Peddling poison: Donald Trump follows long line of demagogues

The author argues that former President Donald Trump, shown here in a 2016 file photo, is one of a long line of dangerous demagogues. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The recent Connecticut court damages verdict of almost $1 billion in the Alex Jones case involved Jones’ apparent efforts to monetize the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators in 2017.

Jones’ claim that the shooting was a hoax is a reminder of the gullibility of a significant segment of the world’s people. Jones and his media company InfoWars were found guilty of asserting that the deaths did not happen and were faked. According to the Associated Press, after the verdict, Jones termed the trial “all made up” and continued to encourage his followers to donate dollars to InfoWars and buy products he sells.

Jones reportedly received about $50 million annually in revenues during his legal battles arising from his claims that the Sandy Hook deaths were faked. Obviously, Alex Jones found many enthusiastic followers who like his alternative fact version of reality that he sells and are willing to reward him with their contributions.

Another Jones also found gullible people to follow him. Jim Jones led about 900 of his followers from the U.S. to a jungle stronghold in Guyana where he ultimately persuaded them to partake from a vat of cyanide poisoned Flavor Aid in Nov. 1978. Jones pre-conditioned his followers to drink the poison by holding rehearsals that he called “white nights.” About 300 children and over 600 adults participated in what Jones described in part of a 45-minute audio tape ( as something “not to be feared. It’s a friend.”

On this tape, Jim Jones told his followers “Without me life has no meaning.” Jones also advised them, “I’m the best friend you’ll ever have.” He claimed, “I’m a prophet.” Of the children who are heard crying and screaming on the tape, Jones advised “All they are doing is taking a drink . . . and going to sleep.” Jones asked the adults “to quit exciting your children when all they’re doing is going to a quiet rest.” One of the few survivors commented about Jones, “He made us feel special, like something bigger than ourselves.” Read more