Rachel Maddow addresses Boston CT proponents

Drew

Active Member
Not sure if any of you caught this, but Rachel Maddow spent the first 20 minutes of her show tonight addressing the Boston CT theories, CT generally, and then hosted anti-"Truther" advocate Alice Hoagland as her guest. I'm not posting it because I agree with her argument specifically, but because it's dealing directly with CT.

[video]http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26315908/#51653479[/video] (feel free to fix this for a proper video embed)

She draws attention to the nexus of conspiracy theory, far right paranoia, anti-Muslim sentiment, and political polarization in a fairly articulate way. I suspect not everyone here is a Maddow fan — not really sure I am either, although in this case I found her to be on point.

I've transcribed her remarks at 10:05:

It's good to see the importance of debunking and ramifications of CT misinformation addressed to a popular audience.

Aside: I cannot recommend enough the BBC's "9/11: Conspiracy Road Trip," the documentary shown in which Alice Hoagland appears.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
What gets me with the CTers is that they take something with a simple, obvious cause and then complicate it with elaborate plots that are often so complex that no publisher would accept a book with that as a plot.

Take the fertilizer explosion in TX. It keeps getting referred to as a 'plant'. They did not MAKE fertilizer there, they sold it and they sold other agricultural chemical and seeds. I saw a post on FB earlier where the claim was that 'the government used a missile to blow it up, because of a suit between Monsanto and that company and it was done to protect the 'Monsanto Protection Act."
 

Drew

Active Member
What gets me with the CTers is that they take something with a simple, obvious cause and then complicate it with elaborate plots that are often so complex that no publisher would accept a book with that as a plot.
Well, conspiracy theories serve multiple purposes and appeal to different sets of people for different reasons. One would be that they are psychologically consoling and empowering in their way, that it's much easier to assign blame for tragedies and frustrations to sinister dark forces than it is to admit that the world we live in and the people in it are largely random, chaotic, and unpredictable. Another related psychological component is a style of prophetic narcissism that is also empowering, "I/We have special information and know things that the rest of you are too stupid or complacent or manipulated to realize. I/We am/are special."

But the most worrying (from my perspective) employment of CT (which Maddow touches on) is how it can be an instrument used to demonize political opponents, to reinforce prejudices, to mobilize activists, to radicalize political sentiments, and to deepen differences and suspicions between the "us" and the "them," all based on bad information, unproven hypotheses, and selective exposure to facts and opinions. This is where I think the social costs of CT are highest. In order for it to function, our society requires a certain basic amount of trust, both shared among its different members and in its institutions. CTs are corrosive to this. And this is no small problem.
 

BCP

Banned
Banned
Cairenn said:
"Take the fertilizer explosion in TX. It keeps getting referred to as a 'plant'. They did not MAKE fertilizer there, they sold it and they sold other agricultural chemical and seeds. I saw a post on FB earlier where the claim was that 'the government used a missile to blow it up, because of a suit between Monsanto and that company and it was done to protect the 'Monsanto Protection Act."
(Sorry, using Forum Runner on iPhone)

I saw a video posted by a reader on RT Faceboo last week claiming it was a drone strike. I posted it to https://m.facebook.com/ILLuminutti?id=436922083006220&_rdrIlluminutti Facebook . I just had a search for it on YouTube and there are now dozens more including the video camera filming inches away from the television style. They have one theory and more will blindly follow suit until it becomes a tangled mess.

Have you ever read this post from http://theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com/The Age of Blasphemy?

http://theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/search-engines-vs-conspiracy-theorists/Search Engines Vs Conspiracy Theorists?

It sums CT's up perfectly.
 

Drew

Active Member
I have to say that I think this is great. Maddow is being glib and partisan, but there's something to be said for what she's doing, linking this brand of conspiracy theory with the right's political cultivation and popularization of the paranoid style of rhetoric.

I'm all for metabunk's ethic of civility and politeness. It works for us here. But I'm also 100% in favor of using bare social opprobrium against conspiracists. There are clearly some CT folk who can't be persuaded by reason, so perhaps we could at least make them feel unfashionable, de-sexifying the conspiracists' contrarian narcissism. Nothing wrong with ridiculing people who make ridiculous claims.
 

RustyShackleford

New Member
Not sure if any of you caught this, but Rachel Maddow spent the first 20 minutes of her show tonight addressing the Boston CT theories, CT generally, and then hosted anti-"Truther" advocate Alice Hoagland as her guest. I'm not posting it because I agree with her argument specifically, but because it's dealing directly with CT.

[video]http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26315908/#51653479[/video] (feel free to fix this for a proper video embed)

She draws attention to the nexus of conspiracy theory, far right paranoia, anti-Muslim sentiment, and political polarization in a fairly articulate way. I suspect not everyone here is a Maddow fan — not really sure I am either, although in this case I found her to be on point.

I've transcribed her remarks at 10:05:

It's good to see the importance of debunking and ramifications of CT misinformation addressed to a popular audience.

Aside: I cannot recommend enough the BBC's "9/11: Conspiracy Road Trip," the documentary shown in which Alice Hoagland appears.
Seems to me that just the opposite is true. The official story is usually much, much simpler and easier to understand. For example, when it comes to Boston let's compare the official story and the conspiracy

Official story: 2 kids bombed the marathon. Why? They're radical Muslims who hate America.

Conspiracy: 2 kids bombed the marathon. Why? Well, they may have hated America but when you learn that their uncle Ruslan was married to Graham Fuller's daughter and they owned and operated Congress of Chechen International Organizations, then the story becomes very, very complicated.

Is it merely a coincidence Graham Fuller was identified as a corrupt, treasonous spy by Sibel Edmonds several years ago? Was she on to something if the government had to gag her using the state secrets privilege? What about the document used in the court case against Benevolence International, which shows that Ruslan Tsarni and Graham Fuller's business (Congress of Chechen International Organizations) had contact with a known al-Qaeda front? Is it also a coincidence that Ruslan worked for USAID, which was kicked out of Russia for operating as a CIA front to radicalize Russia's enemies in the Caucusus?

I bet Rachel Maddow didn't address any of those questions, did she? Maybe if she and the other "journalists" in the mainstream media reported on the above facts, there wouldn't be so many "crazy" conspiracy theories floating around.

If you ask me, the official story is a lot easier to wrap your head around. They hate America. Got it. Done.
 
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