Cash for conspiracies: talkRADIO has learned from the Infowars playbook

If Alex Jones lived in Chelsea, he'd be on British radio every single day.

I don’t do drugs. I do talk radio and right-wing media in prodigious doses. That my brain hasn’t become the neurological equivalent of the last pickled egg bobbing around in a dirty jar of vinegar is frankly a miracle. Websites like UnHerd and The Conservative Woman combined with talkRadio, LBC — yeah, you really balance out all the evil, James O’Brien 🙄 — and Times Radio are the media equivalent of bathtub meth. My teeth are rotting out from contact with the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy-theory-pushing fact-free fuckery that you can witness below 👇

In that clip, you’ll see TV-critic-turned-grade-D-shock-jock Kevin O’Sullivan talking to cadaver-with-a-Spectator-column James Delingpole on Rupert Murdoch’s talkRadio. In the clipped segment they discuss ‘The Great Reset’, a term that began with Richard Florida’s 2010 book of the same name — subtitled ‘How new ways of living and working drive post-crash prosperity’ — but has now become a fearful three-word slogan among the most boggled-eyed bastards of the internet.

talkRadio is nominally a mainstream news outlet, owned by the Wireless Group which is a subsidiary of News UK, Murdoch’s UK arm which also owns The Sun, The Times, and Sunday Times. But it regularly traffics theories and concepts that have floated into the mainstream from 4Chan, the darker corners of Reddit, Breitbart News, and Infowars, which while it was run off YouTube, Twitter, and other mainstream platforms, still broadcasts 24 hours a day to huge audiences directly from its website.

Delingpole knows about “The Great Reset” because he has learned about the idea from YouTubers like Tim Pool — who has over 800k subscribers on YouTube and almost 770k followers on Twitter — who have been pushing the idea for a long time.

Delingpole is a magpie for mad ideas and he is digging at these concepts now just as he pushed ‘climate scepticism’ a few years ago when that was a more profitable grift. See also the reprehensible Toby Young whose current grifts — The Free Speech Union and Lockdown Sceptics — exist only to give him a title that can be used in chyrons on news channels. If news channels were more honest they would introduce him as “Toby Young: Professional Bullshit Artist & Chancer”.

I have written in the past about the right-wing conspiracy pipeline that pushes concepts from 4Chan through to Reddit up onto YouTube and then onto stations like talkRadio then the Today programme before they appear in newspaper columns starting with The Sun and Daily Mail then migrating into broadsheets like The Times.

While people at these outlets throw their hands in the air and do the ‘Jim from The Office’ face at the mere mention of Alex Jones, they regularly reproduce theories and concepts that are so close to those offered up by Infowars that the only difference is that Jones is capable of being entertaining.

talkRadio, LBC, Times Radio etc. simply have a set of propagandists and conspiracy theorists that they favour more than others. That’s what explains the presence of Brendan O’Neill, Darren Grimes, and James Delingpole et al. within the ‘mainstream’. Their ideas and tendency towards jumping on whatever the current ‘scandal’ being harnessed by the right for the culture war make sense to producers. They have those names in their address books and they keep coming back to them. If Alex Jones lived in Chelsea rather than Austin, Texas, he’d have a gig on talkRadio tomorrow.