One of the biggest problems I am currently seeing from social media is the radicalization from fake news. If you have read some of my first posts on here, although strange, they dealt with confirmation bias as a whole. With the rise of the internet, it is tough to not get sucked into some form of a fake news narrative that shapes your perception of the truth. Today, Yahoo! posted an article that stemmed from a new FBI memo citing conspiracy theories as a cause for domestic terrorism.
When I first started out digging on here last year, I was pretty conspiratorial. I had believed in many conspiracy theories from crowd sourced sites like Reddit and 4chan. I believed that the world was being run by the pedophile elite and that there were sex trafficking rings run out of the non-existent basement of a pizza joint. Sad times. Trying to figure out the pieces of Spygate caused me to rely on other people to break it down. I had a tendency to gravitate towards places that had the most specific sounding narratives and appeared woke. I think in general, people on the right are more skeptical which allows for conspiracy theories to propagate easily as there is more open-mindedness.
The awakening for me came this time last year when I started to see that the narratives on social media were not making much sense. I had been following the Special Counsel and the narratives surrounding Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller and believed they were both there to protect the swamp and take down Trump. There was something nagging at the back of my mind that I could not shake and that was why would Mueller name The Podesta Group and Mercury LLC in the Manafort indictment if he was protecting the swamp? Pizzagate Joe already had thought that Tony was part of the pedophilia scheme. What gives?
While that anomaly in the narrative eventually led me to the position I currently hold that Mueller was never planning on hunting Trump nor his family, it is the step back that I wanted to highlight. After realizing that something was up, a year ago today, CNN reported that Podesta, Greg Craig, and Vin Weber were referred to the SDNY by the Special Counsel. I felt like I was lied to and betrayed. Like most of you, it is that overwhelming feeling of being constantly lied to by the MSM that got me into conspiracy land. What I had not realized was that the conspiracies on the right were much more vast and much more believable.
What was I supposed to do then? I felt alone in my thoughts and I only had like 80 followers on Twitter back then so who would even care. I met a few like minded thinkers, but I made a commitment to myself to not just repeat narratives like fact until I actually vet the information myself. A popular theory at the time was James Wolfe taking 82 pictures of the FISA warrant for Carter Page on his phone and sending it to Ali Watkins. Something simple like this was deeply ingrained in my line of thinking which pushed my perspective to looking at the wrong things. It wasn’t until I sat down and took a step back before realizing how convoluted that narrative was and how much it was shaping my perspective. Why would a person stand there and take 82 photos? When Wolfe was eventually found to not be transmitting classified information, I was one of the few on the right to not be outraged. This internet detective was redeemed.
With a taste of success, I began challenging my fundamental beliefs about what happened in 2016 and other conspiracy theories. Interestingly, my point of view has shifted more towards a neutral stance than further to the right. Typically, I found that the theory that was not very exciting was usually the correct one. It sucks in a way, but it helps me stay ahead of the curve as viewing things objectively allow you to see all sides of the story, not just the one your bias predisposes you to.
Eventually, digging into Pizzagate, I was able to notice that the basement didn’t exist. There is a mention that the owner of Comet Ping Pong had canned tomatoes stored in the basement, it would be later revealed that the basement was in owner James Alefantis’ other restaurant Buck’s. Then I started seeing other signs of confirmation bias reinforcement that only looks good when you’re already hooked. The picture below looks nothing like the pedophile symbol, yet for some reason it once looked like a secret code.
Another theory that I always had subscribed to was Russia never actually hacking the DNC. The focus for that came from Crowdstrike being a tool of the Deep State to blame Trump for conspiring with Russia. In reality, Crowdstrike released their findings before Christopher Steele was hired by the DNC in June 2016. In addition to the Crowdstrike narrative, there are also two other theories among right wingers about what happened with the DNC/DCCC hacks. One is Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was the victim of a botched robbery and William Binney saying that the transfer speeds were too fast for a hack. With Seth Rich, no one seems to believe that a guy could be shot in a bad part of Washington DC and there was a cover-up involving multiple agencies and police forces. I jumped off the bandwagon when the family started suing people. Would they be in on the cover up too? As for the William Binney theory, that one makes no sense either. He pulled his data from the Wikileaks end. He is correct that the transfer speeds match a USB, but if someone was to hack the files then download them on a USB Stick, when Wikileaks upload you would have the transfer speed from the stick to the computer. If you’re going to analyze a hack, you do it from where the data was taken, not where it was uploaded.
If you ask me who I think hacked the DNC/DCCC, I would have to say that Russia is the likely answer. What the media fails to mention in order to create a predetermined choice is that if Russia hacked the servers and posted the emails, it didn’t have to be done to help Trump win. Trump just rode the wave from the Clinton/Russia battle and played off of it to win. All these conspiracy theories do is absolve Russia of any blame, but we don’t look at it that way because Russia helped elect Trump. Believing some of these easy conspiracy theories helps swallow the ugly truth sometimes, but sometimes the truth isn’t even that ugly since it was genius strategy on Trump’s end.
I really don’t know what the gain for all this fake news is either for the American government. It only benefits foreign governments. Some people will probably argue someone on the other side of the aisle working on destroying the country, they would be working on behalf of a foreign government. If you are in control of the most powerful country in the world, why would you relinquish that power? Sociopath’s don’t think like that since it is completely illogical. Most of this fake news is sowing discord and making the left go more left and the right go more right. The vultures we know as politicians will take advantage of this because it benefits them in terms of solid votes. Everything will always come down to self interest in the end.
It is just important to challenge yourself once in a while when it comes to solid beliefs just because it is mass accepted. The heliocentric solar system model wasn’t generally accepted and Galileo was even tried for heresy for it. I believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, so I always try to keep my head straight. I also try to limit myself to one layer of speculation. For example, I am limited on my guesses for Crossfire Hurricane or The Special Counsel as I still have yet to see the full scope of either. Even looking at the appointment, Rosenstein based it off of the vague investigation Comey referenced in one of his hearings. I can’t start calling a reverse, double luts sting before understanding the purpose of it all.
From another perspective, just taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, conspiracies hinder the actual truth from coming forward. As seen with Epstein, there are alleged sex trafficking rings. Does this mean it is Pizzagate? No. It means that sex trafficking rings exist and are a real threat. Calling it Pizzagate turns an alleged fact into a conspiracy theory. It actually helps protect the people who are doing the trafficking in an ironic twist of faith.
Overall, we are getting there. We may not all be fans of everything that happens as I don’t expect everything to go one way. Spreading the message of corruption is an effective way to help support the effort to help fight human right abusers, but it is also necessary to stay in lanes when it comes to vetting information to make sure it is not fake which can be used to derail or discredit.
It is serious in some instances too. The cases cited did happen and some people get so invested in these theories that they thing it is their higher duty to take on these ambiguous forces of evil. The problem is the FBI only used right wing examples and didn’t take into account anything ANTIFA related. It seemed biased and one sided. After all, the FBI shouldn’t even talk, look how much damage was caused by them pursuing the conspiracy theory of Trump Russia Collusion.