The story of Trump-Russia collusion is a perfect specimen for anyone interested in studying conspiracy theories. For over two years, it towered over the information landscape and devoured the attention of the media and the public. The total number of articles on the topic produced by the New York Times is difficult to discern, but was estimated to be more than 3,000 during a two-year period, amounting to multiple articles per day. And that is just one newspaper. This was journalism as if conducted under the grips of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Nearly every report took Trump's guilt for granted. Every day in the news marked the beginning of Armageddon for Trump and his followers.

Michael, why speculate about the motives of other conspiracy theorists when you could have explained why you were one of the most vocal defenders of the Trump-Russia hoax -- the most influential conspiracy theory in recent memory? You could have explained how your hatred of Donald Trump led you to abandon reason and any concern about the absence of evidence supporting your absurd claims. You could have given us some insights into your Trump derangement syndrome. You could have helped us to understand how loyalty to the tribe -- the Democratic Party in this case -- made you eager to lie about and slander not just Donald Trump, but anyone who didn't share your beliefs.

You also could have helped us understand how you came to believe that the lab leak theory was just a "right-wing conspiracy" and a "Trump lie," that Trump paid Russian hookers to pee on a hotel bed because he believed Obama once slept there, that Hunter Biden's laptop was "Russian disinformation," that Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist vigilante, and your many other debunked conspiracy theories.

Of course, I know why you never mention any of that. You have made it a major part of your mission in life -- as well as the mission of Skeptic magazine -- to help the Democratic Party as best you can, which inevitably also means hurting the Republican Party. So, you have hand-picked a few individuals and stories that you feel cast the Republicans in a bad light, while ignoring the conspiracy theories of people like yourself, Hillary Clinton, Stacy Abrams and Barack Obama. You discuss QAnon because that seems like any easy way to make Republicans look bad, even though leftists are actually the only people who have shown much interest in the fringe group. You'll talk about January 6th, but not the Antifa or BLM riots. You'll mention Alex Jones, but not the Democrats who encouraged race riots and attacks on Supreme Court justices.

You like to present yourself as an expert on conspiracy theories so that you can portray anyone who disagrees with you as a nutty conspiracy theorist, while claiming with a phony air of authority that your own conspiracy theories are undeniable truths. You purport to educate us on such matters, but all you really offer is propaganda.

I used to regard you as a defender of science and truth. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to think of you that way. The difference between your work and that of The View, MSNBC, and AOC is narrowing. I wish you well, but I don't think I'll be helping you to enjoy "the Mathew effect."

Expand full comment

It’s nice to see someone pointing out that conspiracy theories are not the exclusive domain of any particular creed—and that they’re often true, or at least truer than the assumption that there’s nothing untoward going on.

But, as in an earlier post about this, I’m not seeing a single explicit or implicit mention of what are by far the most dangerous and pernicious conspiracy theories—the ones spread by officialdom and sanctioned by establishment media—or the daddy of them all: Russiagate. Meanwhile, lists of America’s less rational conspiracy theories go by without mentioning any of the extremely radical and unfounded theories pushed by the left, from Russiagate to systemic -isms.

Why is that?

Expand full comment
Oct 25, 2022·edited Oct 25, 2022

Quick question: In your new book, do you write about when recognized conspiracy theories turn out to be proven true? We've seen a fair share of these over the past couple of years that, for me, have led to a sort of skepticism of skepticism and a heightened state of keeping an initial soft focus on things.

Expand full comment

There is the official lone gunman theory on the Kennedy assassination. We then have the magic bullet theory to explain or support that. Yes magic.... to refute the idea of a conspiracy regarding the assassination. What is rational? Believing the official story or the magic bullet explanation?

Expand full comment

Looking forward to the book!

My life experiences have forced me to conclude this conspiracy is true:

JFK killed by unknown assailants

Warren Commission cover up

RFK + MLK Jr killed to remove from politics. Allows Nixon to win.

VietNam for war profits. Ford pardons Nixon. Carter allows hostages for 444 days. Creates new enemies. Reagan trades guns for dugs. GHWBush announces NWO. Clinton agrees to NAFTA. Bush oversees 9/11 inside job. Wars

Obama supports gay marriage.

Trump opposes all - only verbally

Biden wins???

Conclusion: NWO in charge since 11/22/63. All elections rigged

Expand full comment

Is there a chance that your book will be translated into German?

Expand full comment