If you are Facebook friends with any Trump supporters, then your timeline has probably been hijacked a time or two by videos starring Alex Jones - the InfoWars host and "Walter Cronkite of shrieking, batshit gorilla clowns," according to John Oliver. But Oliver says that Jones is also one of the most successful telemarketers in America today because of his clever way of capitalizing on his audience's fears.
Jones is infamous for spouting conspiracy theories about pretty much everything - from saying that NASA faked the moon landing, to claiming that frogs are becoming gay thanks to chemicals in our water, to arguing that national tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing and 9/11 were inside jobs. Alex Jones probably thinks that Alex Jones is a conspiracy to discredit the far-right. So the rants that leave him looking like Hitler's swollen hemorrhoids might make you wonder how he funds his vitriolic show.
Turns out, he uses those tangents to sell products on the show - many of which are branded as InfoWars merchandise, like the Bill Clinton-themed rape whistle that comes with a free '9-11 Was An Inside Job' bumper sticker. But that's not the only insane tie-in that Jones hawks on the program. Oliver's team recently analyzed a number of segments and found that InfoWars often stokes fears about a certain issue, then segues into an ad that seems to offer the solution.
"If you play his clips in isolation, he looks like a loon. But if you play them in context, he looks like a skilled salesman spending hours a day frightening you about issues like refugees spreading disease and then selling you an answer. Remember that gay frog...He did a follow-up show explaining how chemicals were being placed in the water to feminize society and reduce the population and then immediately segued to [a pitch for water filters]."
Of course, the concept of Alex Jones the slick salesman defies the image of Jones as a struggling crusader for truth who puts every cent he has into the show. Jones often talks about how cash-strapped InfoWars is, and his website even includes a Support Us page asking for donations to help "fund the fight against tyranny." So the idea that he is an accomplished salesman would make his pleas for money seem disingenuous. Then again, so does his attire on the show. As Oliver pointed out, Jones frequently appears on camera wearing Rolex watches that contradict the notion that he's pinching pennies to keep the light of liberty burning in America.
And if that doesn't make you cynical about InfoWars, Jones' explanation for his luxury-wear will.
"I wear a blue sports coat and a Rolex because it's a symbol of the middle class and humanity having prosperity and promoting human prosperity from the perspective of empowering humanity and stealing the image of a man in a sports jacket with a Rolex that is the Satanic image," Jones once said on-air. "So I dress as a Satanist so that I can enter their world and show you that none of it means anything."
There you have it. Jones isn't a purple-faced pitchman selling snake-oil to cure whatever terrifies you. He's an undercover Satanist. And a very successful one since his show reaches an audience of 6 million people every week. So since Oliver can't beat him, he's decided to join Jones by shilling his own InfoWars-esque product: John Oliver's Moisture-Armored Tactical Assault Wipes designed for exclusive use on your taint (to mock a perineum hygiene product that Jones once promoted). The luxury wipes cost a hefty $1,000,000 USD, but unlike with the products Jones offers, every cent of the proceeds will be given to Doctors Without Borders.
Check out his pitch at the end of this clip.