Last December, a lone gunman named Edgar Welch stormed the the D.C. Comet Ping Ping pizzeria and opened fire. He later stated that he was intent upon “investigating” Pizzagate, the insane conspiracy theory that falsely accused Hillary Clinton and John Podesta of running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s basement. The fake news story was wildly popular among the right wing, even inspiring Michael Flynn to tweet and delete his belief in the tale. One outlet that was instrumental in spreading the conspiracy was Infowars, which is the shirt-ripping program featuring a ranting Alex Jones, who spread the theory and is now attempting to make amends.
Jones has a good reason to apologize. In November (a few weeks prior to the violent incident), he posted an Infowars episode in which he encouraged his audience to “investigate” Pizzagate. After the shooting took place (and restaurant owner James Alefantis’ life became a living hell, due to constant threats from Pizzagate believers), Jones mysteriously scrubbed the video and other references to the conspiracy theory. Jones must now be truly worried about legal repercussions, for in the above video, he apologizes (while trying to pass the blame to other outlets):
In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him. We were participating in a discussion that was being written about by scores of media outlets, in one of the most hotly contested and disputed political environments our country has ever seen. We relied on third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. This was an ever-evolving story, which had a huge amount of commentary about it across many, many media outlets.
To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis, nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking as was part of the theories about Pizzagate that were being written about in the media outlets and which we commented upon … We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be considered as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing.
This is only part of the full apology, which continues for over five minutes, as you can watch at the top of this post. Whether or not Jones is sincere is up for debate — he previously falsely claimed that he never promoted the theory — but this is still a significant step in the fight against fake news, regardless of his motives.
After all, Jones hasn’t ever backed away from a conspiracy theory, yet this time, his actions had real-life consequences. This isn’t like his rants about chemicals in the water, which are just …. dumb. Although many of Jones’ theories — especially the one about Sandy Hook parents being paid actors as part of a false flag operation — are abhorrent, his promotion of Pizzagate may have actually been the catalyst that spurred the gunman into action.
The timing of Jones’ apology also suggests that he’s fearful of a lawsuit from Alefantis and his employees, On Friday, Welch pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to his ultra-violent “investigation” of Pizzagate.