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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Tinfoil hats

Anyone who has ever read my column knows that I am no fan of the mainstream media. The most powerful groups in the country have the ability to shape the way that our institutions operate. Naturally this includes institutions that spread information. So, we get a media shaped by elite interests. Of course, no one is telling journalists what to write. Simply, people more sympathetic to elite ideologies are able to succeed in media more often, creating a self-perpetuating drive toward pro-power ideology in the population.

The level of complexity required to force journalists to all knowingly collaborate on a single false narrative is extremely high. If we were to suppose such a complicated theory to be right, we would need massive, compelling evidence. To put it briefly, we do not have anything close.

Alex Jones’ Infowars has, as of right now, 2 million subscribers. Infowars is an internet broadcast that spins everything that ever happens into a massive conspiracy. As a foundational presupposition of every one of Jones’ explanations, the mainstream media is controlled by groups who are privy to the secret plots, and the journalists who relay us the information know that they are puppet mouthpieces, spreading lies.

It is difficult to know where to start when analyzing Jones, given the staggering mountain of absurdities to which he clings. Simply spelling out the theory suffices for showing its unscientific and insane nature.

Take the Boston Bombing case. Jones tweeted that it was a false flag attack immediately upon hearing that it happened. That is, he picked his conclusion immediately. But that’s OK, he has a nice little Mad Lib already made for any scenario. It looks like this:

False flag attack in CITY. Government using attacks on U.S. citizens as pretense to (circle one): IMPLEMENT MARTIAL LAW / TAKE OUR GUNS AWAY / EXPAND NEW WORLD ORDER SECRET POLICE. This event further proves OTHER CONSPIRACY THEORY. Media schill, government mouthpieces can’t get their stories straight, demonstrated by INSTANCE OF MISTAKEN REPORTING, LATER RETRACTED. American sheeple are buying the official story, that REASONABLE EXPLANATION OF EVENTS, BASED ON EVIDENCE.

Jones’ theory is basically that the government planned the attack in order to justify increasing the police state. There is also the supposition built in that the media all know about it and are covering it up. The only way to buy such a theory is if we already supposed that everything that happens is also a carefully devised plot. If we don’t, then there would be a massive lack of evidence.

This is where Jones’ best trick comes into play. String together many facts, mostly of dubious origin, and then simply say “there’s something fishy about this. The official story cannot account for these facts.” In the Boston Bombing case, Jones’ alleged facts are as dubious as they could be, and his argument is a textbook non-sequitur. It looks something like this:

The police announced a drill in order to confuse everyone and help the bomb to go off without a hitch. This attack happened not long after the Sandy Hook shooting, therefore they are related. If we look at some grainy photos that we have no reason to trust the legitimacy of, we can see a picture of a backpack somewhere, sometime, therefore these secret backpacks were the real bombs, even though there is zero evidence to support this claim, and we should not trust the mainstream story. Oh, and 9/11, therefore fluoride is in the federal reserve because the trilateral commission. Illuminati.

Furthermore, I have a strong intuition that the nuts who believe this anti-scientific baloney spend most of their lives online. So, don’t take their epically overblown web presence as proof that these views should be treated as popular or legitimate.

These conspiracy quacks are failing to follow their own motto: don’t take anything as evidence unless you can verify it. Those conspiracy pictures that circulate on Facebook don’t have trustworthy sources. Don’t take them seriously.

Although it is important to consider dissenting ideas, we should treat with hostility messages that have the token elements of Infowars — those qualities of zealotry described above. Otherwise they will actually become as pervasive as their internet presence deceitfully indicates.

BRIAN MOEN doesn’t believe the official story, but he is a reptilian from space. He can be reached at bkmoen@ucdavis.edu.

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