Why Conspiracy Theories Die Hard

[Disclaimer: By posting this article I do not mean to advocate the mainstream view that conspiracies are impossible.  Both evidence and logic suggest to me that not only do some exist, but most are small and banal, and thus common.  Nonetheless, this article describes one reason we should not swallow any old conspiracy theory just because its purported villain is someone we don't identify with, but instead regularly question "the truth" as we believe we "know" it.  Of course that includes those who don't believe in conspiracies.]

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From CNN:

Recent polls have found that as much as 15% to 20% of the public, including about 30% to 45% of Republicans, falsely believe that President Barack Obama was not born in this country. Will Wednesday’s release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate put an end to the birther myth?The odds aren’t good. The problem is that people can be extremely resistant to unwelcome factual information. In 2005 and 2006, I conducted a series of experiments to study this problem with Jason Reifler, a political scientist at Georgia State University.

In these studies, undergraduate participants were given news articles in which a political figure made a misleading claim. In some cases, this claim was followed by a correction that set the record straight. Disturbingly, we found that corrective information in news articles often fails to reduce misperceptions among the ideological or partisan group that is most vulnerable to the false belief.

In some cases, corrections even made misperceptions worse — a result we call a “backfire effect.”

Unfortunately, this sort of response is typical. Many other studies have found that people tend to resist or reject information, including scientific evidence, that contradicts their pre-existing views.

In research that is under way, Reifler and I provide evidence that this defensive response is driven by the threat that contradictory information poses to people’s self-concept. When we first affirm individuals’ self-worth, those who are most likely to be misinformed report substantially lower misperceptions.

In this case, the birther movement has grown to its current prominence despite the release of a certification of live birth and the discovery of contemporaneous announcements of Obama’s birth in two Honolulu newspapers.

Given how much evidence is already available, it’s hard to see why a long-form birth certificate would suddenly change the minds of people who are predisposed to believe in the myth. The hardcore are already shifting to new rationales for questioning Obama’s right to hold office and deconstructing the PDF released by the White House for supposed evidence of forgery.

Read more here.

See also: How Facts Backfire: A Surprising Threat to Democracy — Our Brains

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  • Hadrian999

    because governments get caught lying all the damn time making believing the official story nearly impossible

  • Hadrian999

    because governments get caught lying all the damn time making believing the official story nearly impossible

  • Haystack

    Conspiracy theorists process information in ways that render their theories non-falsifiable ways. On one hand, any anomalies and inconsistencies in official accounts are pointed to as proof of the conspiracy. On the other, any contrary evidence is dismissed as disinformation or coverup…and therefore further proof of the conspiracy. I have no doubt that the instant the Obama’s birth certificate was released, birthers across the internet were immediately proclaiming it a forgery, and taking it as evidence of how desperate the president is getting, now that their movement is exposing the truth.

    In this case, I would argue that the birthers are inadvertently helping Obama, as it’s all more or less preaching to the choir. Donald Trump is garnering support among the Republican base, but the Republican Party isn’t winning over any new voters this way.

  • Haystack

    Conspiracy theorists process information in ways that render their theories non-falsifiable ways. On one hand, any anomalies and inconsistencies in official accounts are pointed to as proof of the conspiracy. On the other, any contrary evidence is dismissed as disinformation or coverup…and therefore further proof of the conspiracy. I have no doubt that the instant the Obama’s birth certificate was released, birthers across the internet were immediately proclaiming it a forgery, and taking it as evidence of how desperate the president is getting, now that their movement is exposing the truth.

    In this case, I would argue that the birthers are inadvertently helping Obama, as it’s all more or less preaching to the choir. Donald Trump is garnering support among the Republican base, but the Republican Party isn’t winning over any new voters this way.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    They’re just so damn fun!!! C’mon…really…if you were part of a cool club that may seem silly to outsiders but fulfills your needs and allows you a sense of belonging and purpose…would you throw it away just because of a few pesky ole facts? Hell no!

    Gotta roll…if I sit still too long the government DARPA HAARP microwaves will make their way thru my tinfoil suit and block out the messages in my head that warn me of the evil impending from the Royals/alien/Jew/Negro/UN/gay/reptilian invasion.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    They’re just so damn fun!!! C’mon…really…if you were part of a cool club that may seem silly to outsiders but fulfills your needs and allows you a sense of belonging and purpose…would you throw it away just because of a few pesky ole facts? Hell no!

    Gotta roll…if I sit still too long the government DARPA HAARP microwaves will make their way thru my tinfoil suit and block out the messages in my head that warn me of the evil impending from the Royals/alien/Jew/Negro/UN/gay/reptilian invasion.

    • Hadrian999

      i have a buddy who is a big conspiracy guy,what I like to do is listen to a couple of alex jones shows and brows through ATS and create like a super chimera conspiracy to talk to him about and make him super paranoid

      • Anonymous

        well arent you a douchebag? you should be so proud. go drink some more tap water…you’re not quite dumb enough yet.

        • Hadrian999

          relax, have some fun

      • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

        Sometimes, when the fire of stupid is right in front of you…who can help the urge to throw some gasoline on it and just watch it burn :-)

      • $927230

        My favorite is Operation Blue Book (I think), where the governments of the world use tech to create a light show in the sky to give the illusion of an alien invasion, which in turn leads to a singular world religion (somehow, I forget the details) with which they will control us more easily. The best part is how it became a well know thing back in the 90s and people still think it’s real.

    • Tuna Ghost

      WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT THE ROYALS/ALIEN/JEW/NEGRO/UN/GAY/REPTILIAN INVASION, THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET GODDAMMIT YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY

  • Hadrian999

    i have a buddy who is a big conspiracy guy,what I like to do is listen to a couple of alex jones shows and brows through ATS and create like a super chimera conspiracy to talk to him about and make him super paranoid

  • Godozo

    Once you buy into a certain set of beliefs, it becomes hard to dislodge. That includes any set of beliefs, as buying into a set of beliefs requires a lot of mental effort and a literal creation of the world around you. Changing the beliefs means you’re admitting that what you knew about the world was wrong in MANY ways.

    Hence, it’s easier to further buy into the falsehood than to correct yourself…especially since you may end up buying (yet another) pile of lies, one that takes you further from the truth than you were before.

  • Godozo

    Once you buy into a certain set of beliefs, it becomes hard to dislodge. That includes any set of beliefs, as buying into a set of beliefs requires a lot of mental effort and a literal creation of the world around you. Changing the beliefs means you’re admitting that what you knew about the world was wrong in MANY ways.

    Hence, it’s easier to further buy into the falsehood than to correct yourself…especially since you may end up buying (yet another) pile of lies, one that takes you further from the truth than you were before.

  • nevertrusta3sum

    Ok Voxmagi, I’m going to troll here just based on a principal that you post on most everything and nobody ever says Shit about what you say… of course conspiracies are fun because… they have to be real in some cases or else the word wouldn’t even exist…. think about it bro!!!!! It is in human nature to conspire to get insider trading and make the most out of the all mighty $ that the world so efficaciously bows down to. any time two people decide to protest an idea whether enacted or not the ideology of conspiracy occurs. Your dark cloud of negative principalities is just an allusion to the possible negative ideology within our ever twisting sadistic multidimensional realm. You prey on weakness, you are weak yourself. You are a DISINFORMATION SHILL!! it is our nature to conspire, we revel in the fact. as well as you, humans love it. Time to pay the piper. Denial is irrelevant. You are easily a plague within hope, reevaluate your life.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      Actually…I get challenged here and elsewhere on a regular basis…usually when I vent some humor rather than making a thoughtful statement. (Confession–guilty as charged–sometimes I’m just in it for the lulz and my sarcasm gland and venom sacs are full to busting…so I gotta let it out or drown in my own poison.) Usually its familiar names that make me pause and weigh a thoughtful rational response…but you’ve thrown down the gauntlet…so heres my ACTUAL thoughts on the nature of Conspiracy Theories:

      You’re right about how a conspiracy begins. We all conspire daily in various tiny ways, but most of these are inconsequential and harmless, forgotten as fast that they begin. What marks the events that get characterized as lingering ‘theories’ is a sweeping scope and a level of secrecy that staggers the mind. A lot of very real conspiracies “hide in plain sight”…the really fantastic ones only linger because they are fantastic and can neither be proven or disproved. Much of what we lump in as organized conspiracy is just similarity of process. Example: Take two billionaire business gurus, give each them a similar situation to deal with, and similar choices that can be made. Even being from different school or nations, the likelihood is high that each, independent of the other, will make the same choices in their best financial interest. They aren’t in cahoots…they’re just wired by experience to make the same calls.

      Government, military, business…they all operate in their own way, develop patterns that have purpose and serve a need, then follow those patterns rigidly without even examining why. If you’re standing outside the matrix, it looks obscure, arcane, inexplicable and frightening. If you’re inside the organization, the logic behind decision making may be clearer (but that doesn’t make it ethical or right) and less mysterious.

      So what makes some conspiracies popular and lets others wither away and vanish? The ones that die off or aren’t widely held are usually so silly and so convoluted that elementary logic dictates a simpler answer than the one offered (ie Reptilians/Antarctic underground Atlantis etc). The others, the survivors, usually have unanswered questions at their heart and the questions have broad appeal and total legitimacy. (ie. Kennedy assassinations, MLK, Malcolm X, Reagan shooting are all highly public events people feel a direct connection to. Likewise 9/11.) Is there one perfect answer out there in all the noise that got every question right? Probably not…but what is agreed is that the answers about these events that were publicized were insufficient and sometimes full of contradiction and inaccuracy…so a conspiracy theory has a reason to exist…to keep the questions alive.

      One other thing kills a conspiracy theory…and thats the eventual confirmation of it and its arrival in the world of absolutes. No one seems to care that some of the conspiracies of the past are now the facts of the present (STD testing on black Americans/Nazi scientists hired by the US after WW2/CIA training assassins and torturers for brutal foreign dictatorships/CIA shipping heroin and coke and swapping weapons and cash with rogue states etc etc ad infinitum)…because the evidence finally emerged and people stopped caring about it because the magic of the forbidden secret was gone.

      And thats a shame…because heads should have rolled for most of the crimes that have been committed just over the last half century or so…but thanks to most folks lack of momentum and total disinterest…not even a mild wrist slapping in most cases. So forgive me if I over indulge my sense of humor…if it wasn’t for the pleasure of lampooning the ridiculous and skewering the insipid…any life in a world where injustice is a daily event would be very grim and sad indeed.

      • impressed

        “If you’re inside the organization, the logic behind decision making may be clearer (but that doesn’t make it ethical or right) and less mysterious.”

        Damn, you really said it all, but that was the topper for me. I couldn’t agree more.

        I sometimes run into stuff that looks something like: “If it wasn’t for the nazi-illuminati-freemason-zionist-new-world-order-fascist-socialists…. !!” It looks like people tend to take words that have sort of a “magical” meaning behind them and lump them all together because *they must* be _somehow_ connected. That “invisible enemy” is very appealing to many people. It gets on my nerves.

        Just had to get that out there.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        “time to pay the piper” man…..LOL

        Where DO that piper be?

    • Dhenry88

      read the first paragraph………..

  • nevertrusta3sum

    Ok Voxmagi, I’m going to troll here just based on a principal that you post on most everything and nobody ever says Shit about what you say… of course conspiracies are fun because… they have to be real in some cases or else the word wouldn’t even exist…. think about it bro!!!!! It is in human nature to conspire to get insider trading and make the most out of the all mighty $ that the world so efficaciously bows down to. any time two people decide to protest an idea whether enacted or not the ideology of conspiracy occurs. Your dark cloud of negative principalities is just an allusion to the possible negative ideology within our ever twisting sadistic multidimensional realm. You prey on weakness, you are weak yourself. You are a DISINFORMATION SHILL!! it is our nature to conspire, we revel in the fact. as well as you, humans love it. Time to pay the piper. Denial is irrelevant. You are easily a plague within hope, reevaluate your life.

  • emperorreagan

    There are tons of conspiracies, as the disclaimer.

    It’s just unlikely that the government is hiding reptilian aliens who helped them build death rays in Alaska which caused magic contrails which caused the earthquake in Japan because they missed China.

    There are many blatant conspiracies: the US government testing STDs on black americans, then on citizens of client states to the south. Training Latin & South American soldiers (soldiers to be used for torture, murder, kidnappings, etc) for dictators at the School of the Americas. Propping up dictators, overthrowing elected governments across the world. There’s blatant conspiracies across all of the big multi-nationals, in particular in the finance industry.

  • emperorreagan

    There are tons of conspiracies, as the disclaimer.

    It’s just unlikely that the government is hiding reptilian aliens who helped them build death rays in Alaska which caused magic contrails which caused the earthquake in Japan because they missed China.

    There are many blatant conspiracies: the US government testing STDs on black americans, then on citizens of client states to the south. Training Latin & South American soldiers (soldiers to be used for torture, murder, kidnappings, etc) for dictators at the School of the Americas. Propping up dictators, overthrowing elected governments across the world. There’s blatant conspiracies across all of the big multi-nationals, in particular in the finance industry.

  • jelyfish

    Actually go download Obama’s birth certificate from whitehouse.gov and zoom in a couple times. The problems are self evident and obvious. The problem is that you’re not willing to look. That is the problem….

    • Andrew

      No, the problem is that you’re looking for errors when there’s no reason the certificate would be forged in the first place.

      • Anonymous

        Andrew…how old are you? There are a multitude of reasons why Obama DID hide it, and why “they” let him. Look into that before you make ignorant uninformed blanket statements that make you look blind. Why did Obama spend millions to hide it? Why did it take this long to provide it? It’s not just a matter of whether or not he was born here. It’s so obviously a forged document. Why they released it now is another mystery. Maybe Obama doesn’t want a second term???? hmmmm And just because “conspiracy theorists” ask questions about this birth certificate does not mean we have been distracted. Nor does it mean that the Government isn’t conspiring against us. I’m truly disappointed in this post from Disinformation today.

        • Andrew

          The document only looks “obviously” forged to you because you’re looking at it through the Birther reality-tunnel. And Obama didn’t spend millions to hide the certificate. He’s spent millions in legal fees for various reasons, and I haven’t seen evidence that any of it was spent on suppressing the certificate.

        • Notimpressed

          “And just because “conspiracy theorists” ask questions about this birth certificate does not mean we have been distracted”

          If you haven’t been distracted, then why do you care? Why? What does it matter? Even if it is proven Obama was not born here, what other “theory” will you move onto next? That someone put him here? Really? Even if Obama was not born in this country and someone put him here, what does that prove? Nothing and it doesn’t mean crap. Does it somehow make it easier for you personally if you can point the blame at the right person? I just don’t get it.

      • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

        Three words dude: Kenyan Reptilian Sleeper

        look into it ;-)

  • jelyfish

    Actually go download Obama’s birth certificate from whitehouse.gov and zoom in a couple times. The problems are self evident and obvious. The problem is that you’re not willing to look. That is the problem….

  • smith john

    That long form birth certificate is just a piece of paper, and could be easily forged, it happens all the time. I think the whole argument about whether he was born here is neither here or there. There’s so much illegal crap being perpetrated on the American taxpayers. That is what we should be worrying about. We can vote him out of office in a short time. It will take much longer to get to the bottom of my questions. Such as why no one was prosecuted for the financial collapse, or even fired, and what happened to the gold that was under the world trade center in a vault. There’s many more, but I’m tired of typing.

  • smith john

    That long form birth certificate is just a piece of paper, and could be easily forged, it happens all the time. I think the whole argument about whether he was born here is neither here or there. There’s so much illegal crap being perpetrated on the American taxpayers. That is what we should be worrying about. We can vote him out of office in a short time. It will take much longer to get to the bottom of my questions. Such as why no one was prosecuted for the financial collapse, or even fired, and what happened to the gold that was under the world trade center in a vault. There’s many more, but I’m tired of typing.

  • Andrew

    No, the problem is that you’re looking for errors when there’s no reason the certificate would be forged in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    Andrew…how old are you? There are a multitude of reasons why Obama DID hide it, and why “they” let him. Look into that before you make ignorant uninformed blanket statements that make you look blind. Why did Obama spend millions to hide it? Why did it take this long to provide it? It’s not just a matter of whether or not he was born here. It’s so obviously a forged document. Why they released it now is another mystery. Maybe Obama doesn’t want a second term???? hmmmm And just because “conspiracy theorists” ask questions about this birth certificate does not mean we have been distracted. Nor does it mean that the Government isn’t conspiring against us. I’m truly disappointed in this post from Disinformation today.

  • Anonymous

    well arent you a douchebag? you should be so proud. go drink some more tap water…you’re not quite dumb enough yet.

  • Anonymous

    “By posting this article I do not mean to advocate the mainstream view that conspiracies are impossible. Both evidence and logic suggest to me that not only do some exist, but most are small and banal, and thus common.” You negated your first sentence with your second sentence. Why are you posting this at all?

    • Andrew

      Read those sentences more closely. They do not contradict at all.

  • Anonymous

    “By posting this article I do not mean to advocate the mainstream view that conspiracies are impossible. Both evidence and logic suggest to me that not only do some exist, but most are small and banal, and thus common.” You negated your first sentence with your second sentence. Why are you posting this at all?

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Actually…I get challenged here and elsewhere on a regular basis…usually when I vent some humor rather than making a thoughtful statement. (Confession–guilty as charged–sometimes I’m just in it for the lulz and my sarcasm gland and venom sacs are full to busting…so I gotta let it out or drown in my own poison.) Usually its familiar names that make me pause and weigh a thoughtful rational response…but you’ve thrown down the gauntlet…so heres my ACTUAL thoughts on the nature of Conspiracy Theories:

    You’re right about how a conspiracy begins. We all conspire daily in various tiny ways, but most of these are inconsequential and harmless, forgotten as fast that they begin. What marks the events that get characterized as lingering ‘theories’ is a sweeping scope and a level of secrecy that staggers the mind. A lot of very real conspiracies “hide in plain sight”…the really fantastic ones only linger because they are fantastic and can neither be proven or disproved. Much of what we lump in as organized conspiracy is just similarity of process. Example: Take two billionaire business gurus, give each them a similar situation to deal with, and similar choices that can be made. Even being from different school or nations, the likelihood is high that each, independent of the other, will make the same choices in their best financial interest. They aren’t in cahoots…they’re just wired by experience to make the same calls.

    Government, military, business…they all operate in their own way, develop patterns that have purpose and serve a need, then follow those patterns rigidly without even examining why. If you’re standing outside the matrix, it looks obscure, arcane, inexplicable and frightening. If you’re inside the organization, the logic behind decision making may be clearer (but that doesn’t make it ethical or right) and less mysterious.

    So what makes some conspiracies popular and lets others wither away and vanish? The ones that die off or aren’t widely held are usually so silly and so convoluted that elementary logic dictates a simpler answer than the one offered (ie Reptilians/Antarctic underground Atlantis etc). The others, the survivors, usually have unanswered questions at their heart and the questions have broad appeal and total legitimacy. (ie. Kennedy assassinations, MLK, Malcolm X, Reagan shooting are all highly public events people feel a direct connection to. Likewise 9/11.) Is there one perfect answer out there in all the noise that got every question right? Probably not…but what is agreed is that the answers about these events that were publicized were insufficient and sometimes full of contradiction and inaccuracy…so a conspiracy theory has a reason to exist…to keep the questions alive.

    One other thing kills a conspiracy theory…and thats the eventual confirmation of it and its arrival in the world of absolutes. No one seems to care that some of the conspiracies of the past are now the facts of the present (STD testing on black Americans/Nazi scientists hired by the US after WW2/CIA training assassins and torturers for brutal foreign dictatorships/CIA shipping heroin and coke and swapping weapons and cash with rogue states etc etc ad infinitum)…because the evidence finally emerged and people stopped caring about it because the magic of the forbidden secret was gone.

    And thats a shame…because heads should have rolled for most of the crimes that have been committed just over the last half century or so…but thanks to most folks lack of momentum and total disinterest…not even a mild wrist slapping in most cases. So forgive me if I over indulge my sense of humor…if it wasn’t for the pleasure of lampooning the ridiculous and skewering the insipid…any life in a world where injustice is a daily event would be very grim and sad indeed.

  • Hadrian999

    relax, have some fun

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Three words dude: Kenyan Reptilian Sleeper

    look into it ;-)

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Sometimes, when the fire of stupid is right in front of you…who can help the urge to throw some gasoline on it and just watch it burn :-)

  • Andrew

    The document only looks “obviously” forged to you because you’re looking at it through the Birther reality-tunnel. And Obama didn’t spend millions to hide the certificate. He’s spent millions in legal fees for various reasons, and I haven’t seen evidence that any of it was spent on suppressing the certificate.

  • Andrew

    Read those sentences more closely. They do not contradict at all.

  • Anonymous_Reader

    Who cares where the current occupant of the White House was born? Who cares if his father might have really been Frank Marshall Davis (there is a closer resemblance)? These are distractions, part of the entertainment factor in politics. These things are meant to distract us from the bigger picture, like a terminal war-based economy and creeping fascism that hasn’t let up simply because we have a new set of puppets in Washington. The biggest “conspiracy theory” that nobody notices is that we are like frogs in water on the stove. The heat is turned up very slowly, so we don’t have the sense to jump out before we are boiled.

  • Anonymous

    Who cares where the current occupant of the White House was born? Who cares if his father might have really been Frank Marshall Davis (there is a closer resemblance)? These are distractions, part of the entertainment factor in politics. These things are meant to distract us from the bigger picture, like a terminal war-based economy and creeping fascism that hasn’t let up simply because we have a new set of puppets in Washington. The biggest “conspiracy theory” that nobody notices is that we are like frogs in water on the stove. The heat is turned up very slowly, so we don’t have the sense to jump out before we are boiled.

  • impressed

    “If you’re inside the organization, the logic behind decision making may be clearer (but that doesn’t make it ethical or right) and less mysterious.”

    Damn, you really said it all, but that was the topper for me. I couldn’t agree more.

    I sometimes run into stuff that looks something like: “If it wasn’t for the nazi-illuminati-freemason-zionist-new-world-order-fascist-socialists…. !!” It looks like people tend to take words that have sort of a “magical” meaning behind them and lump them all together because *they must* be _somehow_ connected. That “invisible enemy” is very appealing to many people. It gets on my nerves.

    Just had to get that out there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-Huntington/659114590 Jeffrey Huntington

    The oddest part of all this is if we found out at a very late stage of life that we were actually born at the first hour of our existence on some other property other than we thought, would we decide to feel like a fraud in life and think we need to step down – of course not! This is so much nonsense and we only have our media to thank for their poisoning of our minds about our president.

    • George

      So, in other words, if Obama thought he was born in the States all along and just found out he wasn’t, then he should just resume and never give up? Yeah, that’s probably where it will go, I guess, once the argument over the birth certificate itself gets old. See, the conspiracy is evolving already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-Huntington/659114590 Jeffrey Huntington

    The oddest part of all this is if we found out at a very late stage of life that we were actually born at the first hour of our existence on some other property other than we thought, would we decide to feel like a fraud in life and think we need to step down – of course not! This is so much nonsense and we only have our media to thank for their poisoning of our minds about our president.

  • Notimpressed

    “And just because “conspiracy theorists” ask questions about this birth certificate does not mean we have been distracted”

    If you haven’t been distracted, then why do you care? Why? What does it matter? Even if it is proven Obama was not born here, what other “theory” will you move onto next? That someone put him here? Really? Even if Obama was not born in this country and someone put him here, what does that prove? Nothing and it doesn’t mean crap. Does it somehow make it easier for you personally if you can point the blame at the right person? I just don’t get it.

  • George
  • George

    So, in other words, if Obama thought he was born in the States all along and just found out he wasn’t, then he should just resume and never give up? Yeah, that’s probably where it will go, I guess, once the argument over the birth certificate itself gets old. See, the conspiracy is evolving already.

  • bretjt

    CNN is BS

  • bretjt

    CNN is BS

  • 5by5

    The truth of the gov’t and corporate America’s general dipshittery is what makes people believe in the likelihood that conspiracy theories are true.

    Governments and certainly corporations DO hide things. They do “conspire” to keep things hidden from the general public, and often they are conspiring to simply cover up their own screw-ups or sociopathy.

    But it is also true that not all conspiracy theories are created equal. Do we have all the information we need about 9/11? Not even remotely. It is an unquestionable truth that certain gov’t officials openly exploited that tragedy to increase their own power? Without doubt. Does that mean that space lasers fired by a secret reptilian cabal were actually what destroyed the Twin Towers? Gimme a break.

    The problem is, the corporate media makes the jump from “we don’t have all the info” to “alien space lasers” without ever asking any of the VALID and far more rational questions in between.

    And on an issue like this birther nonsense, the origin of the “conspiracy theory” itself needs to be understood before you can evaluate it. It’s clearly tied to a belief by many White Americans that Black America still isn’t FULLY American. That “they” are still the “other”. And the entire thing is merely a manifestation of that.

    Corrective information that is objectively verifiable has long been provided. But the reason why this persists is that the birth certificate was never what this was about in the first place.

    A true conspiracy theorist is actually interested in the evidence, and accepts it when it is validated.

    The problem is that some will try to equate this kind of birther irrationality, with the far more reasonable questions about the events of 9/11, or the 2000 &2004 election frauds, or other “magic bullet events”, which HAVEN’T been properly reviewed, or validated.

    And of course there are other completely real examples of gov’t/corporate conspiratorial malfeasance to point to – everything from Operation Northwoods, to the gov’t pumping disease into the NYC subway in the 60’s to see where the sicknesses would pop up first based upon emergency room reports after the fact, to LSD experiments done without the patient’s consent, to Dr. Don Cameron’s creepy memory-wiping experiments for the CIA (for which they’ve had to pay restitution), to Vioxx, cancer-causing agents injected into our milk at the urging of Monsanto, to the chromium 6 poisoning of Hinkley residents, to the syphilis experiments on blacks — so as I said, the simple fact that something is a conspiracy theory doesn’t mean it is not possible. It just means that it must be objectively, dispassionately evaluated.

    However, what the corporate media typically offers is a knee-jerk “laugh at the freaks” reaction, when instead, they should go into investigative journalist mode the way that a Gary Webb or Jane Akre did. And if you find (as in the birther case) that there’s nothing to it but overt racism – have the guts to say so. But if you find that there are giant gaping holes in the govt’s “conspiracy theory” about 9/11, have the guts to report that too.

  • 5by5

    The truth of the gov’t and corporate America’s general dipshittery is what makes people believe in the likelihood that conspiracy theories are true.

    Governments and certainly corporations DO hide things. They do “conspire” to keep things hidden from the general public, and often they are conspiring to simply cover up their own screw-ups or sociopathy.

    But it is also true that not all conspiracy theories are created equal. Do we have all the information we need about 9/11? Not even remotely. It is an unquestionable truth that certain gov’t officials openly exploited that tragedy to increase their own power? Without doubt. Does that mean that space lasers fired by a secret reptilian cabal were actually what destroyed the Twin Towers? Gimme a break.

    The problem is, the corporate media makes the jump from “we don’t have all the info” to “alien space lasers” without ever asking any of the VALID and far more rational questions in between.

    And on an issue like this birther nonsense, the origin of the “conspiracy theory” itself needs to be understood before you can evaluate it. It’s clearly tied to a belief by many White Americans that Black America still isn’t FULLY American. That “they” are still the “other”. And the entire thing is merely a manifestation of that.

    Corrective information that is objectively verifiable has long been provided. But the reason why this persists is that the birth certificate was never what this was about in the first place.

    A true conspiracy theorist is actually interested in the evidence, and accepts it when it is validated.

    The problem is that some will try to equate this kind of birther irrationality, with the far more reasonable questions about the events of 9/11, or the 2000 &2004 election frauds, or other “magic bullet events”, which HAVEN’T been properly reviewed, or validated.

    And of course there are other completely real examples of gov’t/corporate conspiratorial malfeasance to point to – everything from Operation Northwoods, to the gov’t pumping disease into the NYC subway in the 60’s to see where the sicknesses would pop up first based upon emergency room reports after the fact, to LSD experiments done without the patient’s consent, to Dr. Don Cameron’s creepy memory-wiping experiments for the CIA (for which they’ve had to pay restitution), to Vioxx, cancer-causing agents injected into our milk at the urging of Monsanto, to the chromium 6 poisoning of Hinkley residents, to the syphilis experiments on blacks — so as I said, the simple fact that something is a conspiracy theory doesn’t mean it is not possible. It just means that it must be objectively, dispassionately evaluated.

    However, what the corporate media typically offers is a knee-jerk “laugh at the freaks” reaction, when instead, they should go into investigative journalist mode the way that a Gary Webb or Jane Akre did. And if you find (as in the birther case) that there’s nothing to it but overt racism – have the guts to say so. But if you find that there are giant gaping holes in the govt’s “conspiracy theory” about 9/11, have the guts to report that too.

  • Anonymous

    “time to pay the piper” man…..LOL

    Where DO that piper be?

  • $927230

    Building 7? I’m no scientist or engineer, but they tend to be smart people.

    • ArgosyJones

      and almost a quarter of a percent of them have signed a petition after Richard Gage gave them a one-sided presentation and bought them lunch. WooHoo!

  • Anonymous

    Building 7? I’m no scientist or engineer, but they tend to be smart people.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite is Operation Blue Book (I think), where the governments of the world use tech to create a light show in the sky to give the illusion of an alien invasion, which in turn leads to a singular world religion (somehow, I forget the details) with which they will control us more easily. The best part is how it became a well know thing back in the 90s and people still think it’s real.

  • ArgosyJones

    and almost a quarter of a percent of them have signed a petition after Richard Gage gave them a one-sided presentation and bought them lunch. WooHoo!

  • Tuna Ghost

    WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT THE ROYALS/ALIEN/JEW/NEGRO/UN/GAY/REPTILIAN INVASION, THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET GODDAMMIT YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY

  • Dhenry88

    read the first paragraph………..

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