Who said a 19-year-old with questionable credentials or a dedication to the truth couldn’t become a famous journalist?
Certainly not the Gateway Pundit, a St. Louis-based alt-right fake news site, when it hired Jordan Conradson.
Now, thanks to a new incident reported to the police, the self-proclaimed outlet is struggling to fulfill its shamelessly ironic mission statement displayed on its header.
“We report the truth – and leave the Russia-Collusion fairy tale to the conspiratorial media.”
Conradson isn’t old enough to pop the tab off a can of Kilt Lifter, but that didn’t stop him from infecting the internet with dangerous conspiracy theories and getting arrested in Phoenix on Sunday. Police allege he assaulted and injured his girlfriend.
The Phoenix Police Department nabbed Conradson, who also claims to have worked as a realtor since he was just 18, for assault and criminal damage, court records show.
Less than a week ago, he retweeted: “There is never an excuse for violence. Already.”
Conradson has been jailed, Phoenix Police Sgt. Philip Krynsky confirmed. “He was convicted of a few misdemeanors,” the sergeant said.
The case is currently pending in Phoenix Municipal Court. According to court documents, Conradson was at the home of his girlfriend, a 20-year-old Arizona State University student, around 1 a.m. on April 3 when a domestic assault took place. The young woman was slightly injured, according to the file.
She and Conradson announced their relationship on Facebook in January 2021.
The aspiring journalist was released from prison pending trial on May 27. He pleaded not guilty.
According to court records, Conradson is not allowed to contact his girlfriend. He is also prohibited from possessing weapons, alcohol or marijuana, all common release conditions.
This isn’t the first time Conradson has been through the court system, however.
In early 2018, when he was just 16, Conradson was arrested in Scottsdale for underage drinking. Nearly two years later, the case was dropped, according to court documents.
This incident with the cops did not scare the Gateway Pundit.
The conspiratorial blog strives for excellence “both in production and in the promotion of virtue”, according to the mission statement on its website. “All of our content must be true,” blog founder Jim Hoft wrote on the website. “No value is more important than this.”
But according to a report from the non-profit Poynter Institute for Media Studies, only 5% of Gateway Pundit content is fact-based. Two-thirds of the website’s content is based on “ridiculous claims” and 16% is mostly false, according to the report, which appears on Poynter’s PoltiFact website.
In November, the Gateway Pundit published an article claiming that due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, “the Biden administration has decided to leave the southern border of the United States completely open.”
The bridge expert also reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top US health officials plotted “for a new bird flu virus to force universal flu vaccination.”
These wacky headlines attract more than 2.5 million unique readers every day, Hoft claims, even after the Pundit launched from conventional social media platforms.
Early last year, following the 2020 US presidential election, Twitter banned the Gateway Pundit’s account for repeatedly posting dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of the election. . In September, Google demonetized the site for the same reason.
Thanks to its ultra-conservative advertisers and donors, the site is profitable enough to support a growing membership.
Hoft hired Conradson last year when he was 19.
The self-proclaimed “journalist” appears to have no education beyond high school and no previous experience or training as a journalist, according to public education records, his biography and his LinkedIn profile.
Conradson turned 20 in November.
Last May, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs accused him of harassing and threatening her. He filmed himself chasing her while making accusations that she was trying to undermine the infamous and dodgy so-called election “audit” ordered by Republicans in the state.
That same day, according to Hobbs, a man called her office saying she deserved to die and wondering “what she’s wearing so she’s easy to get.”
Hobbs shared the tweet in response to another tweet about Conradson.
Earlier today a man called my office saying I deserved to die and wanted to know “what she’s wearing so she’s easy to get.” It was one of at least three such threats today.
Then a man I had never seen before chased me and my employee outside our office. https://t.co/kKoc3g02Io
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) May 7, 2021
The incident was serious enough that Governor Doug Ducey ordered the Arizona Department of Public Safety to provide protection for Hobbs and his family.
“I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that the teenage real estate agent who writes for a partisan site is a real journalist,” said the former Arizona Capitol Times tweeted journalist Julia Shumway. “But that sequence of him chasing and yelling at Secretary Hobbs was both scary to watch as a woman and so different from how journalism works.”
Two months later, Arizona State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a Republican from Scottsdale, told police Conradson stalked her at a Donald Trump rally in Phoenix.
Conradson was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser, the Gateway Pundit reported, but he has not been charged with a crime.
Conradson was also expected to join Arizona State Rep. Walt Blackman, a Republican who is currently bidding for Congress, on Sunday night as a special guest for a webinar on Arizona politics.
He didn’t show up.
“Our special guest Jordan Conradson from the Gateway Pundit may not be able to join us tonight,” reads a transcript of the webinar. “I learned about 30 minutes ago that he may have been arrested.”
Conradson has not published an article on the Gateway Pundit or tweeted since April 2.