Greg Palast is a New York Times bestselling author and fearless investigative journalist whose reports appear on BBC Television Newsnight and in The Guardian. Palast eats the rich and spits them out. Catch his reports and films at www.GregPalast.com, where you can also securely send him your documents marked, "confidential".
This is the first of Palast's weekly columns for VICE – beginning with a bang: a four-part series on Alex Jones, guns, Piers Morgan and Palast's penis.
PART ONE: ALEX JONES VERSUS DOWNTON ABBEY
Alex Jones is right. Deport Piers Morgan. NOW. Send him back. In chains.
But not because Piers doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. (I mean, really, who gives a shit what Piers Morgan believes?) Piers Morgan should be turned over to Scotland Yard forthwith because he’s a criminal. And because of what he said about my penis, which we'll get to later.
This year's big YouTube hit so far – excluding the video of the guy sucking an umbrella out of his dog’s anus – is the footage of Alex Jones stuffing a figurative umbrella up Piers Morgan.
It shows Alex Jones – the host of one of the only intellectually substantive, fact-heavy forums on American radio – going nuclear on prime time. In notably high decibels, Alex was trying to explain to Piers why America has a Bill of Rights while England has David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Paul McCartney.
Before I enumerate the charges against Morgan, we need to ask two questions. Why did Alex Jones seem to lose it on air? And why is it so important to the media elite to ridicule him and dismiss him as a fruitcake and a buffoon – just another scary, Texan gun-nut – while they venerate Pus Moron – the scoundrel, the faker, the wanker – like he’s Thomas Jefferson?
What was really behind Alex’s freak-out?
The yell from Alex’s throat was not his own voice alone – it was the choric cry of his millions of listeners in the forgotten heartland of America. It was the scream of the screwed.
It’s not about guns. The shoot-out between Jones, rough-voiced and real, versus Morgan, faux journalist with the snooty accent, is a metaphoric battle. The movers and shakers on Morgan’s guest list versus the moved and shaken across the Great Plains who listen to Jones; the privileged 1 Percent versus Jones’ 99 Percenters; those who got the gold mine versus those who got the shaft.
It’s about the comfortable in Manhattan, West Hollywood and Islington who watch Downton Abbey and dream of the days when the servants were grateful just to shine their masters’ silver. Jones speaks for the lower decks on the Titanic – those under the waterline, who know that the ship has hit the iceberg while the rich are cramming bottles of champagne into the last life boats.
Of the 31,672 gun deaths in America in 2010, the majority – 61 percent – were suicides. The real killer is despair. Why such desperation? What in the American dream is so nightmarish that death is a better choice?
Jones’ fierce journalism talks to those waiting in the dark.
Their jobs have been taken to China, their homes to foreclosures, their pensions to bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, their freedoms to Guantanamo – so, they’ll be goddamned if they’ll let you take their guns.
Some don’t know where to turn, so they attack blacks and Jews and immigrants. Jones tells his audience not to get distracted by these false targets; the “false flags that the New World Order uses” to keep guns pointed the wrong way. (For that, he’s been blasted as a “Zionist shill” by Real Jew News.)
The true issue – the danger – Jones says, is not from our assault rifles, but from the assault on working people in Greece and in Manchester and in Toledo by a dangerous group of jackals whose weapons are the IMF, the Euro, JP Morgan, “austerity” and the “debt ceiling”.
I love Alex Jones. If I were a woman, I’d appear on his show in my highest heels and shortest mini-skirt.
Journalistically, Jones has iron balls.
Example: In Britain, BBC Television Newsnight and The Guardian splashed a report of mine on finance vultures. These speculators effectively seized the money given by the US and Europe to Africa to end cholera and AIDS epidemics.
Billionaire Paul Singer, the big Republican donor, the vulture who savaged the Congo (and Mitt Romney’s business partner) had one of his stooges call the BBC to spike our story: “We have a file on Greg Palast.” Some of it, apparently, fabricated by Piers Morgan.
While the BBC ran the story regardless of the threat, my investigations of Singer, despite gaining the cover of Nation, were suddenly pulled from US airwaves, including Piers' CNN. A major news service said it was spiked not by editors, but by "high up". Even MSNBC said, coyly, that the story was “too complex for our viewers”.
But not Jones’ audience. “This is complex,” Jones told me, “so we’ll give you a full hour to explain it.” Which is part of the reason Alex is such a hero in the US – he has the cojones to venture where the mainstream media fear to tread.
Look, I don’t agree with a whole lot of Alex’ opinions and theories, and Lord knows he doesn’t agree with mine. But whenever I have the facts, he wants them. And he’s not afraid to take his listeners deep into the twisted matrix of flim-flams in the market for Greek credit default swaps or into the murky waters of IMF privatisation schemes in Latin America.
And Piers’ “news” show? His dream guest, he said, would be Lindsay Lohan. Rejected by Lindsay, he settled on discussing the great issues of the day with Kim Kardashian.
Part Two – Deport Piers Morgan: Slimes and Crimes
Part Three – Assault Gun Ban: Weapon of Mass Distraction
Part Four – Piers and my Penis
Follow Greg on Twitter: @Greg_Palast
For a limited time, readers of VICE will be able to download Palast's latest bestseller free of charge. Get it below: