Every TV commentator in the land has to decide whether to give air time to fringe inhabitants. Those on the most extreme edges of politics, after all, might be entertaining or horrifying, but rarely are they relevant. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has a test for such poeple: If their notions or ideas ever happen to merge with mainstream American politics, it’s not only fair game, it’s obligatory game. So that’s why, on Wednesday night’s show, she addressed the loony notions of InfoWars’s Alex Jones with respect to the Oklahoma tornado. It may not have been as natural an event as you’re being led to believe, suggested Jones. “They,” said Jones on his talk program, apparently referring to the government, “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.” That said, he conceded that he didn’t know whether the Oklahoma tornado was “a weather weapon or not.”
After playing the Jones weather-weapon clip, Maddow turned toward the intersection of Jones with American politics. Specifically, a certain brand of politics:
Alex Jones should be disqualified from participating in Republican Party politics. His crackpot theories shouldn’t prompt hearings in Congress and they shouldn’t inspire actual legislation in Congress, and you shouldn’t do a money bomb on his show running for Congress. Do not fundraise on this theater of the absurd by showing yourself to be one with this guy, really. He says the tornado was a conspiracy — the tornado. Can we agree it is over now, Republicans, going on his show, really? Can we agree? Please?