Spygate: Trump’s latest conspiracy theory

Prior to his presidency, Trump talked about how the government knew about the Sept. 11 attacks before they occurred. He talked about how Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia hadn’t actually died in his sleep but had been murdered. He talked about President Obama’s birth, and how it was in Kenya rather than Hawaii. He said that Muslims were cheering in New Jersey on 9/11, and that vaccines cause autism.

None of these are true.

Now, Trump is talking about a “criminal deep state” within Obama’s government that planted a spy in Trump’s presidential campaign. According to Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and current Trump legal counsel, “spygate” is part of a public relations campaign to help his client avoid impeachment. “It is for public opinion,” Giuliani admitted during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. “Because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach or not impeach.”

here’s the somewhat boring reality of spygate

A retired Cambridge University professor named Stefan Halper met with several Trump campaign advisers in mid-2016 at the request of the FBI. The FBI was trying to determine whether there were any links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether or not a wider investigation should be started.

They asked Halper to reach out to Carter Page and George Papadopoulos to learn about possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Halper didn’t join the Trump campaign to act as a double agent; and he didn’t do any illegal spying or surveillance on Page or Papadopoulos. He just talked to them. And then talked to the FBI.

some perspective on Trump’s use of conspiracy theories

Historian Jon Meacham talks about Trump’s latest theory. “The diabolical brilliance of the Trump strategy of disinformation is that many people are simply going to hear the charges and countercharges, and decide that there must be something to them because the president of the United States is saying them.”

And, besides, Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg says, “In the new media landscape, InfoWars and Fox News are where the president’s getting his support, and these theories are promulgated there.”

So, WordStir-ers, why do people right now, in 2018, believe the world is flat? (Ummm…it’s not. You knew that, right?) Why do they believe that the Sandy Hook massacre was a staged event by the government–with actors– and with the purpose of taking away the right to own guns? Or that we knew about 9/11 and did nothing to stop it because we wanted to invade Iraq?

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? Geek out on it here, then think about this: Should we accept that conspiracy theories are a natural part of being human and just ignore them? Or, should we actively try to create and enforce rules that limit their spread?

Click here to read the NY Times article.

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