Twitter pissing contests with Alan Sugar on this very theme. So Piers was doubtless rubbing his hands with glee when Alex Jones agreed to a CNN interview. This will be good telly, Morgan must have thought. Jones is a combustible madman whose demented performance will really hit the headlines.  

Pay per click, pay per prick
If you think that Alex Jones actually believes everything he says, then you will conclude that he was walked into a trap by the wilier and smarmier British broadcaster. You'll be thinking that Jones sincerely holds views about a sinister globalist power seeking to take Americans' guns away as part of a wider plan to oppress them. You'll be thinking that Jones is a sincere but terribly naive pro-gun lobbyist, whose ridiculous performances on TV only serve to undermine the cause he wants to support. But let's consider an alternative characterisation of Alex Jones - that he is a fake and a charlatan; that he makes a good living by merely playing the part of someone who actually believes in the all the fantastical stories which he tells. The view here is that this characterisation is an accurate one and that you can file Jones along with other well-paid bullshitters and fake doom-mongers. File him next to David Icke, who doesn't really believe in the existence of a shadowy global elite descended from reptilian aliens. File him next to all those rich, materialistic TV evangelists, faith healers and health-and-wealth preachers whose cynical manipulation of desperate people is wrapped up a supposedly humane Christian lexicon.

In this analysis, it doesn't matter to Alex Jones if he comes across as a raving lunatic on TV. He welcomes it, in fact. Better ratings. More book sales. He's just an entertainer, after all.

So what we see when we watch CNN's Piers Morgan interviewing Alex Jones is one cynical media whore doing business with another - followed by other media outlets covering the farce in order to grab a few eyeballs themselves. 

Were all of this not dismal enough, another showboating faker is sticking his oar in and making himself look worse than he already does.

Step forward Max Keiser, a finance journalist who specialises in hyperbole, offbeam predictions and attention-seeking stunts. Keiser has a flexible moral code. On one hand he purports to shine a light on wrongdoers in the world of finance and among the US intelligence agencies. But on the other hand he gets paid by the English-language mouthpieces of repressive states such as the Islamic Republic of Iran and Vladmir Putin's gangster kleptocracy.

On top of this, while weighing into the commentary around the Morgan-Jones interview, Keiser reveals a taste for old-fashioned homophobic jibes. Presumably he's playing up to the prejudices of his Iranian and Russian masters. 

No one comes over as likeable in this chain of tools. Vain, posturing, insincere men saying inflammatory things in order to keep being noticed on television - and this all came about because of the murder of young children at the end of last year. Shame on them, the utter tools.

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