In­foWars host sorry for spread­ing ‘Piz­za­gate’ hoax

Austin’s Alex Jones pro­moted fake story of Clin­ton child-sex ring.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Roberto Vil­lal­pando rvil­lal­pando@states­ Right: Piz­za­gate

Austin fire­brand Alex Jones on Fri­day apol­o­gized to the owner of a Wash­ing­ton pizze­ria for spread­ing the fake story last year dubbed “Piz­za­gate,” which tied the restau­rant to a fic­tional sex-traf­fick­ing ring in­volv­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

A long­time pur­veyor of wild con­spir­acy the­o­ries as the host of In­, Jones not only has broad­cast base­less claims as news — such as his be­lief that the U.S. gov­ern­ment per­pe­trated the 9/11 at­tacks and that the 2012 Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing in New­town, Conn., was a hoax — but also has the ear of the man who de­feated Clin­ton in 2016, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

But in a rare back­track­ing mea culpa, Jones apol­o­gized for his role in pro­mot­ing the fic­tional “Piz­za­gate” story, which went vi­ral among con­ser­va­tive blog­gers and right-wing me­dia sites dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

The fake story ac­cused Clin­ton and her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign chair­man, John Podesta, of run­ning a child sex abuse ring through the Comet Ping Pong restau­rant, owned by James Ale­fan­tis. Podesta’s com­ments about the pizze­ria — made in Demo­cratic Party emails ex­posed by Wik­iLeaks — be­came fod­der for fake news web por­tals as well as pop­u­lar user-gen­er­ated con­tent sites such as Red­dit and 4chan.

Jones, in a state­ment he read aloud for his on­line au­di­ence, tried to put some dis­tance be­tween him­self and the fake story — cit­ing “scores of me­dia out­lets,” “third-party ac­counts of al­leged ac­tiv­i­ties” and “ac­counts of (In­foWars) re­porters who are no longer with us” for the “in­cor­rect nar­ra­tive” he dis­cussed sev­eral times on his pro­gram.

“In our commentary about what had be­come known as Piz­za­gate, I made com­ments about


Wes­ley Black and Grace Pressly check out the 2017 Lin­coln MKZ dur­ing the Austin Auto Show at the Austin Con­ven­tion Cen­ter on Sun­day.

Rowan Graves, 9, of Austin, smiles as he sits be­hind the wheel of the same 2017 Lin­coln. The show, which ended Sun­day, of­fered car buy­ers and car en­thu­si­asts a chance to com­pare a wide va­ri­ety of brands and mod­els all in one place.

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