By Frank Moher
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the on-air contingent of the so-called alternative media (and no, we’re not talking Air America). It began when the website of the Republic Broadcasting Network, a freedom-fightin’ radio and webcasting outfit from Austin, Texas, suddenly disappeared and was replaced with an announcement from the guy who maintains its online archives. Web guy claimed that the network-owner is, basically, a gun-wielding, dog-kicking lunatic (no, seriously, one of the charges was that he had kicked his wife’s dog “because the dog urinated on the carpet”) and he wasn’t going to take it any more. The regular RBN website is back up now, but — ever vigilant on your behalf — I’ve saved the employee’s rant here.
Specifically, the flunky was upset that, a few weeks earlier, the owner had used his radio show to slur the host of a show on the rival “patriot movement” network, Genesis Communications. John Stadtmiller, the slurrer, had insinuated that Alex Jones, the slurree, uses drugs (in which case it would be Jones who should be referred to as the “slurrer,” but never mind). Mr. Jones vigorously denied the allegation. In fact, said his GCN fellow show-host, one Jack Blood, it’s Stadtmiller who uses drugs; he knew this because he once worked at RBN, and he witnessed it. I’m guessing Mr. Stadtmiller vigorously denied the allegation also.
It’s worth noting that John Stadtmiller used to work at GCN until he got fired, at which point he went off and founded RBN. Only GCN keeps stealing his hosts away from him, which may be the reason for his pique. There’s a lot of pique to go around in the patriot movement.
Then last week the “movement’s” travails came to a head, when its flagship website rense.com, went down for a few days. A representative explained that a hard drive and a server had failed, but speculation in the sorts of online groups that speculate about these things was that the site had been captured by government agents, and that its proprietor, Jeff Rense, was in danger of being murdered. Or maybe he just forgot to pay his bill.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like these sites. I confess that, as a guy who spends a lot of time at his computer meeting deadlines, I listen to them regularly. I used to listen to Don Imus on a stream out of Portland, but that was too commercial-ridden. I also used to listen to all-night New York City talker Joey Reynolds, but, with his steady stream of once-were and would-be celebrity guests, that became just too pathetic. So now I listen to the little guys with a big axe to grind, as much for the entertainment value as for the possibility that they might, in some particulars, be right.
The entertainment value is very high. Alex Jones, in particular, is a brilliant blowhard, with a voice that sounds like someone’s living in his throat and an irresistible schtick built around being an ordinary Texas redneck who’d rather just be raising his kids and loving his wife but has been forced, because of the evil Illuminati, to take on the New World Order. Someone once called him “The P.T. Barnum of the 21st-century,” and that’s not far off the mark. Which is not to say he’s a fraud. I have a feeling Jones believes every word he says — or rather, growls — and that, if nothing else, he and his kind have taken on the job of afflicting the powerful that the mainstream media have largely abandoned. (Check out some classic Jones below, as he bullhorns the Bilderberg Group in Ottawa last summer.)
At least they ask questions. The only thing more bizarre than some of the 9/11 conspiracy theories floating around on the Web is to report on them blandly, as most of the mainstream press by now has, and then go no further. Especially given that not all of them are bizarre. Credible scholars and scientists raise credible questions about the events of that day, The Washington Post writes them up, and then leaves it at that. This from the paper that once brought down a President.
So, ill-behaved and obnoxious as they sometimes are, I recommend these sites and shows to you. Better hurry and visit them soon, though. You never know when they’re going to suddenly disappear.