Peter St Onge, a research fellow at the influential conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, appeared on Alex Jones’ Infowars network on Thursday, signaling a further erosion of the boundaries between the establishment and fringe elements of the conservative movement.
“Alex, I’ve of course been a fan for many, many years,” St Onge said at the beginning of the roughly hour-long interview. “I saw you speak in San Antonio about eight years ago and still remember that.”
Jones and St Onge then took turns making the type of sweeping, conspiratorial accusations that Infowars is known for.
“What do you think they’re going to pull next?” Jones asked St Onge. “If you look at the tools in their little Swiss Army Knife here — what’s the next thing they’re going to pull?”
“They’re really pushing it on all fronts,” St Onge responded, not specifying to whom he was referring.
St Onge then repeated a common but debunked talking point on the right that the Department of Justice had labeled parents protesting school board meetings as domestic terrorists.
“I think terrorism really paid off for them in 2001, and you know terrorism has the attraction that there’s sort of this gray area where you can take very normal people right — you can take parents who are yelling at school meetings — I mean, you know, we just saw it,” St Onge said. “They’re going to try to criminalize domestic dissent.”
Although Jones has long been a discredited conspiracy theorist, in recent years he has also been embraced by the broader right-wing media ecosystem. He’s been invited on high-profile programs like The Charlie Kirk Show, and War Room, the podcast of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Jones received a standing ovation at an event hosted by Turning Point USA, a conservative youth-focused organization that Kirk founded.
Jones has spent years falsely claiming that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax staged to enact gun control laws. Families of the survivors of the shooting successfully sued Jones in Texas and Connecticut, resulting in more than $1.4 billion in awarded damages. Both Jones and Infowars later declared bankruptcy.
Whereas Jones proudly positions himself as the proud outsider, the Heritage Foundation sits at the center of the conservative media and political world. The conservative think tank is currently organizing an effort to staff the next Republican administration with right-wing ideologues, regularly sponsors agenda-setting events like the Conservative Action Political Conference. In this prominent role, the organization is influential in pushing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and other extremist positions.
On Thursday, the Heritage Foundation shared a widely condemned, anti-Palestinian video to social media. “To import a population of Palestinians would be certain suicide for Americans,” said Lora Ries, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center.
This is incitement @Heritage,” wrote Human Rights attorney and Palestinian advocate Noura Erakat. “Not even a week since 6 y/o Wadie Al Fayoumi was stabbed 26 times by a man screaming “You Muslims must die!”
“75 years ago — when the US wouldn't admit Jews in DP [displaced persons] camps into the US because of our supposed communist inclinations — these bigots were saying the same thing about us,” wrote Peter Beinart, editor-at-large for Jewish Currents.