Why Is MSNBC Allowing Fringe Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones to Hype His Truther Website?
MSNBC anchors, such as Chris Matthews, often rail about a supposed failure by conservatives and Republicans to denounce birthers from their ranks. Yet, host Contessa Brewer interviewed 9/11 truther (and seller of birther merchandise) Alex Jones on Friday, allowing him to hype his conspiracy website three times.
Jones appeared on MSNBC's News Live to recount his gossip-filled interview with actor and friend Charlie Sheen. So desperate for the latest news on the unpredictable celebrity, Brewer blandly introduced, "Sheen was speaking with Alex Jones. He's the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show."
At no time did she hint that Jones promotes fringe theories blaming the U.S. government for 9/11 and distributes a documentary about "the chemtrail/geo-engineering" coverup. Jones also sells "Barry Soetoro" T-shirts (implying that the President is using an alias and is a secret Indonesian citizen).
Throughout the interview, Brewer repeatedly allowed Jones to plug his website. While speaking of Sheen, Jones enthused, "That was the wildest radio interview I've done in 16 years in the history of Infowars.com."
Brewer closed the interview by gushing, "It was a great interview. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your perspective with all the background information you bring to the table as well." (Keep in mind, this is a man behind a documentary on secret FEMA camps.)
Brewer also skipped the fact that Sheen, like Jones, is also a 9/11 truther and even considered narrating a documentary on the conspiracy.
One wonders if Chris Matthews, who hyperventilates about any conservative he deems not significantly outraged by conspiracy theories, will denounce his own network for featuring Jones.
A transcript of the Februay 25 segment, which aired at 12:08pm EST, follows:
CONTESSA BREWER: CBS has pulled the plug on the hit comedy hit comedy Two and a Half Men for the rest of the season. Charlie Sheen gave a no-holds barred radio interview where he attacked the show's creator. Sheen was speaking with Alex Jones. He's the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show. Alex joins us right now by phone. And, Alex, I mean, he says something like, you know, he called Chuck by his Jewish, first name, his Jewish birth name there. He just ranted on and on. Was this the kind of interview you expected when you booked Charlie Sheen?
ALEX JONES: No, it wasn't. I wanted to get Charlie on because I've been out at his home a few weeks ago and he is completely clean and off drugs. I was there when nurses were coming every day to, you know, get a urine test and he's working out and getting back in shape and I'm like, "come on. And tell folks, you know, that you're getting back on the right track." And then he said, "Hey, let's talk about the show some." And, you know, I can't say that it's a great thing, you know, the jokes he was making about Chuck Lorre and I talked to him last night, it was just meant as a joke. That was, you know, kind of out of the blue. But the big issue here is that Charlie wants to be able to get out to the media, Chuck Lorre did vanity card after vanity card after Two and a Half men the last few weeks and on his other hit shows basically saying that Charlie is soulless and unhappy and a loser and he's going to outlive Charlie while CBS was telling Charlie we're going to cancel the show if you criticize anybody on the show or Chuck Lorre. So, Charlie tried to be friendly. I was there when he was on the phone with some of them trying to bury the hatchet and then he basically bowed down to them and then he feels like Chuck spit on him and so he feels humiliated. I mean, Chuck Lorre wrote vicious, vicious-
BREWER: For instance Lorre posted a vanity card at the end of one recent episode that said, you know, he was living this clean life and he says, quote, "If Charlie Sheen outlives me I'm going to be really pissed." So you're saying that Charlie Sheen was trying to make amends with Chuck Lorre even after all these vanity cards were up.
JONES: He kept taking it and taking it and I think the anger built up and I want to see the show continue. I want to see all these people get back together and be friends. I know they've been friends in the past but bottom line, it's wrong for people to say that Charlie is the person that's throwing the first stone here or drawing first blood when Chuck Lorre wrote a lot of other vanity cards on other shows even worse, basically calling Charlie soulless and empty.
JONES: I mean, this is some really vicious stuff.
BREWER: So, Alex-
JONES: And Charlie is the bad guy for responding? It's all up on InfoWars.com.
BREWER: So, let me ask you, when he called Chuck Lorre though, Chaim Levin, did you interpret that in the moment as being anti-Semitic?
JONES: [Laughs]: I didn't even know what it meant until the media was calling me and still there is some debate about exactly what it meant. He said a slightly different name that I believe is his real name on my show and the media was asking me about it. So, then I went and noticed Charlie texted TMZ, had another word, and I looked it up this morning and it didn't mean what the media told me it meant. The Urban Dictionary said it meant clueless. I mean, listen. Charlie Sheen's two sons with Brooke Mueller are Jewish. I was at Charlie's house two weeks ago. You know, there is dreidel sitting on the counter. Charlie loves everybody. I'm at his house. There are Jews, black people, you name it. Chbrlie was basically just joking around. And, no, I didn't get it at the time. It wasn't until I was on a national TV show and they asked me. I mean, it was an hour long interview.
JONES: That I then went home and started researching it. But certainly if people are taking that as anti-Semitic I certainly renounce that if that's how it was meant but I talk to Charlie last night and he said, no, man, it's a joke. It's a joke.
BREWER: That's why I wanted your take on that. I gotta- I want to play one more question up from the show when you were asking him about his drug use. Let me play the clip from your show, Alex, and then talk to you on the other side.
CHARLIE SHEEN: There is nothing deplorable that a certain Haim [sic] Levine, yeah that's Chuck's real name, mistook this rock star for his own selfish exit strategy, Bro. Last I checked, Haim, I've spent i think close to the last decade I don't know effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold.
BREWER: Okay. So, that's not the one I wanted to play. You asked if he's completely clean. He says 100- Oh, we do have it. Okay. So, let's play that one.
JONES: You're completely clean, aren't you?
SHEEN: 100 percent. You know, here's your first pee test. Next one goes in your mouth. No, you won't get high. It's all good guys. Quit panicking.
BREWER: Okay. That was the one I wanted to play. Do you think Charlie Sheen is in a good place when it comes to living a clean life?
JONES: Well, I know when I was at his house for a few days a week and a half ago he was working out twice a day, drinking health shakes, still smoking cigarettes and things like that, but really just full of a lot of energy. A lot of times when you co off a seven-month quasi-bender, from what I've read the endorphins start waking up. You get a lot of energy. And so, sure. I would call Charlie energized. That was the wildest radio interview I've done in 16 years in the history of Infowars.com. But I think that people, you know, should, should judge Charlie for his entire life not just some of the episodes that people can spin. He's a lot more complex of a person than just, you know, one interview or one falling off the wagon shows. And let's just remember-
BREWER: Or a few. I mean, Alex. Or a few episodes of that. Hey, listen. It was a great interview. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your perspective with all the background information you bring to the table as well.
JONES: Hey, thank you for having me on. It's all at Infowars.com.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.