From the media’s perspective, a conspiracy theory is simply a theory – or even a narrative with evidence to back it up – that doesn’t agree with the media’s selected narrative. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with whether there’s adequate evidence to support a claim.
If the media is the one pushing an unsubstantiated claim as if it’s fact, then by definition, everything else is a ‘conspiracy theory’ – even though their narrative might be the only actual conspiracy theory.
The most prominent conspiracy theory now is the idea that Russia, ordered by President Putin, coordinated with the Trump campaign and did whatever they could to propel Donald Trump to victory through hacking and ‘sophisticated propaganda campaigns.’ In addition, Trump and many members of his presidential campaign and current cabinet have ‘close ties’ to Russia and are all doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin.
All this is based on ‘anonymous’ sources allegedly from inside the ‘intelligence community’ who ‘leaked’ details to a couple liberal newspapers. In other words, as of yet, no evidence has been presented. Just hearsay from suspicious sources who either might be embittered Obama administration leftovers who made up their stories, or who may as well be some middle aged man living in his mom’s basement.
CNN’s Jake Tapper was complaining about Trump’s latest ‘conspiracy theory’ about the Obama administration wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower. Here’s part of what he had to say:
This is about whether President Obama wiretapped President Trump. And the FBI director says it’s false. Now, keep in mind, one not irrelevant detail here for anyone out there trying to make sense of this all, we have been here before. This is not a land with much sense or respect for facts.
This is place of conspiracy theories, untethered to facts. And these theories are voiced by President Trump.
It’s Barack Obama faked his birth certificate because he was born in Africa. False. Thousands of New Jersey Muslims were on TV celebrating 9/11. False. Ted Cruz’s father had something to do with Lee Harvey Oswald. False. Vaccines cause autism. False. There was something fishy about the deaths of Justice Scalia or Vince Foster. False, false. Inaugural crowd sizes. Three to five million illegal votes.
It goes on and on. None of it is true.
And the people around President Trump who are enabling this nonsense, the ones who know better, you have to ask yourselves this question. Are you really serving the president? Are you really serving the American people?
Just to put things into perspective, imagine concocting a theory based on similar sources as the New York Times and Washington Post. Suppose a couple of libertarian publications were given ‘leaked’ information by ‘anonymous’ sources allegedly inside the ‘intelligence community’ that the moon landing was actually faked. These anonymous sources claimed to have documentation and other evidence that proved it. But they didn’t share it. All the libertarian publication had was hearsay from a couple people who claimed to be inside the intelligence community, but whose names weren’t even given. Imagine the libertarian publication reporting on what was told them by their anonymous sources and even sharing their theory before CNN and MSNBC.
What’s the first thing CNN and MSNBC are going to ask? “What evidence do you have to suggest that the moon landing was faked?” they’d ask with a chuckle. To them, it’s a silly conspiracy theory that deserves nothing but ridicule, because there’s no evidence. In addition, any evidence they do present will be automatically called into question and assumed to be fabricated.
The Russia conspiracy theory is no different. It’s just that because the media collectively report the same narrative about Russia and Trump, it’s taken as fact. Because it’s all across the board in the media, even some Republican officials have adopted the narrative for fear of being ridiculed by the media. Do you see how absurd it is? The media might as well be pushing the moon landing hoax theory to the point that anyone who questions it deserves to be mocked and ridiculed.