In 2010, a study out of University of California, Berkeley found that a species of African frog could change from male to female when exposed to the pesticide atrazine. As if that wasn't strange enough on its own, the story got even stranger when InfoWars host and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones picked it up.
But he didn't just tell the story that frogs were changing gender, Jones said that the U.S. government was doing it purposely to turn the frogs "gay." Why in the world would he say that? Of course it was because the U.S. government was putting chemical "bombs" in the drinking water supply to turn the American population into homosexuals.
Stuff They Don't Want You To Know hosts Ben Bowling, Noel Brown and Matt Frederick decided to open this can of worms and dive a little deeper into Alex Jones's career in this episode of the podcast to find out: Are Frogs Really Changing Gender?
Alex Jones first appeared on a public-access television call-in show in Austin, Texas, then moved to host a radio show called "The Final Edition." It was on his radio show that Jones began espousing his beliefs, including that the late Attorney General Janet Reno and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) murdered the "peaceful" Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993. He still claims the U.S. government was behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and that the George W. Bush administration orchestrated the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.
Jones is publisher of the website InfoWars, as well as NewsWars and PrisonPlanet. He is known to regularly oppose things on his show like vaccines, telling his followers that Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced doctor who falsified data on vaccines being linked to autism, "is a pioneer and trailblazer."
Jones has used InfoWars to promote his idea that the U.S. government geo-engineered Hurricane Irma and can direct tornadoes to certain areas; that the Clinton family was involved in a child pornography ring based out of a D.C. pizza restaurant; and that the NFL protests are really advocating for white genocide.
But perhaps his most controversial view has been that the Sandy Hook Elementary and Stoneman Douglas High School shootings were "false flag" operations carried out by the U.S. government to turn public opinion against gun ownership. He's repeatedly called grieving parents and witnesses "crisis actors," which has gotten him sued for defamation.
So what does all of this have to do with frogs changing gender? Well Jones took the UC Berkeley report about the pesticide atrazine turning a species of frogs from male to female and told his followers that, once again, the U.S. government was using "chemical bombs in the water" to turn the population gay.
The study was intended to determine the cause of a worldwide decline in amphibian populations. Researchers put 40 male African clawed frogs in water contaminated with atrazine and studied a control group of 40 male frogs in atrazine-free water. After a month, 10 percent of the frogs exposed to atrazine had developed ovaries and female reproductive organs, although they were still genetically male. The frogs were able to reproduce with male frogs, as well, but their offspring were only male — never female — further skewing the population numbers. The study concluded that atrazine and other hormone-disrupting pollutants were affecting amphibian populations.
Jones grabbed the study and, well, ran with it, saying the frogs were "turning gay," and that with enough atrazine, American men would soon be "ready to wear a short skirt." The government is undertaking this kind of chemical warfare, he says, to keep people from having children.
It may sound like Alex Jones is a total nut that no one would listen to, but InfoWars gets 10 million monthly visits, and his YouTube channel has 2.2 million subscribers, so the power of what he says can't be overstated.
Ben, Noel and Matt go deep down the rabbit hole in this podcast to separate the truth from the fiction — you'll have to listen to the entire show to learn more about Alex Jones and why InfoWars is so popular.