IV/ Strike Three

InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has a long and inglorious history of branding school shootings as staged hoaxes – but this time around the view that the kids at the centre of it are deep state stooges isn’t just a crazed fringe opinion. It’s started going mainstream…

On the evening of 14th February 2018, just hours after Nikolas Cruz had rampaged through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Broward County, Florida – killing 17 and wounding many more – one of the students decided to grab his camera and cycle back to the scene of the crime.

The kid in question was a student journalist – a stringer for South Florida’s largest local paper, the Sun Sentinel. He was keen to get some footage for a video he was making about the shooting, but while he was there he ran into news crews from a number of channels and found himself being interviewed about what had happened that afternoon.

These interviews would go on to make David Hogg one of the most visible faces in the ongoing gun control debate in America – but not necessarily for all the right reasons.

Hogg has since become the focus of a pretty outlandish conspiracy theory, one of a type that has become increasingly popular in recent years: the Crisis Actor Theory.

The theory goes that while the shooting may have been real (and, according to certain theorists, that isn’t always a given) a group of crisis actors were flown in by the Democrats/George Soros/the Globalist Elite to ‘control the narrative’. These actors infiltrate the story by pretending that they were present at the shooting, then manipulate the tragedy to push their political agenda by reading from a pre-prepared script calling for stricter gun control.

Structured reality, essentially.

But while these sorts of false flag conspiracies have always existed in weird corners of the internet (and in the weird corners of pubs before that) they now appear to be taking more of a hold in the mainstream.

Why? Because the blurring of the boundaries between fact and fiction that we discussed in Part Three hasn’t just stopped at the world of entertainment. It’s spilled over into news.

One of the interviews that Hogg gave that night has been back in the news recently. The host who interviewed him on Fox News, Laura Ingraham, took a badly-judged swipe at him over the Easter weekend and suffered a pretty disastrous backlash as a result. The fall-out from that might give us a pretty decent sense of where this whole thing is headed from here.

But before we get to that, there’s one final piece of the puzzle to put in place.

A Re-Run On Fox

You’ll maybe remember in Part One that we talked about how the show that spawned the modern reality genre, Cops, nearly never made it to air, and that it only got picked up because of the constraints forced upon the fledgling Fox network by the Writers’ Guild strike of 1988.

You’ll maybe also remember in Part Two that we briefly mentioned how Fox was completely unfazed by the prospect of the Writers’ Guild strike in 2007/8 because their biggest hit at that time was an unscripted reality show which filled up multiple slots in their schedule, American Idol.

What we didn’t really have space to expand upon is how the story of American Idol closely mirrors that of Cops – and how instrumental Rupert Murdoch was in both.

Much like Cops, American Idol had been unsuccessful when it was first being pitched around the networks. At that time, in 2002, there was already a ‘starmaker’-style talent contest on minor-league network The WB (Popstars) and it was bombing so badly that no-one really wanted to take a punt on another.

Fox were ready to pass on it too – and would have, had it not been for a direct intervention from Murdoch.

Murdoch had heard all about this Idol show because his daughter Elisabeth wouldn’t shut up about the UK version, Pop Idol. So – in exactly the same way that he had interjected from the back of the room while his execs were debating whether or not to pick up Cops – he interrupted the American Idol discussions by slamming his fist on the table and barking a command.

“Don’t talk. Buy.”

Sure enough, they did – and it was a huge hit. Idol ran for 15 seasons on Fox, and was the most-watched primetime show in America for eight years. Hundreds of millions of votes were cast each season – by phone, by text, online. It was a nationwide phenomenon and created some genuinely huge stars (one of them, Clay Aiken, would later become a runner-up on a series of Celebrity Apprentice then make a run for Congress – like a sort of pre-cursor for Trump).

Cops and American Idol aren’t the accomplishments for which Rupert Murdoch is often recognised, but they’re a key part of understanding the true breadth of his influence on the media.

Murdoch is generally considered to be a ‘news’ man rather than an ‘entertainment’ guy – thanks to his huge print media empire – but the two are actually inseparable. The instincts that drove him to make the call on both those reality shows are the same ones that made his news network such a ratings juggernaut. And this is the crux of the problem.

For like both Cops and American Idol, the primary motivation behind Fox News isn’t to present an accurate depiction of actual reality.

It’s to make a good show.

Into The Pit

The wider story of Fox News is far too complicated to do justice to in a couple of hundred words here, but Murdoch’s partner in that endeavour was the former political consultant (and currently dead sex predator) Roger Ailes.

Ailes also got his start in television by producing entertainment shows, and his approach to news and politics was informed by his now infamous ‘Orchestra Pit’ theory – which states that out of a candidate who is offering a solution for peace in the Middle East and a candidate who falls into the orchestra pit, the guy in the pit will snatch all the coverage.

He first shared this theory in 1988 when discussing how he had helped elect George HW Bush to office, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was pulled straight from the battleplan of Trump’s 2016 campaign (a campaign that Ailes would also briefly advise).

Ailes was ousted from Fox News in a cloud of sexual harassment accusations, twenty years after he helped to launch it, but his spectre still presides over the merry band of pit-dwellers he left behind at Fox.

If you want to see it – and see exactly how far news, entertainment, politics and pop culture have all shat on their own tails and fused to form the gruesome rat king that stands before us today – you could do a lot worse than to look at this clip.

There are two ways to describe what is happening here, each of which is perfectly valid.

You could accurately say that the clip shows a Fox News anchor interviewing the Editor-At-Large of the Daily Mail US where they discuss a contentious change in personnel at the highest reaches of the American government.

However, it’s also equally accurate to describe it as a Celebrity Apprentice winner being wheeled on to dish dirt on his former co-stars.

Between them, the people under discussion host a primetime show on America’s most-watched news channel, edit the most-read English language news site in the world and run the globe’s largest superpower.

They have also all been stars of The Apprentice, The Celebrity Apprentice, Fear Factor, America’s Got Talent, Dancing With The Stars, WWE Wrestlemania, The Ultimate Merger, Celebrity Big Brother, The Ultimate Merger and more.

So does this constitute news? Or should we view it as entertainment? It’s a pretty damning indictment of the modern era that this could be passed off as either, let alone both. Yet here we are.

We’ve dealt with Piers Morgan and Omarosa in previous parts, so let’s focus on the big boy baby host of this particular show, Tucker Carlson.

Tucker is an interesting, if tangential, figure in all of this. Before he got this full-time gig at Fox, he was the founder and editor-in-chief of a right-wing website called The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller drew a fair bit of criticism over the 2016 election for pushing unfounded conspiracy theories from a number of extreme-right sources – including sites like Truthfeed, Gateway Pundit and… InfoWars.

To remind you again briefly (because the madness of it really can’t be overstated): InfoWars is the site which claimed the Boston Marathon bombing was a hoax; that Hurricane Sandy was a government-engineered, government-controlled weather event; and that the Sandy Hook massacre – in which 20 six- and seven-year-olds were murdered – was a “synthetic” staged mind-control operation.

Shortly after Trump won the 2016 election, Tucker stepped down from the day-to-day editing duties of The Daily Caller to take up his own show on Fox.

And while he isn’t using Tucker Carlson Tonight to push anything quite as extreme as 9/11 trutherism or Las Vegas false flag theories, listen to what he had to say about last week’s shooting at YouTube’s headquarters – where a woman, Nasim Aghdam, drove 500 miles to open fire on employees, wounding three and taking her own life.

Carlson is claiming – quite specifically – that CNN and MSNBC (and “any other cable channel or newspaper in America”) treat the news like an episode of The Bachelor, The Hills or Keeping Up With The Kardashians in that they have a rough story arc in mind from the start, then plot and script their response to make the news fit that.

This is a different criticism from saying he disagrees with the liberal view some media organisations take on the issues at hand. It’s also subtly different from branding it all lies. What he is implying is that there is a concerted effort between major news agencies and the political establishment to collaborate on scripts to deliberately stage-manage the national conversation.

Throughout it all, he talks about the ‘mainstream media’ as if he isn’t a hot, throbbing part of it – neatly glossing over the fact that, since January 2002, Fox has been America’s most-watched cable news network. That’s over sixteen straight years of being the most popular source of news, yet still pretending that they are something of an oppressed underdog in the media landscape.

If this was confined to just one host, then maybe it wouldn’t be worth noting. But Carlson isn’t the only owner of a right-wing website that was accused of dabbling in mad conspiracies in the 2016 election who has since been given their own hour-long show at Fox.

So is the woman who gave Trump an accidental Nazi salute at the Republican National Convention. She also happens to be the same woman who interviewed Parkland survivor David Hogg on the night of the shooting. The one who cropped up in the news again last week.

Laura Ingraham: the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of LifeZette.com.

Further Down The Fox Hole

Now, to be scrupulously fair, we should make it clear from the off that picking on children at the heart of the Parkland massacre is not a specifically partisan issue. Liberal journalist (and hentai porn enthusiast) Kurt Eichenwald found himself out of a number of jobs last week – with Newsweek, Vanity Fair and MSNBC all keen to stress that they no longer work with Eichenwald after he started publicly maligning one of the lesser-known, pro-gun survivors of Stoneman Douglas, Kyle Kashuv.

Nor is peddling baseless, halfwitted conspiracy theories solely the preserve of Trump supporters. Louise Mensch (a former British MP who was previously hired by Rupert Murdoch to head up his short-lived shithouse website, Heat Street) is doing a fine line in whipping up a series of wildly implausible and under-sourced stories – a particular high point being her claim that ‘sources’ told her Steve Bannon was facing the death penalty.

This problem of bigmouth idiots spouting off half-cocked is everywhere, on all sides of the political divide. However, Laura Ingraham leads us somewhere very specific.

If you follow Fox News at all, you’ll have maybe noticed that Ingraham was absent from the schedules last week. This self-imposed, short-notice sabbatical came about because of a Twitter spat she got wrapped up in with David Hogg, after she mocked him for getting rejected from a couple of the colleges that he had applied to.

Hogg, in response to Ingraham’s mean-spirited jibe, encouraged a boycott – asking her sponsors to rethink their relationship with her show now that she’d made it clear picking on recently traumatised teenagers was her idea of a good wheeze.

Seventeen of her sponsors had pulled their ads before the evening was out. So, to help stem the bleeding, Ingraham decided to apologise.

In the first part of her apology, Ingraham attempted to save a tiny shred of face by drawing attention to the fact that her show was actually one of the first to feature David Hogg after the shooting.

Which is true. This is it here.

(NB If you’re wondering what that smudge on Ingraham’s head is, the shooting took place on Ash Wednesday. A less ideologically-driven news channel would, perhaps, have queried whether it was appropriate for a host to appear on air with what looks – to the uninformed observer – like a fucking crosshair on her forehead while interviewing a survivor of a school shooting, but that’s Fox News for you.)

However, it’s the second part of Ingraham’s apology that’s more interesting. In it, she points out that she had also been one of the first to note how “poised” she thought Hogg was in the immediate aftermath.

“Poised” is indeed the word that Ingraham used that night, but her pointed use of those quote marks in that apology is a little suspect. For while it is vaguely possible that Ingraham is completely unaware of the Crisis Actor Theory that has since built up around David Hogg, it would be very surprising.

As Ingraham was conducting that interview, a band of anonymous amateur detectives on internet forums Reddit and 4Chan were already searching for any evidence they could find to discredit this kid as a stooge. They were scouring his Facebook page to see if he was tied to anyone suspicious. They checked his social media for any previous signs of political activism. They were trying to track down any mentions of him having acted in anything previously.

They wanted to show that this exact same “poise” was proof that his speech was scripted by social engineers.

And guess who helped those guys get that ball rolling? Why, America’s most prominent conspiracy-monger… Alex Jones!

War Games

If there’s a single overriding theme running through the ouevre of Alex Jones and InfoWars, it’s this: everything you think you know is wrong.

It’s not so much that he takes a deliberately contrarian position on the hot-button issues of the day, the way that any number of bread-and-butter broadsheet columnists might do. Alex Jones is different. He believes that the entire framework of human experience is a bullshit hoax from top to toe, and that we’re being sold this lie by Satanist paedophiles and murderers to distract us from the impending New World Order.

Not metaphorically. Actually.

More than that, InfoWars would have you believe that all modern culture is merely part of a long con. That everything we see, everything we are exposed to – our movies, our media, our medical advice – is all specifically designed for one purpose: to make us too stupid and slovenly to defend ourselves in the upcoming militarised Illuminati takeover.

Structured reality, essentially.

In a nutshell, he believes that the ‘globalists’ are fighting our hearts and souls on all fronts. They’re adding fluoride to the water. They’re having aeroplanes coat the skies with poisons. They’re slipping nanotechnology into our vaccines and feeding us genetically modified food – all in order to perform targeted, physical micro-lobotomies that strip us of our free will and humanity.

Once they have put us in this biochemically docile state, they then use popular culture to reprogram us, purposefully using television, music and movies to prime us for submission. From there, the globalists will attack, and destroy humanity in its entirety in order to see through their ultimate plan: to create a new human-machine-plant-insect hybrid form of life.

These are all facts, folks! You can look this stuff up! The CIA have admitted all of this!

Thankfully, InfoWars viewers can survive the worst of the globalists’ attacks by arming themselves. Partly with knowledge – sure. But mainly with the InfoWars range of high quality storable foods, water filters, short wave radios, vitamins, dietary supplements, shampoos, bug sprays and more.

As a little cottage industry, this whole set-up was working pretty nicely for a while. InfoWars viewers would tune in to hear how NASA had flown secret missions to build child slave colonies on Mars, or to learn about how Hillary Clinton’s top aides run a child sex dungeon in the basement of a pizza restaurant. Then they’d buy 36 capsules of Brain Force Plus in the gift shop on the way out to support continued episodes of Snake Oil Storytime – and all was well.

After totting up all the ad revenue, subscriptions and branded survivalist merchandise, InfoWars soon became a multi-million dollar concern. Even then, it was still fairly harmless.

But then came the Trump endorsement.

Before he announced that he was running for President, Trump’s most notable contribution to the American political conversation was his pushing of ‘birtherism’: a debunked conspiracy theory which claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and therefore pulled off an almighty constitutional scam in getting himself illegally elected President of The United States.

Also: he’s secretly a Muslim who has implemented Sharia law in the States by stealth.

The whole thing is palpable and provable nonsense – but in a popular culture that routinely demonstrates (and celebrates) the fact that so much of what we see is edited, scripted and manipulated specifically in order to fit to a predetermined outcome, it’s not really that illogical an extension to reach.

If you can believe that Simon Cowell would go to the trouble of spending millions of dollars to orchestrate things so that his preferred act would win something as cosmically inconsequential as a TV singing contest, or that Kim Kardashian would film 15 different takes of her ‘surprise’ proposal, for a marriage that would last 72 days before breaking down to neatly coincide with the season two finale of Kourtney And Kim Take New York – then why wouldn’t you also believe that a shadowy force of billionaire power-players would go to even greater lengths to hoodwink the public to install their preferred candidate for high office?

It might sound ludicrous when written down like that, but the rationale behind it all is not a million miles from the rationale that underpins the Russian interference story either. All of them hinge upon the premise that powerful people with particular vested interests are able to stage highly-secretive, highly-sophisticated operations in order to bend the rules of democracy to their advantage.

Whether that’s by falsifying a long form birth certificate, by exposing swing voters to micro-targeted attack ads over Facebook, or by having Ryan Seacrest ask them about how they think their dead mother would feel about them reaching the grand final – there’s no question, whatever your political beliefs, we are constantly being manipulated absolutely everywhere we turn.

Sometimes this stuff is obvious to spot. Often it isn’t. But it’s in this strange fug – floating somewhere between fact and fiction – that hucksters like Jones are able to get a foothold in the mainstream.

For the first full year of Trump’s presidency it seemed like we were approaching a sort of stalemate. It looked like there was nothing that either side could do which would land an effective hit on anyone. As piping hot as everybody’s piss was getting, nothing was budging.

And then Alex Jones tried to take on David Hogg.

The Two Other Strikes

Ever since he appeared on Piers Morgan’s CNN show, Alex Jones’s ‘Fake Mass Shooting’ routine has become his Mr Tambourine Man. His Free Bird. His Who Let The Dogs Out? The one thing he knows his crowd has come to hear.

And he obliges then. Every last time.

He said it about the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. He said about the Las Vegas shooting. And, within hours of news breaking of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting, Alex Jones was putting forward his opinion that – from what he was hearing – this could well be another example of the Deep State staging a false flag attack.

This time, however, a backlash started.

A video that Jones posted to his official YouTube channel entitled “David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines In TV Interview” (which picked up on those very interviews that Hogg had given the night of the shooting) suggested that Hogg was behaving like a crisis actor, and posited questions about whether he maybe could have been paid to pretend he was part of the shooting.

Jones got a strike against his account for having violated YouTube’s community guidelines, and harassment and bullying. Undeterred, he kept at it.

Two more videos “Who Is To Blame For The Florida Shooting?” and “The Truth About Crisis Actors In The Florida Shooting” were also flagged for potential breaches.

Jones got his second strike.

YouTube told him that if he incurred a third within three months, he would be permanently banned from the platform.

This would have been a big blow to his potential reach – Jones has 2,000,000 subscribers on YouTube – and, for a short while, Jones looked genuinely chastened, imploring David Hogg to come on the show so that they could ‘clear up’ what happened.

Instead, Hogg called him a shit journalist and Jones hit the roof.

He began raging that this was – once again – the corporate establishment trying to silence him through fear, that YouTube was trying to freeze him out and trample on his inalienable rights because he was close to the truth – all red meat to the InfoWars viewer. He was able to consolidate his viewers around this ever-present threat that his globalist enemies don’t just wanted to take away the Second Amendment (the guns one), they want to do away with the First Amendment too (the free speech one).

From there, he floated the idea that David Hogg might be involved in Bill and Melinda Gates’s masterplan to weaponise mosquitos for population control. He started trying to suggest that David Hogg wasn’t even present in school at the time of the shooting. He drafted his own child onto his show (presumably only as a last resort, seeing as he usually finds it so sick and twisted that the Establishment would brainwash children to use them as political pawns to push their own agenda) and got his fifteen year old Rex to call David Hogg out as well.

And all of the right-wing media followed.

A third strike doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, where did David Hogg go to talk about this – to give his version of events? To Anderson Cooper. On CNN.

Shaking The Habit

CNN, as we discussed in Part Two, is the news network headed up by Jeff Zucker – the same man who made Donald Trump a reality star when the pair of them were at NBC.

Rather than refuse to give any airtime to the absolutely boneheaded notion that the Parkland shooting was a false flag – i.e. that seventeen people were publicly sacrificed at the altar of globalism specifically so that a bunch of high school seniors could then lead the charge to repeal the 2nd Amendment and prepare the way for the Illuminati to enslave us all – CNN decided to analyse this story seriously.

Not only that, they did so under the extremely flimsy pretence that because Donald Trump’s son, Don Jnr, liked a tweet suggesting that David Hogg was a crisis actor, this was now of critical national importance.

Once again – like Jeff Zucker did in his very first week on the job, when Piers Morgan had Alex Jones on as a guest – CNN was giving a platform to these crackpot theories.

But it’s not the case that they didn’t learn from their mistake; they just learned a different lesson.

The Morgan v Jones showdown made for a viral piece of television. Not only did Piers Morgan’s regular audience catch the show, the people who read about the embarrassing railroading Piers got went to watch it on catch-up too. People who loathed Piers Morgan luxuriated in it. Alex Jones fans all sent it to their liberal nieces and nephews to show them the sort of wet cuck that advocates gun control. The people who think CNN is Fake News bookmarked it to embed it in their blogs and in posts when squabbling on Reddit.

It all adds up to huge figures.

This keeps happening. Not just in getting Anderson Cooper to talk about the David Hogg false flag theories, but in getting Erin Burnett to go toe-to-toe with KellyAnne Conway or having Jake Tapper face down Stephen Miller. They just can’t help themselves.

KellyAnne Conway knowingly lied, coined the phrase ‘alternative facts’ to cover it, invented a motherfucking massacre, and has even broken federal laws when appearing as a talking head. She’s so transparently untrustworthy that CNN announced they were going to ban her, but the ban lasted all of 48 hours before they had her back on.

Why? Because she suddenly started promising to give an accurate account of events in the White House.

Just kidding. It was because she was generating buzz, and that buzz was driving views.

Stephen Miller – that senior Trump aide who looks like a distant cousin of the Addams Family – ended up getting into a deeply undignified spat on Sunday morning show State Of The Union where Jake Tapper evnetually had to cut his mic.

Did the producers honestly not realise it was going to end up in a Real Housewives Of Atlanta style catfight – the same way it always does whenever they deliberately invite these dipshits on?

Obviously any responsible news organisation has a duty to get comment from the White House, but it doesn’t need to roll out the red carpet for known liars, cranks and kiss-asses. Nor do they have to insist these conflicts play out live on air. Yet they consistently do.

Why? Because like Cops, like American Idol, like The Apprentice, Fox News and InfoWars: the primary motivation isn’t to present an accurate depiction of actual reality.

It’s to make a good show.

Where Now?

We said right at the start of this that reality TV wasn’t just the cause of this problem, it might also be the solution.

How?

With all the political arguments we’re seeing at the moment – both with Trump’s election in the US, and with Brexit here – there seems to be no talking anyone round any more. Everyone has taken up their own set of facts and they’re standing by them, come hell or high water. Accusations of ‘fake news’ fire back and forth with everyone convinced that the other side is trying to bamboozle the public at large, and there doesn’t seem to be any immediate way to break the deadlock.

We are probably long past the point where a political solution will emerge, but are we past the point where we might yet find a cultural remedy?

Ideally, the culture-led answer would be for TV networks – both news and entertainment – to take some serious responsibility for the content of their programming, to be scrupulously honest in what they are presenting and why, to make a sincere attempt at winning back some trust from the public.

Realistically though, that isn’t going to happen. The Writers’ Guild of America offered networks a chance to formally codify what constituted factual and fictional reality TV in the strike of 2007 and the networks gave them the very definite finger, so they aren’t going to suddenly start taking the initiative themselves.

It’s also a little tricky to convince people to come back into the pool you’ve spent twenty years pissing in, no matter how much you hype your new filtration system.

So if there’s no political answer, and no workable cultural answer, that only leaves us with one option: a generational one.

It’s worth asking why people like Laura Ingraham and Alex Jones were able to act effectively unchallenged for so long, and are only now meeting their match in the form of a teenage high school senior.

Did Ingraham end up taking an unscheduled week off her show because David Hogg is some sort of god-level genius? Given that a lot of this story revolves around the fact he was rejected from multiple colleges, it would seem not.

Did Alex Jones nearly lose his YouTube channel because David Hogg is a world-beating orator? As stumbling over his sentences is what caused him to become the figurehead of a false flag conspiracy, it’s probably not that either.

What is it then? Why is a seventeen year old landing the sorts of critical hits on these targets that respected adult journalists have so far failed at?

We can’t be sure of this, naturally, but there’s a possibility that any number of seventeen year olds could have been landing those hits. It’s not something specific to David Hogg. It’s something specific to the next generation.

The rise of conspiracist ‘citizen’ journalist like Alex Jones is just one of the many things that has been baffling for the current grandees of the media world about our modern predicament. In much the same way that traditional executive bodies are struggling to interpret Trump’s legislation-by-Twitter, or that 84 year-old senators are trying to grill Mark Zuckerberg about a website they can barely even use to tag pictures of their great-grandchildren, the media has no real framework through which to deal with this new reality effectively.

The celebrity stars of traditional cable news all think that they will be the one to hand Alex Jones his arse, so they engage him in debate. They’re all so sure they can make it their Frost/Nixon moment – but they just don’t know how this stuff works.

Everyone who has tried to sit down with Jones to ‘expose’ or ‘understand’ him – from Piers Morgan in 2013, to former Fox host Megyn Kelly last summer – has ultimately given him exactly the sort of exposure he’s after.

It seems however (though, obviously, it’s not certain) that David Hogg has the measure of Alex Jones. He appears to have realised that there is nothing helpful to be gained by taking him on and so snubbed him.

Why? Because as well as being born in a post-Survivor, post-Apprentice landscape, Hogg and his classmates were also born in a post-InfoWars one. This batshit, topsy-turvy world is the only world they’ve ever known. They have no other experience to draw upon, and they are navigating it miles better than the rest of us.

Of course, there are teenage acolytes of Alex Jones too (not least his own son Rex, who is clearly gearing up to take over the family business), so this fight will continue among themselves, as well as with the current guard. But they will at least be wise to the sort of tricks that have wrongfooted so many of us, to such disastrous ends.

How does this all play out? Who knows. It’s been thirty years since Fox kickstarted the reality genre, and twenty plus since they started in on news, so this was all a long time coming. There’s no simple solution to something so winding and weaving, so it’s unlikely we’re going to be seeing any instant results with this.

In another thirty years we’ll maybe have a further 15,000 words to write on how David Hogg telling Alex Jones to get fucked inadvertently caused a huge cultural shift in politics, pop culture and media. Hopefully, it’ll happen sooner.

But if, in the meantime, we could stop putting Piers Morgan on telly – that would at least be a start.