As has been the case throughout his campaign, Donald Trump continues to make headlines daily. Mr. Trump has continued his transition effort, which recently took an interesting turn when CNN aired content tying the President-elect to alternative media conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Jones hosted Donald Trump for an interview in December of 2015 to talk about the presidential race and what it would mean if Trump won.
Trump’s supposed connection to Jones is cause for concern because of the core claims of Jones’ website, Infowars. Some notable standouts are ones “investigating” the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as a hoax, as well as the idea that over three million votes were illegally cast in the election. Infowars is just the most commonly known of the ‘alternative’ or fake news sites which disseminate either fringe or completely false information as news.
Social media has been a heavily utilized outlet for Trump for quite some time, leading to often intriguing rants and odd claims coming from his accounts.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 27, 2016
However, Trump’s ties to alternative media don’t stop there. Former chief of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon has been elevated to the very top positions inside the White House, currently serving as Trump’s Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor.
It is increasingly apparent that Trump’s flow of information can be linked back to Infowars throughout his campaign. While a recount in key states has been considered, one of Trump’s latest claims is that he actually won the popular vote, which is contrary to all evidence and reporting. In fact, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a far greater margin than any other candidate in U.S. history who has lost due to the Electoral College vote.
As indicated in a video posted to his YouTube channel, Alex Jones again claims that Trump’s election overcame attempted rigging, although the claim is completely baseless and debunked.
In the video, Jones claims:
“The same corporate establishment media that told you thousands of times that Donald Trump couldn’t be the nominee, and that Donald Trump couldn’t win the election, or that Donald Trump was five, ten, fifteen, twenty points behind despite the fact that real polls showed he was ten points ahead on average.”
While there’s legitimate concern with the connection to Bannon, as the Washington Post perfectly illustrated, the ties to Jones bring a new level to the presidential cycle.
“Even before Donald Trump picked Stephen K. Bannon to be the chief strategist in his White House, the real estate mogul’s election delivered a huge boost to Breitbart News, a hard-right website Bannon chaired before taking a leave of absence in August to become chief executive of Trump’s campaign. Taking a victory lap through the media section at Trump’s election-night party, Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos said in a YouTube video that the site is ‘now mainstream.’”
Bannon has been picked by Trump as a chief strategist in his administration, but Jones could widen the problem as perceived by mainstream outlets.
Trump’s support of and adherence to information gathered and shared by alternative media and fake news sites is groundbreaking, to say the least, as he prepares to assume office in January.
As Trump’s transition continues, his support of alternative and fake media is going to be something that will receive increasing scrutiny if the mainstream media is going to cover the story accurately. Knowing the responsibilities that come with assuming the presidency, this should be the farthest thing from a shock to Donald Trump moving forward.
However, if it’s not addressed properly, there’s room to believe that conflicts of interest — just like those associated with potential business affairs of his — could come to surface.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.