A confederacy of grift

If Stone made a living in part by selling notoriety, and Corsi by selling disinformation, they formally signed on in 2017 with the king of monetizing conspiracies: Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars. Charlie Warzel, who has done some of the most in-depth reporting on Jones and Infowars, writes that Stone met Jones in 2013 “at a conspiracy theorist event marking the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.” According to court documents prepared by the special counsel’s office, Corsi and Stone joined forces over the course of the 2016 election in an effort to obtain information from Julian Assange about disclosures of documents hacked by the Russian government. Then, following the election, Stone helped Corsi secure a job with Infowars as the site’s Washington bureau chief. Stone himself began co-hosting Infowars broadcasts along with Jones.

Jones’s empire may be the best example of how conspiracy theories and fringe politics can make for a profitable business. In 2013, Alex Seitz-Wald estimated in Salon that Jones was pulling in roughly $10 million a year from advertising across his various Infowars platforms—web, radio, and paid subscribers. Over the past few years Jones appears to have switched to a similarly lucrative business model built on hawking dietary supplements, what one former Infowars employee described to BuzzFeed News as “QVC for conspiracy.”