04 Jan

Elections in a pandemic: Conspiracy theories have a field day

Posted By polity_admin_user

Conspiracy theories thrive on misfortune. As soon as it became clear that Trump was losing the election, a torrent of conspiracy theories flooded the media claiming that vote-counting machines were rigged to favour Biden and that Trump was the victim of a conspiracy by big media, big tech and big pharma to deprive him of a second term. No evidence was provided, but the absence of evidence never got in the way of a good conspiracy theory. These rumours and allegations came hard on the heels of a proliferation of conspiracy theories about the pandemic, some claiming that the virus was engineered by the Chinese as a biological weapon to attack the West, others alleging that that the pandemic is part of a plot orchestrated by shady elites to bring about a New World Order. The world seems awash in conspiracy theories, now more than ever. Why are conspiracy theories so prevalent today? Has the internet just made it a whole lot easier to spread conspiracy theories, or has it changed the nature of conspiracy theories in some more fundamental way?

If you want to make sense of this bizarre and pervasive feature of our contemporary world, Michael Butter’s book is the indispensable starting point.

‘A compelling account of how conspiracy theory works, why it seems so pervasive, and how we can combat its most dangerous consequences.’

TIMOTHY MELLEY, AUTHOR OF EMPIRE OF CONSPIRACY: THE CULTURE OF PARANOIA IN POSTWAR AMERICA

The Nature of Conspiracy Theories by Michael Butter is out now!

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