On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver lambasted Infowars‘ Alex Jones, whom he called “the Walter Cronkite of shrieking batshit gorilla clowns.” Interestingly, Oliver looked at the Infowars products Jones implicitly hawks to his viewers through his outrageous theatrics and conspiracy theories.
Oliver points out that about six million people consume Jones’ weekly four-hour radio show, where topics revolve around conspiracy theories both disturbing (the government staging the Sandy Hook massacre) and ludicrous (chemicals in the water supply turning frogs gay).
Most troubling is that one of Jones’ listeners is, famously, President Trump, who appeared on Infowars in 2015 and said “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.” (That November, the GOP candidate also retweeted an Infowars article supporting his baseless claim that Muslims celebrated on 9/11.)
Oliver argues that Jones’ fear-mongering has one singular purpose: to upsell his listeners on questionable Infowars products. “In one week of recent broadcasts on his site, we found [Jones] spent nearly a quarter of the time either talking about or playing ads for his products, or pointing you to the Infowars store,” Oliver said. “And if you have never shopping on Infowars, you’re in for whatever the exact opposite of a treat is.”
According to Spiegel Online, Jones’ products constitute two-thirds of his program’s funding. They include survival gear, organic shampoo, “tactical bath wipes” (which Oliver described as “sloppy, wet rags for your taint”) and “Bill Clinton rape whistles” for six dollars. The host also sells his own line of vitamins and “nutraceuticals” (a blend of nutrition and pharmaceutical) using Dr. Edward Group III as his resident “medical expert.”
Group claims to be a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) alum with multiple college degrees. But when Last Week Tonight called Group directly, he said he doesn’t have an undergraduate degree. When the show contacted MIT, the school also said Group never attended the institution: “calling him an alumni would be inaccurate and misleading.”
“If Alex Jones wants his words in context, this is it,” Oliver said. “The fact that he happens to sell so many solutions should really recontextualize what you think about what he’s claiming are problems. Think about it like this: How would you feel if, at the end of this segment that may well have made you feel a little dirty, I tried to sell you something to wipe that gross feeling away? Would you question my motives?”
The comedian ended the episode by selling his own product, the John Oliver Tactical Assault Wipe (for use “exclusively on the perineum”), with help from a dopey “medical consultant” played by Jack McBrayer. The product, which has the power to “heterosexualize frogs,” is available at Infowipes.com for the extremely low price of $1 million.