Plaza of the Flags homeless encampment in Santa AnaEXPAND
Plaza of the Flags homeless encampment in Santa Ana
Photo by Jeanette Duran

InfoWars' Claim of "Migrant Settlement" at Santa Ana Civic Center Shows How Stupid InfoWars Is

No media outlet—besides OC Weekly, of course—better exemplifies the wackiness that is fake news than InfoWars.com, the "news" operation of radio loser Alex Jones. I subscribe to their newsletter, and it reminds me of the late, great Weekly World News, except with none of the humor, all of the bad writing, a bunch of Russia love (man, Ed Anger must be rolling over in his grave), and more crying and whining than a hospital maternity ward.

Oh, and fake news. A shitload of fake news. And just this past weekend, InfoWars offered a lesson in all the bullshit they shovel with a "story" about the homeless camp at the Santa Ana Civic Center's Plaza of the Flags.

In a "story" titled "SHOCK VIDEO: Massive Migrant Settlement Outside Courthouses In Major CA Sanctuary City" (you can go find the link yourself), "reporter" Dan Lyman shared a video that "citizen journalist" Legal Latino Heat (LLH), released July 26 on YouTube that has LLH walking on the outskirts of the tent city that sets up daily at the Plaza of the Flags. "Citizen journalists have released shocking video of a large migrant encampment that has formed in the shadows of Orange County, California’s key government buildings, including multiple courthouses, in the city of Santa Ana," Lyman writes, and then quickly hedges his bets again with the next sentence: "Activist Legal Latino Heat posted the stunning footage in which the fully operational tent city packed with migrants, drug addicts and their pets sprawls across the Plaza of the Flags situated in the heart of the Santa Ana Civic Center, which serves as the nucleus of government operations for all of Orange County."

See that little trick? Suddenly, a "migrant settlement" turns into a "migrant encampment" turns into a tent city "packed with migrants." All of those are three separate things ("settlement" suggests permanency; "encampment" is temporary, and "tent city" is somewhere in between) that Lyman has conflated into one brown entity. And continually referencing "migrants" leads readers to believe that whatever is there at the Plaza of the Flags is something out of Calais.

But Lyman doesn't care about such subtleties. Instead, he quotes LLH, who in the video keeps going on and on about SanTana's status as a sanctuary city for undocumented people. The Venezuelan-American, when not obsessing over the smell of piss, asks, "Why do you want more illegals to come into this country – so they can live like this?” suggesting that the homeless at the Plaza of the Flag are overwhelmingly undocumented, and that the city's sanctuary status has something to do with the homeless camp.

The only problem with Lyman and Legal Latino Heat's "reporting"? It's all bullshit.

Neither of these idiots report on Orange County for a living, unlike we at OC Weekly. We've been reporting on the homeless at the Civic Center for nearly all our 22 years. And here's the real news for Lyman and LLH: there's been homeless at the Civic Center and at the Plaza of the Flags even before that, let alone before SanTana declared itself a sanctuary city. The concentration of homeless at the Plaza of the Flags isn't even a year old, and is the direct result of the County of Orange fencing off most of the rest of the Civic Center after the area started seeing a huge uptick in ints homeless population about three years ago, long before SanTana decided to go sanctuary.

The homeless population at the Plaza of the Flags is mostly Latino and gabacho, but no one has ever done a census to get the legal status of anyone there, least of all Lyman (who's "dispatch" is just a story on a video) and LLH, who didn't have the huevos to step into the homeless camp. Our reporters have a better idea, though, and they report that almost all the Latinos there are Mexican-Americans. That makes the Plaza of the Flags community an American-citizen tragedy, not a "migrant settlement."

The funny thing about all this, of course, is that both Lyman and LLH could've easily done a demonizing story about what loosey-goosey policies and laws regarding immigrants and housing can do to a city without having to reference homelessness or sanctuary-city status. SanTana, of course, is one of the most-crowded big cities in the United States, a direct result of the city's status as a magnet for Mexicans for generations and a decades-long campaign by activists to fight any housing-occupancy laws proposed by the City Council. But getting that story would've actually taken work and a knowledge of history, which both Lyman and LLH seem incapable of even comprehending, let alone doing.

Homeless encampment on Santa Ana River, two years before InfoWars' "exposé"
Homeless encampment on Santa Ana River, two years before InfoWars' "exposé"
Shane Lopes

Besides, why bother changing Lyman's lazy, self-serving narrative? Actually, let's: at the end of his "article," Lyman wrote that earlier this year, "Infowars exposed the homeless crisis unfolding in nearby Anaheim, California," referring to the homeless camp on the Santa Ana River near Angel Stadium. Except...we did that story nearly two years ago, in an award-winning cover story.

Hey, Danny: Stick to selling your master's Super Male Vitality supplement, and save some drops for Legal Latino Heat, 'cause the two of you sweethearts need them.

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