Jones was in the news this week regarding an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, which was diffusely criticized for the fact of even giving air time to Jones. He is often described as a media personality or commentator, and his radio show is widely syndicated, and his videos have been seen millions of times online––though he distances himself from “the media” in any sense. He might better be described as a provocateur, then—a person in the business of getting attention.
At some point, of course, that attention needs to be turned into money. That seems to be where Super Male Vitality and the rest of Jones’ health business comes in. Buzzfeed reported last month that according to multiple former Infowars employees, the supplements were what really turned Infowars into a “media empire” that caters to conspiracy-minded consumers, estimating annual sales in the tens of millions of dollars. (It’s not just Super Male Vitality: Infowars also sells a product called Brain Force Plus, and another called Caveman, which will invite users to “rediscover the human blueprint, and experience the power of cutting edge science.”) One former employee said Jones “can sell 500 supplements in an hour.”
These supplements seem to be more than a part of the business model, but the core of it. Infowars does not operate like a newspaper or magazine, by selling ad space to third parties.
Last month in New York magazine, Seth Brown detailed that Jones makes no money from selling ads on his radio show, which amounts to a widely syndicated four-hour infomercial for supplements. “An examination of his business seems to indicate that the vast majority of Infowars’ revenue comes from sales of these dietary supplements. Infowars isn’t a media empire—it’s a snake-oil empire.”
Infowars didn’t reply to my request to discuss some products’ health claims and sales. Though a representative did tell me that in the future I should address questions about the supplement business to an account called email@example.com, the existence of which seems like an admission of something.
The store itself is heavily fortified with legal caveats for its health claims, like “The information contained in the Website is provided for informational purposes only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional.”
So to be clear: The information is for informational purposes only.
Though even this is not quite true. The fine print actually says that the act of reading the information absolves Infowars and Alex Jones of any responsibility for conveying that information. (“By using this site for any purpose whatsoever, including reading, browsing, studying … you are agreeing to indemnify Infowars … from any claims or responsibility for anything which may result there from, and you accept sole responsibility for any legal, medical, or financial liability which may occur as a result of your usage of the pages on this site.”)