Wait…Alex Jones is an Actor?! Actually, He’s Not the Only One


Many people seemed to be delighted by the revelation that “right-wing” conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was forced to admit in a child custody battle that he is just a “performance artist” playing “a character” who doesn’t really believe all of the crazy things that he says. After all, it doesn’t get much more satisfying than when a fraud is forced to confess that is what they are in order to try to get something they want.

First, let’s stipulate that it is possible that Jones, through his lawyer, is actually lying about being a fraud. His ex-wife, who has an obvious incentive to take this stance, says that he really is just as nuts as the things he says make him appear to be.

I will say that if Jones is indeed an actor, he is an extremely good one. Though not as good as Jack Nicholson as “The Joker,” to whom his lawyer compares him in his legal filing.

Let’s also understand that Jones is in no way a “conservative” talk show host, at least in any rational sense. He is (or at least pretends to be) a conspiracy theorist who just happened to catch Donald Trump’s attention and then parlayed his Trump cheerleading into great notoriety and, presumably, income.

One of the many catastrophic mistakes that the Hillary Clinton campaign made was not making sure that every voter saw this ad before casting their ballots. The very close connection between Jones and our president is one of the most disturbing things, on a very long list, which should have disqualified Trump from ever holding that office, or even getting the Republican nomination.

As a former conservative talk show host, Jones pushes a lot of my personal buttons. I can’t stand conspiracy theorists, I loathe frauds, and I have disdain for anyone who sold out to help facilitate Trump’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

However, while Jones may be the very worst among “right wing” talk show hosts, he is hardly alone among this group when it comes to those whose public persona is not authentic and could be easily described as an “act.”

If, for the purposes of this exercise, we broaden the definition of “talk host” to “commentator,” here is a list of some of the most prominent “conservative” pundits and how they rank, based on my experience, with regard to creating “performance art.” Ironically, I left Glenn Beck, who I once, apparently incorrectly, assumed was mostly a tremendous actor, off the list because he ended up being the only one willing to endure real personal damage to stand up against Trumpism.

In honor of the Jones legal filing, we will rank them based on one to five “jokers.”

Sean Hannity: A former reliable mouthpiece for cookie-cutter Republican orthodoxy, Hannity quickly became the most sycophantic of Trump’s media enablers (and a regular critic of me on Twitter). While it is possible that the ratings he reaped actually brainwashed him into thinking that Trump really is the Messiah, I would prefer to think that even Sean isn’t that dumb and that this is mostly an act. Four Jokers.






Rush Limbaugh: Once a personal hero, Rush, has often referred to himself as just an “entertainer” whenever he needed to get himself out of sticky situations. Unlike Hannity, Rush is way too smart to really believe the all the Trump propaganda he has spewed for the past year. Three Jokers.









Matt Drudge: Another guy I filled in for regularly when he was in talk radio, Matt is the ultimate capitalist within the “conservative media industrial complex.” Other than his fear of robots, love of chaos, and hatred of the Clintons, I’m not sure if Matt really believes in anything other than the bottom line. Five Jokers.





Michael Savage: A guy who I once filled in for and whose own producers thought was completely nuts. As scary as it may be, my sense is that he actually believes most of what he is saying. One Joker.








Milo Yiannopoulos: I have written about how Milo being mostly an actor got himself in trouble because he forgot not everyone was in on it. His acting seems to come in the form of exaggerating his opinions for effect, rather than making them up completely. Three Jokers.







Ann Coulter: Very similar to Yiannopoulos, she probably believes most of what she says, though she has a better ability to make it pay off in dollars, much like her good friend Drudge. Three Jokers.








Tomi Lahren: While I only know her from one Blaze TV interview we did together, she shows all of the signs of being a far more attractive and less insane version of Jones. It appears all of her opinions are based on what she perceives to be in her best interest at that moment (just like Trump!) and she is REALLY good at selling it. Five Jokers.






Mark Levin: I have written about the fall of the “Great One,” which has provoked his ire. He has been a verbal contortionist over the past year trying desperately to find a way to keep Trump cult members in his audience while not giving up all of his cherished principles. He failed in this impossible task. Three Jokers.







Hugh Hewitt: He is basically the soft-spoken version of Levin, only with glasses, white hair, and a smaller audience. I doubt any one (other than maybe Joe Scarborough, who I don’t count because he’s on MSNBC) has changed their stance on Trump more often than Hewitt. Two Jokers.







Sarah Palin: No one will ever believe it, but in my experience, the current Palin is NOT the real Palin. She became an actress (not a very good one, which is actually a testament to her having a soul) in order to stay famous and get rich, which is why, against my own self-interest, I came out against what she had been forced to become. Four Jokers.





John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is a documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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