Alex Jones Proved That Lying Pays. Can Sandy Hook Lawsuits Help Turn the Tide on Disinformation?

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Two years of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s text messages have now been turned over to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. The messages were first revealed in court last week in Austin, Texas, just before a jury ordered InfoWars host Alex Jones to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of Jesse Lewis, a 6-year-old boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. For years Alex Jones spread conspiracy theories that the Newtown shooting was a government hoax and the victims’ families were paid actors, resulting in online harassment and death threats for Sandy Hook families. “He will never change, but it does send a message … that this is just so important to push back against the lies and disinformation,” says New York Times reporter Elizabeth Williamson, who covered the case and is the author of “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth.”

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