Economist Explains Why People Like Alex Jones and Ben Shapiro Are Selling Snake Oil Cures During Pandemic

Ben Shapiro and Alex Jones are prominent right-wing pundits who host their own shows. And since they are not employed by anyone other than themselves, they need to raise money somehow. Usually that involves having companies sponsor their programs.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
These hosts can make even more money if they have a personal stake in the products being sold. This is something Jones and Shapiro have taken advantage of, especially in the time of COVID. In a column for the New York Times, Paul Krugman explained why the duo are selling snake oil cures.

“There is an economic element to political extremism, just not what you’d think,” Krugman wrote. “Right-wing extremists, and to some extent even more mainstream conservative media, rely on financial support from companies selling nutritional supplements and miracle cures — and that financial support is arguably a significant factor pushing the right to become more extreme.”

The economist continued:

“As the historian Rick Perlstein has pointed out, there’s a long association between peddlers of quack medicine and right-wing extremists. They cater to more or less the same audience. That is, Americans willing to believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and that Italian satellites were used to switch votes to Joe Biden are also the kind of people willing to believe that medical elites are lying to them and that they can solve their health problems by ignoring professional advice and buying patent medicines instead.”

You can read the full piece here, courtesy of the New York Times

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