WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), no stranger to conservative politics, told Raw Story over the weekend that "there is a human cost to lying and spreading falsehoods." That's exactly what Jones was charged with doing, lying to such a degree that it resulted in the harm to the Newtown, Connecticut families.
On Friday, Jones was ordered to pay almost $50 million in damages to the family of Jesse Lewis, a 6-year-old child who was shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Jones perpetuated "questions" about whether Lewis was real, leading to his parents sobbing to the jury that their son was real and that they have been forced to fight for their safety while grieving his loss thanks to Jones.
Romney said that money can't ever fully compensate for what the families have dealt with over the past ten years.
"What he did was reprehensible and the jury saw it that way," he said. Romney went on to say that he wishes he had the answer to how to eliminate conspiracies like this.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) called Jones a "despicable human being" and said that he hopes that it will have a broader impact on the lies told by conspiracy theorists.
"The suffering these families have go through, it's not just perpetrators of lies, I think about reporter Alice Parker in Virginia, who got shot on air," Warner recalled. "The family is still trying to get YouTube to take the video down on a regular basis. So, I hope they, in terms of Jones, I believe every nickel he's worth, his family's worth — to spend. The thing has got to be consequences for malicious actions."
Home-state colleague, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) explained that relying on lawsuits for all of this isn't going to solve the problem.
"We still need to figure out a way to appropriately regulate speech that is designed to foment violence," Kaine said. "I was extremely happy to see that this was the court's ruling beause the guy is irresponsible. He's just about himself and getting attention. He doesn't care who he hurts. You gotta worry about the effects of your actions on people. People who see a ruling like that will start to guard their own actions. But, again, I don't think jury verdicts are enough. I think more needs to be done."
MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan also brought up Jones on Sunday.
While the case this week was about Sandy Hook, Hasan pointed to a slate of other issues in which Jones has attacked people by making up lies. Jones has questioned whether the Sept. 11 attacks ever happened and the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Jones has spread lies that former first lady Michelle Obama is actually a man and that she murdered comedian Joan Rivers. The main conspiracy that led to a hostage crisis in Washington, D.C. came from the so-called Pizzagate lie, in which Jones and other conspiracy theorists questioned whether a pizza parlor was holding children in a basement to sell them from a trafficking ring.
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone explained that Jones' conspiracies and his thoughts have spread beyond just the fringe and are now part of what many Republicans are embracing. He specifically cited the Fox network's Tucker Carlson, who called Jones a "far better guide for reality." When Trump was in the White House, Jones was given a press pass.
Nicole Hemmer, director of the Rogers Center for the Study of the Presidency, at Vanderbilt University, explained that Jones might not be cited, but a lot of his conspiracies go from Jones to the "mainstream" of Fox hosts. The "groomer" slur that alleges anyone who is gay is a pedophile, was something that comes from Jones' Pizzagate. Tucker Carlson's comments that Jan. 6 was a "false flag operation" and those who were arrested are "political prisoners."
How Alex Jones runs the GOP and Fox www.youtube.com
With additional reporting from Matt Laslo.