Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Infowars claims to have White House press passes

 Infowars says it is going mainstream, at least as far as the White House press pool is concerned.

The conspiracy site founded by talk show conspiracy monger Alex Jones is claiming that it has been issued White House press credentials. Infowars says, “In an epic blow to the mainstream media’s control of the narrative, Infowars has officially received White House Press Credentials that will allow Washington Bureau Chief Jerome Corsi to attend White House press briefings.”

Infowars Washington bureau chief Jerome Corsi backed up the claim with a tweet that pictured him in the White House press briefing room. In the tweet, Corsi said, “We have WH PRESS CREDENTIALS. I'm in WH May 22, 2017” [emphasis his].

Both Infowars and Corsi are associated with conspiracy theories and fake news. Infowars has promoted conspiracy theories about numerous topics including the Sandy Hook school massacre and the September 11 attacks. The site was also a prime instigator of the Jade Helm hysteria in 2015 in which fake news sites convinced thousands of residents of Texas that President Obama and the US military were about to declare martial law.

The Russian conspiracy to interfere with the election and help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton seems to the be the only conspiracy that Infowars has not embraced. On several occasions, the site has published articles purporting to debunk the claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians as well as claims that the WikiLeaks email dumps cost Hillary the election.

Jerome Corsi, the fake news site’s new Washington bureau chief, is a good fit for Infowars. In addition to contributing to Infowars, Corsi has also been a writer at World Net Daily, another well-known fringe site. Corsi has also embraced many conspiracy theories over the years, including September 11 conspiracies and the belief that George W. Bush was about to unite the US, Mexico and Canada in a North American Union. Corsi is best known for his advocacy of the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not a natural born US citizen.

Other journalists disputed the Infowars claim that they were granted full press access. Trey Yingst of One America News tweeted that Corsi’s pass was a “day pass White House credential, not a permanent press pass” and noted “High school students can apply for day passes.” Mike Warren of the Weekly Standard tweeted a similar claim.

Corsi claimed in a subsequent tweet that the mainstream media was “insane.” Corsi stands by the claim that Infowars has full press credentials, saying, “WH issues weekly credentials for 3 months to start.”

Even though the Trump Administration has previously issued press credentials to the Gateway Pundit, another conspiracy site, it would be surprising if Infowars were be granted full White House press access. Infowars is one of several sites known to be under investigation by the FBI as part of the probe into Russian meddling in the election. McClatchy News reported in March that the FBI’s counterintelligence division was examining the role of Russian operatives who blitzed social media with pro-Trump stories from sites such as Infowars, Breitbart, RT and Sputnik News.

Infowars reports are as real as professional wrestling. Earlier this year, Alex Jones’s attorney in a custody dispute denied in court that Jones believed the stories that he promoted on his website and broadcasts. “He’s playing a character,” attorney Randall Wilhite said of Jones in the Austin American-Statesman. “He is a performance artist.”

The claim by Infowars and Corsi that the site has received press credentials seems to exaggerated. As Business Insider reports, the temporary pass was even issued on a day in which the president was out of the country and Sean Spicer was not giving a briefing. In essence, the story is just another piece of Jones’s “performance art.”

President Trump also has a history of promoting conspiracies. The president pushed the Obama birth certificate conspiracy for years. Trump has also endorsed conspiracy theories about vaccines, September 11 and even claimed that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. With a history as a reality television star, Trump may have been acting as a performance artist as well. At this point, it does not seem that Trump is willing to go as far as normalizing Infowars, however. 

Originally published on The Resurgent

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