The Truth vs. Alex Jones (2024)

The Truth vs. Alex Jones Review

The Truth vs. Alex Jones

One of the most troubling moments in an already troubling documentary is when it’s revealed that over one in five people didn’t believe, at the time, that there was a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the height of the defamation suit against Alex Jones. It’s easy to dismiss him as a blowhard idiot who profits off his listeners’ stupidity, but that number tells you how many people he touched with his ignominious reach. And it’s not difficult to connect those dots with other poisonous viral conspiracy theories over the last decade that have killed rational discourse in this country. Even if you don’t want to talk about the proliferation of bullshit caused at least partially by people like Jones, the details of this case are sickening and enraging. More importantly, they’re presented here in Dan Reed’s “The Truth vs. Alex Jones,” which is sharply edited, sensitively constructed and expertly crafted throughout. This premieres on HBO and Max on Tuesday, March 26th, and it’s one of the better documentaries of its kind in a while.

A lot of that has to do with the remarkable access obtained by Reed (“Leaving Neverland”) and company, who fill most of their second half with footage from two trials designed to hold Jones accountable for what he did (and didn’t) say. Of course, “The Truth vs. Alex Jones” has to start where every story about Sandy Hook does: December 2012 when 20 children and six adults were killed in Newtown, CT (without saying his name once Reed & Co. let family members tell their story until we culminate in a detailed recounting of what happened encounter by encounter that includes every name said carefully). They deserve their names heard; it’s a smart move by filmmakers taking something broad political issue into human cost specific day.

That cost was made worse when Alex Jones suggested before all the bodies had even been counted that Sandy Hook was a false flag operation designed to help one side of the gun control debate. Jones and his vile lunatics then launched into non-stop harassment, like taking a grieving father’s nerves in front of a microphone as evidence he was acting and turning a moment of expression about the daughter he’d never see again into an abusive weapon. The full extent of the aggression shown to parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook is shameful, including people interviewed for the film who still demand answers to questions that have been answered or some imagined proof after which they’ll just move goalposts again the woman who insists bodies must be exhumed or it didn’t happen is a perfect example of this kind moronic privilege driving so many these conspiracy theories without ever pausing ask why her inconsistent questioning should mean anything anyone else doesn’t deserve answer

Including some of these people, who were energized by Jones and continue to deny the occurrence of Sandy Hook – Reed’s decision to center first the family members and second the listeners & InfoWars employees lays the groundwork for the trial footage that occupies the last third of the movie because we know what hangs in the balance here. We know whose suffering has been exacerbated and who has poured salt into those wounds, so that the testimonies at trial become that much more potent.

Anyone who followed this case knows how it ended, but it is still stunning to watch grieving parents’ heartfelt testimony juxtaposed against Jones’s team’s slimy denials. Embedded within previously unseen (at least by me) footage are big moments like when Jones found out his attorney had accidentally sent the prosecution his entire text message history, including some fantastic exchanges with a righteously annoyed Judge Maya Guerra Gamble and an incredible scene where Jones tries to physically exonerate himself from responsibility to a parent off the stand. And it is all put together so well, telling what is a very big story with many players in just right for cable documentary pacing. It is a masterclass in how one should tell this story as a documentary film instead of dragging it out into our current docuseries trend.

The combined penalties against Alex Jones came out to $1.5 billion; that’s how much all of his trials cost him. “The Truth vs. Alex Jones” will make you ask if it was enough given what he has done to our national discourse and this country’s general empathetic humanity.

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