For Vice Magazine
PART ONE: ALEX JONES VERSUS DOWNTON ABBEY
Alex Jones is right. Deport Piers Morgan. NOW. Send him back. In chains.
The year’s big YouTube hit, Alex Jones shoves an assault rifle (figuratively) up Piers Morgan. Alex was simply trying to explain to Piers why America has a Bill of Rights while England has David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Paul McCartney.
Before I enumerate the charges against Morgan, we need to ask two questions. Why did Alex Jones – the host of one of the only intellectually substantive, fact-heavy forums on American radio – seem to lose it on air? And why is it so important to the media elite to ridicule Alex Jones and dismiss him as a fruitcake and a buffoon – just another scary, Texan gun-nut – while they venerate Pus Moron – the scoundrel, the faker, the wanker – like he’s Thomas Jefferson?
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This is the first of Palast’s weekly columns for VICE – beginning with a bang: a four-part series on Alex Jones, guns, Piers Morgan and Palast’s penis. If you read the full version of these reports right now at Vice Magazine,
You get a bonus: a free download copy of my latest book, the bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.
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The yell from Alex’s throat was not his own voice alone – it was the choric cry of his millions of listeners in the forgotten heartland of America. It was The Scream of the Screwed.
It’s not about guns. The shoot-out between Jones, rough-voiced and real, versus Morgan, faux journalist with the snooty accent, is a metaphoric battle: The movers and shakers on Morgan’s guest list versus the moved and shaken across the Great Plains who listen to Jones; the privileged One Percent versus Jones’ 99-Percenters; those who got the gold mine versus those who got the shaft.
It’s about the comfortable in Manhattan, West Hollywood and Islington who watch Downton Abbey and dream of the days when the servants were grateful just to shine their masters’ silver. Jones speaks for the lower decks on the Titanic – those under the waterline, who know that the ship has hit the iceberg while the rich are cramming bottles of champagne into the last life boats.
Of the 31,672 gun deaths in America in 2010, the majority – 61 percent – were suicides. The real killer is despair. Why such desperation? What in the American dream is so nightmarish that death is a better choice?
Jones’ fierce journalism talks to those waiting in the dark.
Their jobs have been taken to China, their homes to foreclosures, their pensions to bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, their freedoms to Guantanamo – so, they’ll be goddamned if they’ll let you take their guns.
The true issue – the danger – Jones says, is not from our assault rifles, but from the assault on working people in Greece and in Manchester and in Toledo by a dangerous group of jackals whose weapons are the IMF, the Euro, JP Morgan, “austerity” and the “debt ceiling”.
I love Alex Jones. If I were a woman, I’d appear on his show in my highest heels and shortest mini-skirt.
Journalistically, Jones has iron balls.
Example: In Britain, BBC Television Newsnight and The Guardian topped the new with a report of mine on finance vultures. Billionaire Paul Singer, the big Republican donor, the vulture who savaged the Congo (and Mitt Romney’s business partner) had one of his stooges call the BBC to spike our story: “We have a file on Greg Palast.” Some of it, apparently, fabricated by Piers Morgan.
While the BBC ran the story regardless of the threat, my investigations of Singer, were suddenly pulled from US airwaves, including Piers’ CNN. A major news service said it was spiked not by editors, but by “high up”. Even MSNBC said, coyly, that the story was “too complex for our viewers”.
But not Jones’ audience. “This is complex,” Jones told me, “so we’ll give you a full hour to explain it.” Which is part of the reason Alex is such a hero in the forgotten America – he has the cojones to venture where the mainstream media fear to tread.
And Piers’ “news” show? His dream guest, he said, would be Lindsay Lohan. Rejected by Lindsay, he settled on discussing the great issues of the day with Kim Kardashian.
Part Two – Assault Gun Ban: Weapon of Mass Distraction
Part Three – Deport Piers Morgan: Slimes and Crimes
Part Four – Piers and my Penis
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Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.
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