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2020: The Year of Conspiracies

“If the purpose of the news is to deliver facts, are conspiracy theories even worth mentioning?”

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The world is flat, the deep state, pedophiles, cannibals, terrorists, how the hell did we get here?
In a year marked by the unprecedented, several major news outlets have found themselves
having to dedicate time to conspiracy theories and debunking them. They’re wild, disturbing,
distracting, meant to draw attention away from whatever was on your mind previously. In lieu of
reporting relevant information, it has become necessary, even essential to address these
theories. What is the role of news media in this era?

Over the past few months, for every headline, a conspiracy comes with it. The wildfires, the
COVID pandemic, nationwide protests, there seems to be a conspiracy behind everything and
outlets are trying to keep up. The rate of dissemination of these conspiracies has not slowed
despite the efforts of the news media to dispel them.

It doesn’t help that the White House parrots these theories on Fox News. It’s no secret that the
president supports the network and often uses it as a platform to promote himself and his party.
When a major news network allows people to make unsubstantiated claims you know there’s
trouble ahead.

If the purpose of the news is to deliver facts, are these conspiracy theories even worth
mentioning?

One of the conspiracies mentioned in an article by CNN is linked to Q-Anon, a theory of chain of
theories that poses the existence of a “Deep State” that is run by celebrities and politicians who
worship satan, drink blood, and are involved in a child sex-trafficking ring. The conspiracy paints
Trump as an outsider whose actions are part of an effort to defeat the blood-drinking
pedophiles.

Woah.

Most of you reading this are probably thinking, “how could anyone believe this crap?” and
indeed most people don’t, but the bits and pieces that people do believe leave us scratching our
heads. Where does this come from and why does the right find it so attractive?

People are problem-solving machines. When something in the world doesn’t make sense to
them they seek an explanation. 2020 defies logic and explanation. People are scared. They’re
experiencing job and food insecurity, protests are happening in every major city. They’ve had
the rug pulled out from under them, so it makes sense that the most vulnerable amongst us will
turn to whatever crazy theory they can find to explain what we’re going through.

The common thread here is that these conspiracies, rather than facts, rely on emotion. Conspiracy theories validate ideas that people feel are true but haven’t seen any evidence to support them, visceral fears about the unknown. Fears about the things normal people don’t understand. Q-Anon gives a voice to these fears.

Publications like Forbes and USA Today, politically neutral in their reporting, have published
articles that discuss Q-Anon and the people who believe in it. The rate of dissemination of these
conspiracies has hastened thanks to social media. Is there any way to combat this plague? The
way the news reports on these theories might be doing more harm than good.

One of the central drivers to these conspiracies is that mainstream news media cannot be
trusted, hence they are involved in the cover-up and will therefore dismiss theories related to
Q-Anon as untrue. Believers instead turn to Facebook and Youtube to get their “truth”. Mark
Zuckerberg resisting calls to regulate and slow the spread of misinformation on his platform, is
just as guilty as the ones who spread it.

“Experts who follow disinformation say nothing will change until Facebook and YouTube shift
their business model away from the algorithms that reward conspiracies.” (Time Magazine)
We can’t rely on the government to put pressure on social media companies when the president
refers to these conspiracy theorists as “people who love their country”. To discern what’s real,
average citizens will have to count on themselves.

There are some signs that the effects of conspiracy theories are bleeding into real life. As the
wildfires spread in Oregon theories about how they started to spread too. The Jackson County
Oregon sheriff’s department has had to pushback against claims that the wildfires were started
by Antifa arsonists and that a number of them were in custody. Local officials have had to plead
that the public refer to official channels for updates on the wildfires.

In Spokane Washington, a reporter named Daniel Walters tried to get to the bottom of why state
representative Jenny Graham posted on her social media links to articles claiming that missing
children were being kept in dungeons by demons. When he asked this representative about
them he was bombarded with expletive-filled messages. Even though Mr. Walters checked up
on his sources and kept his journalistic integrity, he was met with backlash.

It’s one thing for private citizens to spread false information to their friends and family, elected
officials however have a much broader audience and should be held to a higher standard.
Democracy cannot succeed without an informed electorate. If this problem can’t be solved by
good reporting and government oversight what can we do?

Fortunately, the popularity of Q-Anon is still on the fringes, most Americans haven’t even heard
of it.

“But despite QAnon’s spread, about three-quarters of U.S. adults (76%) say they have heard or
read nothing at all about it, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February
and March. Around a quarter (23%) say they have heard or read a lot or a little, with 3% saying
they’ve heard or read a lot. The data was gathered as part of the Center’s Election News
Pathways project.” (pewresearch.org)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver offered some helpful suggestions; look to voices people
trust, dig deeper to find the sources of information spread on Facebook, and use common
sense. These theorists live in a “non-reality” and will refute any factual argument, actually talking
to these people, their evidence for these beliefs are flimsy at best. They act evasively with
comments like “do your research” or “look it up”.

As a writer myself, I rely on the suspension of disbelief. To immerse the reader into the world of
a story, we insert a bit of reality into the world so part of it remains grounded. The force, magic,
superheroes, the point is not to take these things literally, they add a bit of fantasy and wonder
to keep your attention while the writers get their point of view across.

Not only is “Q” a bad writer, but their methods are completely unethical. Using deceptive tactics,
headlines, fonts, videos, photoshop, deep-fakes, and devices used to make fake things look
real, they prey on people who can’t tell the difference. Q whoever they are wants to divide us.
They want us at each other’s throats for views, likes, and worst of all profit.

News media shouldn’t be based on emotion, but perhaps news outlets should display how facts
are a benefit to humanity. Facts are what connect us. Without provable, universal facts the
world would look very different. We still use calculations a thousand years old to reach
breakthroughs in science today. Archimedes, Pythagoras, Copernicus despite the popular
beliefs of the times they lived, produced methods and equations that let humanity reach the
stars.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Johnson

    September 29, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    You make very valid points here, Kyle. The truth is that many trusted media outlets have allowed themselves to be played. Your suggestion to stick to facts and not give voice to wild conspiracy theories is one that would be very worth their consideration.

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BNM Writers

‘Chicks On The Right’ Critical of Biden, Inauguration, Calls For Unity

The Chicks on the Right weren’t pleased with Chris Wallace praising President Biden’s inaugural address, and pushed far right theories that Biden is mentally ill and a figurehead for others to run the country.

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Newly inaugurated president Joe Biden called for unity during his inaugural address and some members of the conservative media have adopted a more conciliatory tone toward the new administration.  Others have yet to get the message. Such is the case for Chicks on the Right. Amy Jo Clark and Miriam Weaver, who are also known by the pseudonyms “Daisy” and “Mockarena”, posted a vlog late Thursday night sharing their reactions to the inauguration. In the nearly 30 minute vlog, they leveled criticism toward Fox News’ Chris Wallace for praising President Biden’s inaugural address, while also pushing far right theories that Biden is mentally ill and is a figurehead for others to run the country.

Before launching into criticism, however, The Chicks did take time to praise one aspect of Inauguration Day: The music.

“I have to say it (the music) was really good,” Weaver said. “Dave Ghrol was fantastic. John Legend, I loathe him because he is such a Commie, but he sang I’m Feeling Good, probably the best I have ever heard it.”

That’s where the praise ended though, as the duo were critical of everything else from security to President Biden signing Executive Orders on his first day in office and all points in between.

“It had a very Soviet feel to it with all the barbed wire fences,” Clark said. “Welcome to the Gulag…. His speech was very telapromter-y. He did not even know what he was saying and then Chris Wallace saying it was the most amazing speech he had ever heard was absolutely ridiculous. It was nothing but canned bullcrap.”

Weaver took issue with the way in which Mr. Biden signed the Executive Orders.

“He had little index cards to prompt him what to say before he signed each one of the 17 orders,” Weaver said. “The press was allowed to be there for the first three and he could not complete a coherent sentence. After the third one when he was really losing it, it looked like he did not know where he was, they were literally shoving the press out the door. The people in charge knew he was fading fast.”

“The guy is so freaking old,” Clark said of the 78 year old Biden. “It looked like he needed a nap and some Geritol. They were propping him up all day which is a microcosm of his presidency. He is going to be steamrolled through the next four years, if he even makes it that long. He is not the real leader of the country. The real leaders are the A.O.C.’s (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). They will say he is in charge, but he is not in charge. He has no freaking clue what he is doing. This country is being run by a bunch of Socialists.”

Throughout the rest of the vlog, The Chicks touched on several talking points and conspiracy theories that are popular among the ALT-Right, including that China “unleashed” the corona virus on the rest of the world while comparing Mr. Biden’s call for unity to an abusive relationship.

“The Democrats have battered us for four years,” Clark said. “And now they are like, ‘Come on baby. Let’s get back together’. Heck no! I’m packing my crap and moving in with Mom.”

In addition to vlogs and other posts on their website, Chicks on the Right have a radio program that airs from 9 a.m. until 11a.m. on Indianapolis’ 93 WIBC.

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BNM Writers

Bill Spadea: People Have Forgotten How Important Martin Luther King Jr. Was

“Spadea said that one of the main reasons people don’t realize that race relations are improving in the United States is due to media coverage.”

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Local radio hosts from across the nation spent Monday honoring and reflecting on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Bill Spadea, host of New Jersey 101.5’s AM Drive Time was no different, but he offered an interesting thought during his opening monologue. Spadea says that thanks to Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders, race relations in the United States have improved in spite of media depictions to the contrary.

 “I think people have forgotten how important Martin Luther King Jr., and what he did, was,” Spadea said. “I’m glad most people get the day off of work, but I am afraid that is all it has become for a lot of people.”

Spadea followed by explaining Dr. King’s role in ending the “Separate But Equal” precedent that was established by the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court casein 1896. That legal doctrine remained prevalent through Jim Crow Laws until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, in which Dr. King was a central figure.

“I think as time has passed, people have forgotten how evil Separate But Equal really was,” Spadea said. “People were discriminated against just because of their skin color, gender or sex. We have come so far. People just don’t recognize it.”

Spadea says that one of the main reasons people don’t realize that race relations are improving in the United States is due to media coverage.

”All we have seen and heard over these past months are pictures and reports of riots and destruction,” Spadea said. “If that’s all we see, people will think that things have not improved, but we have come so far. We are in a much better place than we used to be.”

After his monologue, Spadea took calls from listeners who shared their opinions on race relations, mask mandates and other news topics of the day.

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BNM Writers

The Shifting Media Spotlight

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs had an insightful conversation Friday with Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. The two recapped the lasting achievements of Donald Trump’s administration, the media’s deceptive coverage of his Presidency and journalism’s once-revered role as our nation’s watch dogs.

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2021 brings a new focus for the media, as frustration and anger linger across the country relating to journalism’s role in the rancor and discord enveloping American life over the past couple decades. 

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs had an insightful conversation Friday with Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. The two recapped the lasting achievements of Donald Trump’s administration, the media’s deceptive coverage of his Presidency and journalism’s once-revered role as our nation’s watch dogs.

“The President again is being fraudulently impeached by the Dems, and there is not even a whisper of dissent or opposition to that in the national left-wing media,” Dobbs said, also pointing out the recent attacks on Jeffress by some members of the Republican establishment. 

“Lou, this is something we’re going to see more and more over these next four years,” Jeffress began. “That’s an attempt to shame people like you and me who strongly support this President, and to repenting of our support of him. Well I’ll guaran-dang-tee you I’m not repenting of anything, certainly not my support of this great President.”  

Jeffress told USA Today this week that he had no regrets in supporting Donald Trump. None whatsoever.

“I told him this week that I believe he is the greatest President of my lifetime, and he will go down as the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty President in American history,” Jeffress added. “Nothing anyone says is going to change that. Lou, he’s leaving office next week with his legacy intact.” 

Dobbs, who has for four years pointed out nonstop media deception relating to  President Trump’s accomplishments, went further to recap the incessant attacks on the 45th President of the United States.

“It’s an extraordinary legacy all the more because of the efforts of the radical Dems, the deep state, from the beginning almost of his candidacy for the office – they tried to deny him – and then their efforts to overthrow him and block his agenda throughout. He accomplished more than any President in the first three years of his term. His four years in office are remarkable in achievement, all the more so because of the naked, corrupt opposition of the radical Left and the deep state,” Dobbs said.

Jeffress, an early and consistent supporter of candidate and then President Trump, added that the President knew what he was in for, as the entire establishment swamp of both parties was not simply going to sit back and allow him to disrupt the normal way of doing things in Washington.

“I remember sitting in the oval office and telling him ‘Mr. President, you have an axis of evil that is going to conspire to take you down. Not only the media and the Democrats, but the establishment Republicans,’” he recalls telling Trump. “And that proved to be true. They conspired together but they couldn’t stop his tremendous achievements in spite of all of those headwinds. I am grateful, eternally grateful, for what he has done for our nation, even though he’s leaving office for now. His legacy will endure.”

The news over the weekend was how Dobbs summed up the conversation in his synopsis of the non-stop attacks from the left and the media, designed to take down Trump politically and personally.

“It is the most vile, venomous assault ever conducted against a President in our country’s history,” Dobbs pointed out. “Short of the assasignation of Abraham Lincoln. This is a nation that cannot heal, that cannot come together, until we understand the truth and reality of what we have witnessed over the course of the past four years of this man’s presidency.”

“We’re going to depend upon you over these next four years to point out what is going on – the darkness, the lies that we’re going to see,” Jeffress implored Dobbs. “Yes, we need to pray for our new president, president Biden. The Bible says we need to pray for all of our leaders. But we also need to be ready to push back against the unGodly policies that are sure to come. These are days for God’s people to stand up and be courageous like never before.”

If recent history is any indication, both Dobbs and Jeffress will remain standing strongly on the front lines, illuminating the truth, as the next chapter of our nation’s history unfolds.

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