It was the fourth and final hour of The Alex Jones Show, the most popular conspiracy talk radio program in the country, and everybody in the Austin studio was getting a little weary. As they do six days a week, Jones and his four young producers were simultaneously turning out a nationally syndicated live radio show, a streaming webcast, and a Web television broadcast. Jones sat behind a large desk covered with stacks of articles, which he and his researchers cull daily from mainstream American and foreign newspapers, alternative publications, and obscure journals. A monitor over his left shoulder showed a constant loop of images: a fighter plane, a vial of vaccine, shots of an ominous-looking President Barack Obama. The “document cam” above his head periodically zoomed in on whatever piece of paper he was reading from, to establish its provenance. Jones was talking about climate change, which he believes is based on bogus science. But unlike most people who regard global warming as a hoax, Jones regards it as part of a plan to control the global economy through a World Bank–imposed carbon tax.
Suddenly Jones had a revelation. “This is exactly what Aztec priests did thousands of years ago,” he said. “The priests were the original con artists. They knew when an eclipse was coming, and they’d say, ‘Unga munga unga bunga!’ and the sun would disappear. And the people would say, ‘Make it come back, make it come back!’ And the priests would say, ‘Build me palaces, then! I am God! I am Migumbu!’ And that’s all Al Gore is doing. He’s saying, ‘I am Migumbu! Give me millions, give me Nobel prizes! Carbon dioxide is evil! The polar bears are dying! Give me world government! I will rule you!’ And the public is all”—here he began raising and lowering his arms and chanting like a native in a King Kong movie—“‘Miguuumbu, Miguuumbu.’ ” Jones caught sight of his assistants cracking up in the control room on the other side of the studio’s large window, and he began chanting louder. “Miguuumbu! Miguuumbu!”
“That’ll be a YouTube hit, I guarantee,” said thirty-year-old producer Jaron Neihart, who wore a red hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. The show went to commercial, and Jones stepped out into the control room, where everyone was still smiling. “What?” he asked, grinning. “What’d I say?”
Then he turned abruptly serious. “This is real,” he told me, reverting to his booming on-air voice, which was oddly discomfiting in the close confines of the control room. “They are openly calling for global government. Somebody pull him up that Al Gore quote about Copenhagen.” (An international climate change summit was meeting in Copenhagen that week.) Neihart moved toward one of several desktop computers in the control room, but Matt Ryan, a heavyset 27-year-old with sideburns who had been running the cameras during the broadcast, knew the quote and had the segment cued up on YouTube in seconds. “One of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance,” Gore’s talking head said. Neihart shook his head.
Ryan was the new guy. He had answered a Craigslist want ad six weeks earlier looking for a radio producer for an unspecified program. “If I put my name in the ad, I’d have fans lining up out the door to apply,” Jones told me. (The location of Jones’ studio is a carefully guarded secret.) When he applied, Ryan was a casual listener of the show who enjoyed Jones’ style but thought the subject matter was “a little out there.” After a few weeks immersed in Jones’s world, however, he was a believer. “If you saw what we see every day—fifty to a hundred articles all calling for global government, for eugenics, mind control, and everything else—you’d believe it too,” he said.
Regardless of the day’s news, the big picture for Jones is always the same: A fascistic cabal of powerful corporate