Conspiracy theories and the media


Recently, conspiracy theories have become very popular.

A conspiracy theory can be thought of as the belief that authorities and government officials are responsible for some type of (destructive) unexplained event and that the official explanation or story cannot be trusted. Often, those who believe in one conspiracy tend to believe in others.

Those who believe in conspiracy theories are often characterized as irrational, unbelievable, and/or all around nuts. An intelligent, very well-liked person with credibility can quickly and easily become irrational, disliked, and lose their credibility just by being labeled a conspirator in mainstream media.

The easiest way for officials and the media to brush something off is by labeling it a conspiracy theory. When conspiracy theories do arise, officials and media outlets are extremely quick to dismiss certain types of views, point fingers, and label anyone who believes in this “outrageous idea” a conspiracy theorist.

Back in the day, the mainstream media served as a watchdog for government, exposing and uncovering hidden secrets (Think Nixon and the Watergate scandal). To many people today, it appears though, that the mainstream media only tell us what the government and big corporations want us to hear. Most people consider the media to be the biggest conspiracy of all, lying to society about what’s really going on overseas and/or in our own backyard.

So if we can’t trust our very own news media for answers or to further investigate questionable scandals then who can we trust? Many people turn to conspiracy theories for answers because it appears that those conspiracies provide answers to many of the questions the mainstream media often avoids.

Many conspiracy theories hold some value of truth but more often then not they hold an extremist viewpoint and can be considered false. But what happens when these conspiracy theories turn out to be true? As we know, the media tends to get a lot of things wrong and blur questionable facts. When the mainstream media labels something a conspiracy theory and then later, it turns out to be true, does this further discredit our very own media and give more credibility to conspiracy theories? Let’s take a look.

Remember Fukushima, the nuclear power plant that erupted in Japan? Back when it happened, the mainstream media coverage insisted that the nuclear radiation was nothing like Chernobyl and that many residents could soon return to their homes. Overall, the media declared Fukushima ‘no big deal.’ Many “conspiracy theorists” called this one — declaring Fukushima uninhabitable due to nuclear radiation. As it turns out, a few months later The New York Times released an article in which “broad areas around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades ….”

How about the U.S military attacks on Libya? At the beginning, those who saw this coming and spoke up about it were called kooks and whack-jobs. (The majority of Americans never saw this coming) Even recently, the mainstream media still denies that NATO is currently arming and training Libyan rebels. In order to be less responsible for the bloodshed and still achieve their goals, the U.S and EU have developed, trained, and equipped “rebel groups” within the country and have used them as the ground forces for this campaign. The New York Times admits ” the learning curve for the rebels, with training and equipping, was increasing. What we’ve seen in the last few weeks is these two curves have crossed.” Now, many prominent officials are already calling for the U.S and EU to provide occupational forces.

How about the popular conspiracy that the increasing amounts of fluoride in our water is actually bad for us? For the first time in 50 years, the feds have just now reduced the “recommended amount” of fluoride in our drinking water. A CNN article reported that the federal government is now saying that high levels of fluoride in the water have now officially been linked with fluorosis-a condition that causes spotting and streaking on teeth.

How about the idea that cell phone use can cause cancer? Startling scientific research has now found a connection between the two. A recent CNN article states, “At the highest exposure level — using a mobile phone half an hour a day over a 10-year period — the study found a 40 percent increased risk of glioma brain tumors.”

This last example involves the conspiracy that the U.S government provides weapons for Mexican drug cartels. This idea has been around for a long time, yet nobody has taken the time to listen to or investigate the theory. Now, it is a matter of public record. The government has, indeed, facilitated the transfer of thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

A CBS News report discusses the opposition that many ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agents admitted to allowing thousands of guns to be given into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. “One Project Gunrunner source told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF’s watchful eye …. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go.”

It’s hard to determine whether these are just common mainstream media mistakes or if the media actually hides the truth for as long as they can until the government (or unavoidable research and explanation) allows them to admit such truths.

The mainstream news media never hesitates to label an absurd theory as a conspiracy-and those who believe in it-as conspirators. The label alone is enough to discredit anyone-no matter how smart, intelligent and credible they really are. But these examples have shown that conspiracy theorists have often times been correct, even if the media has not admitted or accepted these theories right away.

So does this mean we should discredit the mainstream media and credit conspiracy theories instead?

Not necessarily.

All I’m suggesting is that the mainstream news media seem to be quick in labeling theories that discredit the government as conspiracies. By doing this, the majority of people discredit these theories and sometimes these theories turn out to be true. Of course, not all conspiracy theories are true and, quite often, most of them are absurd. But the fact remains, that there seems to be some layer of truth in conspiracies that arise and instead of discrediting them because the mainstream media has told us too, we should further investigate and come up with our own conclusions.

As these examples have shown, when the media is quick to disbelieve and discredit someone as a conspiracy/conspirator, it is in our best interest that we do our own investigating for the truth.

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