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Note the examples used

Alex Jones is righteously – according to Sir Simon – crushed by the law. And:

….but that does not curb the climate deniers, anti-vaxxers, trolls and QAnon followers….

He’s advocating the same sort of restriction on what may be said for those folk too. That’s why he mentions them.

He’s not exactly in favour of any form of free speech now, is he?

28 thoughts on “Note the examples used”

  1. Even if what Alex Jones said was grounds for a defamation suit, close to $1 billion (that’s about half of Trump’s net worth) seems a bit exorbitant for what amounts to mere words. Most sex offenders don’t have to pay that amount of restitution.

    It’s almost as if the powers that be are simply trying to make an example out of him, so other people who believe in the First Amendment will be too afraid to say the wrong words or discuss the wrong topics. I’d rather deal with hurtful words than the alternative of dismissing basic freedoms.

    Some of the things Alex said were absolutely disgusting. They also all fall under the category of Free Speech.

  2. I find it difficult to sympathise with Jones. I’d be surprised if the verdicts of this or the Texas trial survive appeal. At least the Texas damages were capped.

    Those who try to stop opposition or alternative voices do so, because they know that their arguments are too weak to stand scrutiny.

    Climate deniers and anti vaxxers are being proven right all the time…

  3. What kind of penalty would he suggest for the public health officials, politicians and mainstream media who lied about the jabs stopping transmission, who placed restrictions on those who exercised their right to bodily autonomy and lost jobs and the ability to travel, who shutdown the economy for something no more fatal than flu, who by masking harmed a generation of children, if he believes that almost $1bn is appropriate for AJ’s wild extrapolations from some admittedly odd facts, is there enough money in the world to reimburse those harmed after a senior Pf exec admits under oath to the EU parliament that they never bothered to test their product for reductions in transmission, this after various frauds and statistical fibbing have come to light in the data they tried to hide for 75 years?

  4. Vaccine shills now claim that the jab was never supposed to reduce transmission. Next they’ll claim it was never supposed to reduce symptoms.

  5. He’s advocating the same sort of restriction on what may be said for those folk too.

    I’ve always found ‘shut up’ to be a highly persuasive argument. I predict an upswell in public support for his causes.

  6. Depends what you mean by free speech. And whether you’ve followed Alex Jones’ output over the years. First came across him a dozen years ago when some hippy character insisted I watch an Infowars vid on chemtrailing. The notion that those airliners one sees passing high overhead are not leaving contrails but pumping out mind altering chemicals on government instructions. This was at the time of the Iceland volcano when ash was interfering with air traffic all all over Europe. Pointing out to my informer that the Spanish government seeding the stratosphere over the mountains of Andalucia would most likely benefit the inhabitants of Kazakhstan fell on deaf ears. As did the difficulty of having a secret airfield in crowded Europe servicing tankers disguised as airliners. You don’t think someone would notice, just down the road from their house?
    But that’s the Alex Jones gig. Take unlikely rumours & dress them up as facts that are being obscured from the gullible by hidden powers. Free speech? Well has been making a considerable living out of it. Actually my unlikely rumour would be that he’s financed by those “hidden powers” to disseminate so much crap that the all too real facts that the hidden powers want to keep from us get lost in the noise.
    The guy’s actually caused a great deal of harm because he’s perverted so many people’s view of the world. It’s the same sort of thing has resulted in those Just Stop Oil nutters disrupting London’s traffic to everybody’s inconvenience & expense. (Although the lies in this case are disseminated by the BBC). It’s just been difficult to pin down exactly who he’s harmed & a cost. Except now he’s been stupid enough to do identifiable harm that could be costed. And it got put before a jury. The people have spoken. Which is how it should be. You want to speak freely, you live with the consequences

  7. I thought QAnon stuff was quite clever. A paedophile ring being run out of Pizza parlours by Hillary Clinton was as unlikely as Trump being installed in the White House by the Russians. What was fun was who believed the latter.

  8. California has just made it a sacking offence for doctors to disagree with politicians. This is where the Covid madness has taken us. But on this very blog there are plenty of people willing to (try to) shout down ‘anti-vaxxers’. Strange times, indeed.

  9. ‘You want to speak freely, you live with the consequences’

    It’s almost like you have not considered what consequences for what free speech imposed on whom by whom.

  10. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    Centuries of enlightenment and we are right back where we started.

    It must be so galling that the conspiracy theories and fake news of antivaxxers, climate deniers turn out to be 100% correct.

  11. BiS: what do you think the correct penalty for defamation should be, bearing in mind the civil courts awarded $30m from OJ for murder to the family of Nicole Simpson. AJ is being asked to pay roughly the same amount as Merck for killing up to half amillion, mostly elderly people, with Vioxx by hiding the data implicating it in heart attacks.. watching AJ in small amounts doesn’t mean one draws the same conclusions but compensates for the dire state of contemporary science fiction.

  12. Well if you wanted to give him (Jones) even more of a martyr complex they couldn’t have done a better job of it.

    Simon Jenkins is a patrician – he feels debate should be conducted only by exquisitely ‘correct’ minds such as his own.

    ‘No one seriously believes free speech is an absolute right.

    I’d argue an increasing number of people don’t believe its a right, let alone an absolute one…

  13. @BiS, what’s the difference between Alex Jones and the Daily Sport. They both told whopping big lies to get viewers and readers.

  14. SBML


    “Hitler found on Moon” harms no one except the Moon Nazis.( cf Iron Sky )

    Free speech is an absolute – but people have the right not to be defamed.

  15. California has just made it a sacking offence for doctors to disagree with politicians.

    That’s OK, three US medical associations are calling for the (federal) department of justice to prosecute citizens for spreading gender science “misinformation”.

    Maybe they’re trying to head off the lawsuits. There’re a lot of damaged kids growing into damaged adults, and there are a lot of trial lawyers and a lot of Porsche brochures.

  16. The notion that those airliners one sees passing high overhead are not leaving contrails but pumping out mind altering chemicals on government instructions.

    There’s a regular commenter here who believes that bullshit.

    But that’s the Alex Jones gig. Take unlikely rumours & dress them up as facts that are being obscured from the gullible by hidden powers.

    An effective tactic used by politicians through the ages. Jones appears to have been doing it for the money. I have no sympathy for the rat bastard personally (the cuntishness and sheer stupidity of going after grieving parents can see him living under a bridge for all I care), and I’m annoyed that I have to be indirectly concerned for his welfare because of this outcome’s wider impacts on free speech.

  17. Ottokring

    But on that basis the likes of Richard Murphy would be absolutely shafted surely – the number of people he has defamed by calling them ‘fascist’ or ‘racist’ is a majority of the British and US population. And in fairness to him other Twitterati are even more extreme!

    How many people believe in poisonous crap like ‘White supremacy’ or ‘White privilege’ – when is the court summons coming for them? (That’s a hypothetical obviously)

  18. I have to be indirectly concerned for his welfare because of this outcome’s wider impacts on free speech.
    I’m not sure that it does. Jones was saying some very specific people were conspirators in a hoax. It was essentially a big slander/libel case. Which he’s come out on the wrong end of in a rather spectacular manner. Does that necessarily set precedent?
    I’d reply to SadButMadLad, virtually nothing. Sunday Sport sells nonsense dressed up as news. But the only identifiable victims are the people who read it. Caveat emptor.
    Which is the answer to Interested. The consequences of free speech may fall on the speaker or listener. The price paid for having it.

  19. “What kind of penalty would he suggest …” I tend to recommend machine-gunners. It’s only metaphorical machine-gunners of course. At least it started that way.

    The one punishment I recommend that I mean literally is that we hang Toni Blair. Only after “doo process” of course: you know – arrest, charge, try, convict, sentence. You won’t find me recommending “vigilante justice”: the incompetent arseholes would hang the wrong bloke, like as not.

  20. VP

    While Spudulike is a prime candidate for the pitchforks and burning faggots wielding mob (A Campbell springs also to mind ), there is a difference between an insult and a libel. The courts have often made this clear ( eg Musk and “paedo guy” tweet).

    Calling someone a badger-molester is an insult, saying he molests badgers is defamation.

  21. @BiS

    Except now he’s been stupid enough to do identifiable harm that could be costed

    Pretty sure the actual killing of the children by Adam Lanza was the identifiable harm. Harm caused by words is subjective at best. The Lanza family’s estate was depleted of $1 million. The author of a book literally titled Nobody Died at Sandy Hook was ordered to pay $450,000 for defamation. A wrongful death suit against Remington Arms (which is a pretty blatant violation of the Second Amendment) ended with $73 million in restitution.

    A guy who did nothing but talk has just been ordered to pay considerably more than all of that combined. Anyone who doesn’t find that absurd doesn’t understand how big a number one billion is, or what Free Speech is.


    “Hitler found on Moon” harms no one except the Moon Nazis

    Pretty sure it harms anyone who survived the Holocaust. That’s the thing about policing speech: Anyone can be hurt by anything. The families of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims sued to ban a comic book that pitted Dahmer against Jesus, and a book by Dahmer’s father that defamed no one, but simply tried to figure out how he became a murderer. It’s a slippery slope when you decide that certain speech should be disallowed. It becomes a witch hunt in which the offensive speaker can no longer earn a living, can no longer rent lodging, book an Uber, open a bank account, take out money from already existing accounts, fly on a plane, visit certain countries, see their own kids, etc. that’s why defamation is so tough to prove in court. Infowars is a site that people choose to frequent, and have to pay a fee to see much of its content. One has to seek out this material willingly in order to know it exists. It’s impossible to rid the country of all defaming or offensive speech, as evidenced by the billions of users on various social media platforms daily. Because of that, it’s unlikely that even statewide standards for speech (in this case, in Connecticut) can be equally applied. I can guarantee there are other people spreading similar lies about Sandy Hook, and Alex Jones may not even be the first to do so. Which begs the question, how does the popularity of speech at all change its merits or lack thereof?

    That $1 billion verdict is no different than the Biden Administration throwing around various sums of money to send to Ukraine every week ($30 billion, $50 billion, an extra billion for good measure, etc.). It’s reckless, frivolous, and will be laughed at in hindsight.

    Otherwise, I’d love to see the amount of money Trump could collect for the same reason. Difference is, Trump has more solid proof of his defamation causing literal harm.

  22. I am not a fan of Jones’s performative style and do not endorse most of his analyses (if that’s the correct word) – often batshit, ever overwrought + shouty – I zoned it out…. His ex-wife’s opinion that he brought it on himself is very easy to understand – his demeanor of mad, barking farmyard dog did him no favours really.

    I *never* ever thought I’d find myself defending him (I’d take some convincing that this is a defence).

    That said – Texas and especially Connecticut have been examples of the ends brutally justifying the means. Connecticut cannot by any measure be described honestly as a trial – whatever it was (vocabulary and thesaurus fail) it was an extraordinary circus in the true sense of extraordinary.

    It is (imho) easily as bizarre as the trial of Pope Formosus (and that’s stretching bizarre) – jurisprudence be damned – a shameless attack, not even bending the law – just pulling stuff out of their arses and arbitrarily trampling a vast raft of proper process and denying the accused man any – and really, any opportunity to respond or challenge his accusers. Accusing Jones of doing things that he self evidently couldn’t have done and declaring him “guilty” without reference to the jury.

    To call it a low point in American legal antics is about as close in everyday language as I can get to describe it.

    I feel its clear The AJ trials are a dry run for what some actors feel they can foist on Trump. The players are gauging public reaction … what can they get away with?

    – if it happens to AJ then it can (and likely will) happen to others.

    This is dark stuff – scarcely believable and directly aimed imho at Donald Trump.

    strange days

    Anybody watch any of it?

    There is some detail on what went down to be had from David Freiheit

    I see the bien pensant twerp Jenkins cannot resist a poke at Trump – I’d wager Simon has never – not one time – viewed any Infowars content and know nothing of what he opines on – hey – it’s The Guardian.

  23. Tomo/ Hdbfjfj

    You nailed it better than I ever could – the sheer number of procedural irregularities beggars belief. Even in North Korea I’ve seldom seen a more obvious Kangaroo court. The award against Jones is outrageous
    – and those crowing over it fail to realise that at some point they may be the ones in the firing line rather than him

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