So this evening I'm out watering the Bermuda grass seeds I recently spread across bald spots of my backyard in what only can be described as an exercise in futility (given the ongoing mother-of-all-Texas-droughts), and I'm listening to the usual talk show host whose show I reserve for such chores - Alex Jones.
Yes, that Alex Jones. The birther, truther, anti-NWO (that would be the "New World Order" for those of you who are, as Jones would say, "still in a trance"), anti-UN, pro-gun, pro-liberty, pro-preparedness beacon of all things conspiratorial. Based in Austin, Jones is something of a local celebrity around town. Texas Monthly ran this story about him a couple of years ago, which may be the first objective and in-depth backgrounder done on the self-made talk radio juggernaut.
Think "juggernaut" is a stretch? Think again. Rolling Stone's Alexander Zaitchik wrote last year that "Jones draws a bigger audience online than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined." The size of his audience is staggering. More and more stations are adding Jones' mid-day three hour radio show, which competes head to head with Limbaugh, at a rate which no one would have imagined five years ago.
I personally started listening to his show as a form of entertainment back in 2006. Back then, he'd recently begun a two hour Sunday afternoon show on a local AM radio station. His energy and rapid fire allegations of how the global elite were stockpiling heirloom seeds in advance of their planned collapse of the banking system, which would necessitate the creation of city-sized FEMA camps in which to incarcerate liberty-loving troublemakers was, to me, sheer hilarity. I'd laugh out loud listening to him while driving around town running errands.
And then something changed. The financial collapse of 2008 came with little warning to most of us. Civil liberties seemed to decay or evaporate at a geometric rate. The Federal Reserve, a frequent target of Jones' wrath, began constructing elaborate bail out plans for investment banks at the heart of the crisis.
I'll be damned, I thought. Jones is on to something.
Since a broken clock can be correct twice a day, it's imperative to determine whether Jones was just really lucky at making his predictions about what would happen, or whether he did in fact understand there were forces at work which led to these events. I still think he's completely wrong about 9/11 and several other issues. But that's not why I am writing this tonight.
Instead, I heard something on his show I never thought I'd hear. It wasn't something he said. It was a company which just began advertising during his show: ProFlowers.
I almost dropped the garden hose.
Jones' usual rotation of advertisers, consisting almost exclusively of purveyors of disaster foods, colloidal silver machines, gold and silver coin sales, books on the Bilderbergers, and water purification systems has now been infiltrated by an advertiser more at home hawking florist services on shows like Hannity and Levin. This can mean but one thing: Jones audience has grown to the point that mainstream, non-disaster/non-survivalist/non-conspiracy theorist businesses have begun to recognize just how many people Jones' show actually reaches.
Which brings me to my food for thought for you. What do you make of this? Does this mean more people are buying into Jones' world view? And what does that mean for the preparedness movement?
- Jones' demographic is evolving. I know people in their middle age who tell me they now listen to the show because their college age kids listen to it. I know people who have advanced college degrees who are regular listeners.
- Jones' steadfast support for people like the Pauls (Ron and Rand) help solidify his stature among young people, active duty military, and Libertarians/Constitutionalists/Tea Party types.
- His devotion to organic, non-GMO agricultural practices have gotten the attention of many on the left. People who would never have voted for anyone other than a Democrat in years past are beginning to gravitate towards Libertarian ideals, thanks in part to Jones' alliance with many in the sustainable agriculture/energy communities.
Am I reading too much into this? Or am I on to something?