How to emerge from the sea of misinformation

Alex Jones has made millions by denying and distorting the truth. It's our fault for plugging in.

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Columnists

April 28, 2022 - 3:52 PM

Infowars host Alex Jones thrives on hate. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images/TNS)

In her important new book about Sandy Hook and the noxious years-long crusade that conspiracy-monger Alex Jones orchestrated against the families of 20 first-graders slaughtered in their classrooms on a December morning, Elizabeth Williamson echoes the warning of a parent who lost a 6-year-old son that day. Not long after the 2012 mass shooting, the father of the youngest child to die predicted that the harassment he and other Sandy Hook families were enduring would become commonplace in the digital age.

He was right. The cancer has metastasized. In the decade since Sandy Hook, virtually every mass shooting has engendered similar online conspiracy absurdities. A through-line from the Connecticut mass shooting connects delusions about the COVID pandemic and false claims about the 2020 election. Amplified by an irresponsible, conspiracy-addled president, those claims ignited the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“The struggle to defend objective truth against people who consciously choose to deny or distort it,” Williamson writes, “has become a fight to defend our society, and democracy itself.” Her book, “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth” was published last month.

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