Pride Month Spotlight: Conspiracy Theories Seep into Conservative Mainstream

by Declan Rooney ‘25

Since President Joe Biden was put in office, conservatives have aggressively pushed their agenda on cultural issues at the state level. Two examples of such efforts are Florida’s so-called “Dont Say Gay” bill, signed in law by Republican Gov. Ron Desantis, and a new Alabama law that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming medical treatment to transgender youth. What has gone mostly unnoticed is the influence of far-right reactionaries and social media figures in putting these laws into motion.

Ever since Alex Jones founded the website Info Wars in 1999 he’s been branded as an outsider, someone on the extreme right of the Republican Party. That is until former President Donald Trump endorsed Jones on his show and called his reputation “amazing.” Jones’s reputation includes numerous baseless conspiracy theories, his most famous of which was his denial of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

But Jones’ more recent attacks have been aimed at public schools, LGBTQ+ education, and transgender individuals. “They’re [teachers] now saying sex with machines or sex with cars or sex with appliances—there’s a whole big movement where people are marrying their cars, marrying their toasters, marrying their dogs, their cats, their horses. I’m not kidding,” said Jones.

Such outrageous conspiracies have found a place in the extreme wing of the Republican party. Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene went on Jones’ show in February and promised the “Alex Jones Legislation” that would withhold funding from any school “indoctrinating children” or “teaching them to change their gender.”

The far-right and left have long existed in the United States. However, fringe figures on the right such as Jones have moved from corners of the Internet to currently influence and perhaps even shaping decisions by Republican politicians.