The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Obama Era Gave Credibility to Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists

The New York Times, NPR, and CNN slam Donald Trump for trafficking in conspiracy theories.

Trump has this coming; there’s no evidence that vaccines lead to autism, that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was smothered to death with a pillow, or that Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald kill JFK.

But let’s also observe that it’s been a really good stretch of years for conspiracy theories proving true. It turns out the National Security Agency was collecting Americans’ metadata. It turns out the IRS actually is targeting Americans based upon their political views. It turns out that Obama advisor Ben Rhodes and the Washington press corps are working together, “actively misleading” the American people about the reality of the Iran deal.

Think about all of the once wildly-implausible ideas that turned out to be true under this administration.

“The Obama administration is sending guns to drug cartels in Mexico!” Actually, that one turned out to be true.

“The Obama administration would trade five Taliban guys for a deserter!” Actually, that one turned out to be true.

In 2011, Media Matters scoffed at Glenn Beck’s “conspiracy theory” that uprising in Egypt was leading to a coming “Muslim caliphate” that would “control the Mideast and parts of Europe.” Of course, that was before anyone had heard of the Islamic State. 

Why are so many Americans so credulous when it comes to claims of sinister wrongdoing by authority figures? Maybe it’s because they keep learning that reality is a little too close to those seemingly-outlandish conspiracy theories.

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