How right-wing conspiracy theories are hatched, and aren't actually conspiracy theories (1 Viewer)

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There is a tendency for "normies", particularly those often sympathetic to conspiracy theories or at least naturally skeptical, to view conspiracy theories as the logical response to inconsistencies or other peculiarities associated with incidents/events that cause skeptical people to question the mainstream narrative . . . and with some sleuthing, piece together a package that is, on its face, something reasonable people should consider before fully accepting that mainstream narrative.

After all, by the very name, a "conspiracy theory" is a theory to explain an event that relies on interested persons manipulating information to give the appearance of some event or occurrence that didn't actually "happen" the way it is perceived but, instead, the result of this manipulation.

As this piece in today's Washington Post reveals, that isn't how it works in the modern political sphere (aided by dark, anonymous internet sites) - and these so-called conspiracy theories are actually the conspiracies themselves. Rather than originating in skeptical observers saying "Hey, wait a minute . . .", these (mostly right-wing/alt-right) "theories" are not theories at all, but propaganda campaigns conceived just moments after events occur. The alt-narrative becomes a conspiracy theory by searching for material that could conceivably support (through proper spin) the alt-narrative. Whereas a true conspiracy theory takes suspect evidence and forms a theory of an alternate result, the alt-narrative campaign begins with the alternate result and forms "evidence" to support it.

As a result, there are three kinds of people within the landscape of these alt-narratives. (1) Those who conceive them or support them knowingly for the purpose of achieving propaganda to undermine the meaning of the actual event, (2) those who are drawn in to believing that there may have actually been a conspiracy and becoming suspect of what is otherwise factual information and personal experiences, and (3) those who recognize that the alt-narratives are untrue or unreasonable and reject them.

This behavior, a conspiracy of individuals to manipulate how the public understands factual events, is insidious in a free society. The victims of this activity most disgustingly include those who experienced the actual event, often horrible experiences like being a shooting victim or losing a loved one in a tragedy. As we have seen with the Sandy Hook "false flag" alt-narrative, survivors and parents of dead children have to endure death threats and defamation of character for years after the event. This is repeating now with Parkland students and parents who lost children being threatened and otherwise disparaged.

But the victims also include those in the second group - who are unwittingly participating in propaganda under the mistaken belief that they are being naturally skeptical. They are the unwitting participants in a conspiracy against the truth, and that is something that no reasonable person should ever accept. I don't mean to suggest that every individual can always know the difference between a true conspiracy theory that bears consideration in reasonably skeptical minds, and a propaganda campaign designed to manipulate public understanding of events - there are indeed times when things turn to be different than the original "facts" suggested.

But we all must earnestly try to stay on the side of the good.


Forty-seven minutes after news broke of a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the posters on the anonymous chat board 8chan had devised a plan to bend the public narrative to their own designs: “Start looking for [Jewish] numerology and crisis actors.”

The voices from this dark corner of the Internet quickly coalesced around a plan of attack: Use details gleaned from news reports and other sources to push false information about one of America’s deadliest school shootings. They began crafting false explanations about the massacre, including that actors were posing as students, in hopes of blunting what they correctly guessed would be a revived interest in gun control.

The success of this effort would soon illustrate how lies that thrive on raucous online platforms increasingly shape public understanding of major events. As much of the nation mourned, the story concocted on anonymous chat rooms soon burst onto YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, where the theories surged in popularity.

Amid corporate efforts to beat back the falsehoods, the episode became the latest cautionary tale about how the Internet itself had become a potent tool of deception wielded by political extremists, disinformation warriors and conspiracy theorists.
. . .
There was little sign on the chat boards of any unease about singling out Parkland survivors and their families for personal attacks. Instead the mood seemed jubilant, with posters celebrating that the campaign had reached a broader audience of “normies,” meaning people who typically keep their distance from racist, anti-Semitic and far-right extremist conversation.

“Just wanted to say thanks for all your digging and research,” one poster wrote on 8chan. “Extra thanks if you’re spreading info or memes about this kid. It’s already breaking through the normie-sphere. KEEP PUSHING!”

More about how the "crisis actor" alt-narrative was hatched and proliferated in this detailed story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/we-studied-thousands-of-anonymous-posts-about-the-parkland-attack---and-found-a-conspiracy-in-the-making/2018/02/27/04a856be-1b20-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html?utm_term=.824fe1c432d0
 
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superchuck500

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This American Life this week with two segments about conspiracy theor(ists): The first about Sandy Hook dad Lenny Pozner and the second about Alex Jones's origins. As always, TAL is fantastic.


 
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There is a tendency for "normies", particularly those often sympathetic to conspiracy theories or at least naturally skeptical, to view conspiracy theories as the logical response to inconsistencies or other peculiarities associated with incidents/events that cause skeptical people to question the mainstream narrative . . . and with some sleuthing, piece together a package that is, on its face, something reasonable people should consider before fully accepting that mainstream narrative.

After all, by the very name, a "conspiracy theory" is a theory to explain an event that relies on interested persons manipulating information to give the appearance of some event or occurrence that didn't actually "happen" the way it is perceived but, instead, the result of this manipulation.

As this piece in today's Washington Post reveals, that isn't how it works in the modern political sphere (aided by dark, anonymous internet sites) - and these so-called conspiracy theories are actually the conspiracies themselves. Rather than originating in skeptical observers saying "Hey, wait a minute . . .", these (mostly right-wing/alt-right) "theories" are not theories at all, but propaganda campaigns conceived just moments after events occur. The alt-narrative becomes a conspiracy theory by searching for material that could conceivably support (through proper spin) the alt-narrative. Whereas a true conspiracy theory takes suspect evidence and forms a theory of an alternate result, the alt-narrative campaign begins with the alternate result and forms "evidence" to support it.

As a result, there are three kinds of people within the landscape of these alt-narratives. (1) Those who conceive them or support them knowingly for the purpose of achieving propaganda to undermine the meaning of the actual event, (2) those who are drawn in to believing that there may have actually been a conspiracy and becoming suspect of what is otherwise factual information and personal experiences, and (3) those who recognize that the alt-narratives are untrue or unreasonable and reject them.

This behavior, a conspiracy of individuals to manipulate how the public understands factual events, is insidious in a free society. The victims of this activity most disgustingly include those who experienced the actual event, often horrible experiences like being a shooting victim or losing a loved one in a tragedy. As we have seen with the Sandy Hook "false flag" alt-narrative, survivors and parents of dead children have to endure death threats and defamation of character for years after the event. This is repeating now with Parkland students and parents who lost children being threatened and otherwise disparaged.

But the victims also include those in the second group - who are unwittingly participating in propaganda under the mistaken belief that they are being naturally skeptical. They are the unwitting participants in a conspiracy against the truth, and that is something that no reasonable person should ever accept. I don't mean to suggest that every individual can always know the difference between a true conspiracy theory that bears consideration in reasonably skeptical minds, and a propaganda campaign designed to manipulate public understanding of events - there are indeed times when things turn to be different than the original "facts" suggested.

But we all must earnestly try to stay on the side of the good.





More about how the "crisis actor" alt-narrative was hatched and proliferated in this detailed story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/we-studied-thousands-of-anonymous-posts-about-the-parkland-attack---and-found-a-conspiracy-in-the-making/2018/02/27/04a856be-1b20-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html?utm_term=.824fe1c432d0
WAPO is fake news along with the times. I could list several intances but you folks will believe what the MSM says. The MSM is arm of the democrat party.. seek out other sources.
 
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This American Life this week with two segments about conspiracy theor(ists): The first about Sandy Hook dad Lenny Pozner and the second about Alex Jones's origins. As always, TAL is fantastic.


i guess sandy hook is just as much as a hoax when Illegals kill Americans.. so if illegals kill americans and the dems and the MSM refuse to report then I guess sandy hook is a hoax.
 
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WAPO is fake news along with the times. I could list several intances but you folks will believe what the MSM says. The MSM is arm of the democrat party.. seek out other sources.
What does that have to do with how "conspiracy theorists" actually hatch the the theories in the moments after the events occur? That's what that article details - do you dispute it?
 

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This one arrived from a relative last night, regarding calls to eliminate the Electoral College:

Here you go. Share away.

For all the people who fell asleep in civics class…
1: There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 of them. Clinton Only 57.
2. There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 of them. Clinton won 16.
3: Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.
4: In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond 6 Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only on 4 of these counties: Trump won Richmond) Therefore these 5 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.
5: These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.
6: When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) don’t and shouldn’t speak for the rest of the country.
And this children is WHY you have an Electoral College. It’s a safety net so that EVERYONE’S vote counts.
 
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superchuck500

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This one arrived from a relative last night, regarding calls to eliminate the Electoral College:

Here you go. Share away.

For all the people who fell asleep in civics class…
1: There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 of them. Clinton Only 57.
2. There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 of them. Clinton won 16.
3: Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.
4: In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond 6 Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only on 4 of these counties: Trump won Richmond) Therefore these 5 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.
5: These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.
6: When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) don’t and shouldn’t speak for the rest of the country.
And this children is WHY you have an Electoral College. It’s a safety net so that EVERYONE’S vote counts.
There's a solid premise around the electoral college - but basing it on square miles isn't it.

But actually I think you posted on the wrong thread.
 

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This one arrived from a relative last night, regarding calls to eliminate the Electoral College:

Here you go. Share away.

For all the people who fell asleep in civics class…
1: There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 of them. Clinton Only 57.
2. There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 of them. Clinton won 16.
3: Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.
4: In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond 6 Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only on 4 of these counties: Trump won Richmond) Therefore these 5 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.
5: These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.
6: When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) don’t and shouldn’t speak for the rest of the country.
And this children is WHY you have an Electoral College. It’s a safety net so that EVERYONE’S vote counts.
The argument for firing the actual humans who make up the Electoral College is that they're supposed to be a failsafe in case the popular vote elects someone who is manifestly unfit for the job.
They utterly failed to do so, proving themselves a mere rubber stamp for the election outcome. So why have them at all?
 

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This one arrived from a relative last night, regarding calls to eliminate the Electoral College:

Here you go. Share away.

For all the people who fell asleep in civics class…
1: There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 of them. Clinton Only 57.
2. There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 of them. Clinton won 16.
3: Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.
4: In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond 6 Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only on 4 of these counties: Trump won Richmond) Therefore these 5 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.
5: These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.
6: When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) don’t and shouldn’t speak for the rest of the country.
And this children is WHY you have an Electoral College. It’s a safety net so that EVERYONE’S vote counts.
Yeah, I've heard this argument but never really understood the logic behind it...it certainly doesn't address the person's vote in the densely populated areas counting for a hell of a lot less. And the person's vote in the rural area counting for a hell of a lot more....I'm not advocating doing away with the electoral college entirely but if a candidate wins the popular vote by a large margin (the large margin can be negotiated and defined) but loses the election? I think the majority of the citizens suffer....
 
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superchuck500

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Yeah, I've heard this argument but never really understood the logic behind it...it certainly doesn't address the person's vote in the densely populated areas counting for a hell of a lot less. And the person's vote in the rural area counting for a hell of a lot more....I'm not advocating doing away with the electoral college entirely but if a candidate wins the popular vote by a large margin (the large margin can be negotiated and defined) I think the majority of the citizens suffer....
There's no basis for the electoral college based on square miles. Montana and Delaware have the same amount of electoral votes.

There are other good arguments (about the federal system as a collection of states, about the need to balance rural interests against urban interests, regional interests, etc.) - but square miles is silly.
 

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This American Life this week with two segments about conspiracy theor(ists): The first about Sandy Hook dad Lenny Pozner and the second about Alex Jones's origins. As always, TAL is fantastic.


Listened to this over the weekend and meant to find a place to share it.

The ending was honestly incredibly depressing .

Spoilers to anyone that may want to listen blindly:

After knowing first hand just what type of habitual liar and charlatan Alex Jones is the guy can't seem to help himself but to start reflexively defending and rationalizing some of his partisan conspiracies because they align with his politics. It was a really somber ending to what was an emotionally bumpy but very good expose.

Every year they have some must listen shows that involve top of the line journalism and this is certainly one of them for this year.
 

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i guess sandy hook is just as much as a hoax when Illegals kill Americans.. so if illegals kill americans and the dems and the MSM refuse to report then I guess sandy hook is a hoax.
What in the world are you on about, other than validating the OP's premise?
 

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There's no basis for the electoral college based on square miles. Montana and Delaware have the same amount of electoral votes.

There are other good arguments (about the federal system as a collection of states, about the need to balance rural interests against urban interests, regional interests, etc.) - but square miles is silly.
Agreed. I actually wasn't arguing methodology of electoral votes per se (which I think could be changed for the much much better) but the incredible illogical case of a candidate winning the popular vote by a substantial margin yet losing the election. To me that is not what this country is supposed to be about...for the people...by the people...all are equal...was my point...vague as it was...
 

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My Aunt is a perfect example. She is in her 70s, she's a white christian southerner with an associate degree and retired from a career in administrative support. She has always been in that segment of the right that is distrusting of government as a whole, but willing to support demagogues and talk-radio hosts with devotion. She abhorred the Obamas and is gleeful over a person like Trump becoming president. But I have always enjoyed having discussions with her and she's always willing to engage. Despite our vastly different perspectives, I try to have discussions with her without being dismissive or disrespectful to her.

But she has been posting "crisis actor" stories from these alternate truth sites and I finally asked her the other day "Do you really believe that the shooting was a hoax and these students and parents are actors??" She didn't respond (and she always responds). I take that to mean that she does believe the stories, or at least thinks it is a distinct possibility - but she doesn't want to engage any further, she wants to be free to think that, and that's it.

I don't think she's in the camp that willfully proliferates a false story to achieve some propaganda interest - so she's in that second group of people who have allowed their sentiment to become weaponized by false propaganda. There may even be an awareness of that, and an acceptance in that name of staying on the team she has identified with - I really don't know, but it is disappointing to say the least.
Obama was a community organizer trained using Alinsky tactics. That is a demagogue. So white, christians are easily influenced you say. What if one has a masters degree but are white christians. What are they ?
 

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Agreed. I actually wasn't arguing methodology of electoral votes per se (which I think could be changed for the much much better) but the incredible illogical case of a candidate winning the popular vote by a substantial margin yet losing the election. To me that is not what this country is supposed to be about...for the people...by the people...all are equal...was my point...vague as it was...
It was founded that way. So, why don't you lead the charge to change it. It is constitutional you know.
 

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