First it was Apple. Then Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and other smaller social media platforms followed suit. Now, the federal government has decided to go after the controversial and questionable Infowars founder Alex Jones and his organization.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has temporarily shut down the “pirate radio station” that served as the flagship for Jones and Infowars, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Liberty Radio, which has been discovered to originate in Austin, Texas, was slapped with a lawsuit and a $15,000 fine, even though the station moved its transmissions from radio to the internet in December.
The Austin American-Statesman reports:
According to court documents, FCC enforcement agents from Houston were called to the Austin area to investigate 90.1 FM after the agency received a complaint. Using high-tech equipment, those agents were able to trace the signal to the Orchard Plaza apartments at 1127 and 1205 E. 52nd St. in East Austin.
The agents reported that Liberty Radio was being operated out of some sort of maintenance or utility room at the complex. Travis Central Appraisal District records indicate that up until late last year, the complex – subject of numerous well-publicized city nuisance violations – had been owned by an entity linked to Walter Olenick and M. Rae Nadler-Olenick, who are listed as the two defendants in the federal lawsuit over Liberty Radio.
The Washington Post reported that the Olenicks “refused to pay the fine or recognize the FCC’s authority, saying they would regard its agents as trespassers should they return.”
That’s pretty ballsy considering the amount of heat Jones and Infowars have received over the last few years, but especially in the last few months.
Jones’ social media accounts have been wiped off the map recently, with Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and others terminating his accounts. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey initially said that his platform wouldn’t ban Jones, but buckled under the pressure from Silicon Valley and “temporarily suspended” Jones’ Twitter account on Wednesday. Jones is still allowed to read tweets, but can’t do anything else on the site.
CNN was at the forefront of attempting to squelch Jones’ freedom of speech, writing multiple articles disparaging Jones and Infowars until social media platforms bent to the network's will and took action against him. A simple Google search of “CNN Alex Jones” shows the concerted effort by CNN over the last few months to stop Jones and the people at Infowars from making a living.
You don’t have to like or agree with Jones, or the “information” Infowars puts out there, to recognize the coordinated effort to stop Jones from saying what it is that he wants to say.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press aren’t there to protect popular speech, even if we sometimes consider that speech to be crazy. Those rights are in place to protect those that can’t protect themselves from the mob.