NLP: With Sandy Hook ruling, Jones to suffer consequences of his lies
In response to a Connecticut jury decision that ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company to pay at least $965 million to those harmed by his lies about the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting, the News Literacy Project released the following statement:
“There are few things more heinous than deliberately and repeatedly spreading conspiracy theories and false information about a mass school shooting where families lost loved ones. Yet, that’s what Alex Jones did and today a jury in Connecticut is making him suffer the consequences for his lies.
“Jones spread disinformation about the murder of young children and school officials at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that caused the parents, loved ones and an FBI agent to be relentlessly harassed about the horrific tragedy. According to the Washington Post, ‘Within hours of the shooting, Jones was telling his audience that it was staged as a pretext for confiscating guns. Within days, he began to suggest that grieving parents were actors. In the years that followed, he repeatedly said the massacre was faked.’ He also used these outrageous claims for self-promotion — both to raise his profile and generate revenue.
“Now juries in Texas and Connecticut that heard all the details and defenses about the two cases have ruled against him and ordered him to pay more than $1 billion in punitive and compensatory damages. The message they sent is clear: Jones must be held accountable for spreading lies that led to the harassment of innocent and already suffering families and for distorting the national debate about one of the most urgent issues of our time. The enormous sum he must pay should serve as a deterrent to others who hope to profit from disinformation.”
‘Unite around facts’
“At NLP, our work is dedicated to helping people learn how to recognize fact from fiction. We are dedicated to stopping the spread of mis- and disinformation by providing free resources to prevent people from falling for conspiracy theories and to help them gain the skills to determine the credibility of information sources. This verdict is a major victory for those who want to unite around facts and credible information in people’s lives, and it is a bright spot in the often overwhelming fight against misinformation. We can all rest a bit easier with the knowledge that at least some purveyors of lies and disinformation who seek personal gain at the expense of the public good will be held accountable.”