Alex Jones: preaching the conspiracy gospel at a station near you

By Mike Kelley
American-Statesman Staff

Local radio host Alex Jones
Published: April 17, 1999

Ask Alex Jones what he thinks about being called one of the "black-helicopter people," and he says, "We were kooks to talk about black helicopters years ago. We were weirdos. And now, it's `Oh yeah, black helicopters are real and they're going to help.' "

Jones, at age 25, is perhaps the best-known and most talked-about local proponent of the notion of a coming New World Order in which individual liberties are subjugated by government, itself controlled by global corporations.

He puts his views on pyrotechnic display through programs on the local-access Austin Community Television twice weekly, FM radio station KJFK 98.9 six nights a week, and his Internet site,

On television, he exudes so much energy that a viewer might almost expect bits of flesh to start flying from the screen.

In person, he is no less passionate, but much more low-key, losing his arm-waving studio demeanor. Instead, his eyes flick about as he looks for just the right analogy to make his point.

A Jones critic, on the Internet, calls him "Austin's leading conspiracy theorist. He advocates the usual mix of laughable conspiracy paranoia, from the Federal Reserve and the Rockefellers to the Council on Foreign Relations and the UN. He's gained quite an audience, if for no other reason than he's passionate about his beliefs. When Alex gets a good head of steam, he's pretty entertaining to watch."

It's certainly not difficult to lay the label of conspiracy theorist on him. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, he says, is building hundreds of concentration camps on military bases with separate areas for men, women and women with children. 

More truth, according to Alex Jones: At the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, federal agents with breathing gear went in to kill the people inside so there would be no witnesses to the truth of how that standoff really began.

"It's not really a conspiracy theory," Jones says. "It's simply trying to look at a different side of reality, and I can say with total certainty that my reality is a lot closer to what's happening on this planet today than what the general public is being fed."

Jones grew up in Dallas. His family -- both of his parents went to the University of Texas, he says -- moved to Austin when he was a teen-ager, and he finished his last two years of public education at Anderson High School. He went to Austin Community College for a while, he says, but found it boring.

His antipathy for and fear of big government, he says, stems from family problems with the IRS.

"My dad (a dentist) is the most decent, Dudley Doo-Right person. He'll stop and fix people's tires. And I watched the IRS rake him over the coals twice and steal all his money. My grandparents, who are in their 70s, live in South Austin. The IRS tried to steal their house. It's criminal. That's where the venom comes from with me," he says.

And yes, there are helicopters in his life. In the months after he did a radio broadcast about STAR Flight medical helicopters being used for law enforcement, he says, low-flying helicopters harassed him in his car and his mother, girlfriend and ACTV producer Mike Hanson in their homes.

As for the military's recent, urban-warfare training in South Texas cities and other places in the country, Jones says he doesn't believe that is aimed at "real terrorists." He has seen, he says, "a real willingness in this country to actually sponsor terrorists. . . . Texas Monthly gave a 1998 Bum Steer award to the FBI for creating a Klan group."

Why more people don't see things the way he does, Jones says, is, "One, it's scary. Two, a lot of people are nice and they just want to live their lives and they think things are good and the government is trying to fix the problems. It's like a rat doesn't question the parameters of the maze. It just accepts the walls and the contours and makes decisions within that system."