Thursday 21 September 2017

Conspiracy theories have moved into the mainstream in Trump's America

Donald Trump. Photo: AP
Donald Trump. Photo: AP

Chris Cillizza

Talk to a supporter of US President Donald Trump and, at some point in the conversation, you are likely to hear some version of this riff: "The mainstream media is fake news. They ignore all the good things Mr Trump is doing because they hate him and wanted Hillary to win. That's why they spend so much time on this ridiculous Russia story and not enough time investigating whether Trump Tower was actually wire-tapped!"

Talk to an opponent of Mr Trump (pictured inset) and, at some point in the conversation, you are likely to hear some version of this riff: "Russia has something on Mr Trump. Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort and the president's own unwillingness to badmouth Vladimir Putin and Russia all make clear that he is being secretly controlled by a foreign power. He needs to be impeached!"

We live in 'X-Files' time now; conspiracy theories aren't dismissed, instead they are taken as something close to fact. "Prove that the conspiracy theory is wrong!" is now our default position.

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