Thursday, February 22, 2018

Conspiracy, Anyone?

Probably because I am in possession of a reasonably well-functioning brain and had the benefit of a good education, conspiracy theories have never held any particular allure for me. You know the kind I mean, the ones about faked moon landings, undersea ufo bases, and the machinations of the Illuminati who are plotting to achieve a new world order, thereby subverting all that is good and holy.

Yet such enjoy great currency, thanks largely, I suspect, to the Internet.

Now, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting tragedy, the conspiracy machine has a new target: a survivor of the shooting who is turning out to be a passionate and eloquent spokesman for gun control, David Hogg. The Toronto Star reports the following:
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, are among those targeted by conspiracy theories about the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people.

Similar hoaxes were spread online following other mass shootings, including the 2012 assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

In Florida, an aide to a state representative on Tuesday emailed a Tampa Bay Times reporter a screenshot of them being interviewed on CNN and said, “Both kids in the picture are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis [sic] when they happen.”
Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie called the remarks “outrageous and disrespectful.”
Runcie called such attacks “part of what’s wrong with the narrative in this country. If someone just has a different type of opinion, it seems that we want to somehow demonize them or colour them as being somehow illegitimate instead of listening. We’ll never get beyond that if, as soon as you show up, you’re demonized.”

You can learn more about this from this NBC report:

The other day, I posted about Russian infiltration of American social media, their goal being to sow division and discord. Seems to me that Americans need little outside help in that regard.


  1. Perhaps it began when people became incapable of distinguishing reality TV from reality. Years ago I watched two senior Republican communications types happily disclose how the GOP had developed a layered technique whereby utter falsehoods could be laundered into fact in the public's mind. They described, in detail, how it was used in the "swiftboating" of John Kerry. It worked and it's been employed ever since.

    FOX News is an instrument of this effort. Fully two years after George W. Bush admitted that there were no WMDs in Iraq, some 60% of FOX viewers believed that such weapons had in fact been found.

    Knowledge, factual and evidence-based, has now been supplanted by belief. Those who understand this continue to spread the most outrageous lies because (a) they work and (b) there is no longer any social consequence of their dishonesty.

    1. Adding to your observations, Mound, that opinion and belief now seem to occupy equal footing with fact is also a testament to the narcissism that infects our times. People are so pleased with platforms that allow them to churn out their own views, no matter how loony, that they are outraged over any suggestion that they aren't worth anything.

    2. Mound,

      It's not Faux News, it's Radio Rwanda, and in the US, it's everywhere.

  2. We live in a universe populated by "alternative facts," Lorne. In such a universe, anything is possible.

    1. Yes, Owen, and the Internet, that great 'equalizer,' has facilitated this 'wondrous' reality.