His impact is not so much his bizarre individual conspiracy theories but that his style of righteous rage infects and, in some cases, dominates the political rhetoric on the right. Not all conservatives who read Infowars buy his outlandish theories; many seem to simply enjoy the theater and the anguish inflicted on the “swamp dwellers” targeted by Mr. Jones and his trolls.
The dirty secret of many conservatives is that they never admit to actually reading Mr. Jones’s ranting, but they also never publicly denounce him.
For years, we imagined that we could simply ignore the crackpots because they were postcards from the fringe. But I’m haunted by this question: Had we done more to expose the viciously dishonest hoaxes, might things have turned out differently?