The timing isn't random. In recent weeks, a group of progressive activists has dialed up efforts to pressure these distribution platforms to drop Infowars. That pressure, which comes at a time when court proceedings against Jones have finally begun in earnest, created the momentum that led to this decision. This has been mentioned in passing in much of the coverage, but these folks deserve much more credit and recognition for the work they've been doing in trying to fight right-wing disinformation campaigns.
Salon spoke recently with Jared Holt, a researcher from Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way. Holt's work has been instrumental in getting social media and other internet platforms to give Infowars the boot. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
You work at Right Wing Watch and People for the American Way by tracking right-wing misinformation sites. Why is it so important to go after these guys? What danger do they present to the public?
It's in the name of Infowars. It's not an attempt at legitimate reporting. It's a, quote, "war" for your mind.
Unfortunately, their war for the American mind is to stuff it full of conspiracy theories. That ultimately debases people from reality and polarizes them to the extremes of right-wing politics. Historically, we've seen that can be very harmful for the vision of America as a free and open democracy.
I think it's important to realize that people like Alex Jones are using these platforms in bad faith.
Major donors to PFAW include George Soros' Open Society Institute, the Miriam G. and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund.