“You want a fight? You better believe, baby, you’ve got one.”
That was Alex Jones a few weeks ago after Chobani sued Jones, the head of InfoWars and a lunatic par excellence, after his fake-news website accused the yogurt maker of somehow being involved in the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl last June, among other ridiculous claims about Twin Falls. Jones vowed to “win or die” in his battle against Chobani, and pledged to come to Idaho and dig up evidence to support his claims.
Fast-forward to this week, when Jones said:
“During the week of April 10, 2017, certain statements were made on the InfoWars Twitter feed and YouTube channel regarding Chobani, LLC, that I now understand to be wrong. The tweets and video have now been retracted, and will not be reposted. On behalf of InfoWars, I regret that we mischaracterized Chobani, its employees and the people of Twin Falls, Idaho, the way we did.”
Make no mistake about the significance of this apology. It’s not the same as a newspaper correction, where a reporter mistakenly misspelled a name or did some bad math. This is admission that InfoWars concocted a serious whopper about Chobani, knew it was inaccurate, and pushed the story anyway to promote a twisted political point of view. InfoWars is not journalism; it’s propaganda.
And it’s a signal to any others wishing to smear Twin Falls that there will be consequences.
All of us in Twin Falls should be thankful to Chobani for calling Jones out. For two years, we’ve been victims of Jones and other conspiracy theorists who’ve twisted stories about the yogurt maker, city government, refugees and Muslims to paint a portrait of our town that simply isn’t accurate. Unless you’ve been asleep since last summer, you know how damaging fake news can be. Just look at what’s happening in Washington, where several probes are underway into how fake news may have influenced the presidential election.
The apology should also suck much of the wind out of the anti-refugee crowd, who cited Jones and others like them in their arguments.
It should be clear by now that Jones and his anti-Muslim ilk do not have your best interests at heart. Rather, they’re preying upon people’s concerns to boost their own profiles and profit from your fears. These people don’t live here, they don’t work here, and they don’t give a hoot about what happens in Twin Falls.
To hitch your wagon to Jones and others like him is a serious mistake.
Further, Jones does incredible damage to those who have legitimate concerns about refugee resettlement. Not everyone opposed to resettling refugees is a bigot like Jones, but there is such a thing as guilt by association. Let’s continue to discuss resettlement; let’s not do it while embracing wingnuts.
Jones’ apology amounts to a settlement with Chobani, who was never in this lawsuit for the money. Chobani simply wanted Jones to tell the truth.
Now that he has, we have just one question for Jones: How does that crow taste?