Conservative conspiracy theories seem funny or ridiculous because of how half-baked and preposterous they often sound. But there’s something much darker beneath the surface of the seemingly thoughtless conspiracy theories being perpetuated by Conservatives and extreme Right media.
Recently, Michael Davis, the Vice Chairman of the GOP in Cobb Co., shared a video that claims that the Parkland school shooting was fake and that students were rehearsed actors. Infowars has called it a “peculiar coincidence” that one of the students who is now speaking out about the shooting, has a father that used to work for the FBI.
A Florida legislator’s aide claimed two survivors who spoke on CNN were “actors that travel to various crises when they happen.” Former Ga. Congressman Jack Kingston accused leftist gun control groups of “hijacking” the students’ sorrow and helping them plan anti-gun rallies.
These ideas began on fringe Right-wing media outlets but were then magnified by bigger voices in the GOP.
The President of the United States’ son Donald Trump Jr. liked some of the tweets.
The podcast The Best of the Left made a recent compilation episode discussing the rise of alt-Right groups around the world. One commonality in the rise in various extreme Right groups all over the world, including the rise of Nazism, is the use of propaganda and misinformation. The goal isn’t to make people believe all conspiracy theories, but to make people question all information. We’ve seen this questioning in the rise of “fake news” allegations from both sides.
We need to call out conservative conspiracy theories for the deliberate misinformation campaigns and power-grab attempts they are.
They’re dangerous because they give conservatives enough of a reason to say they “can’t know for sure” which becomes an excuse not to create policy changes that might actually prevent the next school shooting.
The more these theories are legitimized by officials and by people with audiences, the more people have an excuse to believe what feels good to them, instead of what is what factual.
The rise of misinformation and fake news is a step down a dangerous road. We need to hold people like Michael Davis accountable to the truth and call them out for purposely ignoring facts.