A closer look at Trump's copy-cat conspiracies
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AN ECCENTRIC ELECT Donald Trump is known for his outlandish conspiracy theories that span from questioning President Barack Obama's birth certificate to debunking climate change.
The 2016 election season shed a lot of new light on America’s media usage and specifically what our society thinks of mainstream media. With a growing distrust of mainstream news outlets, Americans have turned to alternative sources to learn about events around the world. More people than ever get their news online and the internet has an abundance of alternative news sources, blogs and networks presenting thousands of angles and opinions for both niche populations and broad audiences.
Many of these outlets are great alternatives to mainstream media and are often better choices and additions for a well-rounded media diet. However, one of the downsides of the internet is that anyone can create content and some of these popular sites, networks and shows are presenting faulty and dangerous ideas.
Media sites such as Breitbart News or Infowars are the alternative news sites which provide news to those in the “alt-right” movement which has far-right, white nationalist views. Even when these shows are dismissed for mostly containing inaccurate conspiracy theories, they can gain large, devout followings who buy into the accusations.
Although they usually do not cause harm to others outside of annoying their friends on social media, these sites have inspired their readers do things from going on national TV and yelling that Bill Clinton is a rapist to harassing the parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Under the belief that the shooting was a “false flag” operation to push stricter gun laws they verbally attacked parents, telling them to admit their children never died and never existed in the first place.
These are just the acts of strange people on the internet, but what happens when someone reading and believing these sites is running the country? That is exactly what will happen January 20 when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in.
There had been a lot of discussion toward the end of the campaign season and especially after election day about the impact alternative media has on the American public and politics. It was quite obvious by how blindsided the media and the country was by Trump’s win that the alternative media reaches such a large audience mainstream media could not have predicted it.
Trump did very well with alternative media receiving glowing reviews daily from Breitbart and Infowars, and seemed to resonate with that audience. In fact, the opposite seems to be true.
CNN did a segment on how first, Trump has a very close relationship with these media companies and second, seems to actually be echoing their theories and headlines.
On December 2 Trump was interviewed on The Alex Jones Show and said he would not let Jones down and that he hoped he would be impressed.
Infowars headlines and Trump’s tweets, interviews and rally speeches have much of the same content; questioning things from Obama’s birth certificate to the death of Antonin Scalia. They even both were linking Ted Cruz’s father to JFK’s assassination.
On August 1, Infowars uploaded a video titled “An Emergency Message to Donald Trump” where Jones gave campaign strategy advice to the candidate.
“I am going to ask you to seriously think about making the issue of Hillary’s election fraud in the primaries, one of the central issues to defeating her in November,” Jones said in the video.
One day later, at a rally, Trump started doing just that.
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged,” Trump said.
Alex Jones himself noted how much influence he has over Trump’s positions and attention.
“It is surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word-for-word hear Trump say it two days later,” Jones said on August 11.
Trump is also influenced by Breitbart News and talks about the same topics found on that site. He has named the former executive of the media group, Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and Senior Counselor for his presidency. Bannon led Breitbart for four years until he joined the Trump campaign in August of this year and evolved a symbiotic relationship between the news organization and the Trump campaign.
Donald Trump seems to use Infowars, Breitbart and that type of site for news and information. At the least, he echoes the sentiments and ideas this group holds. Getting news from these sites and respecting their unfounded theories is dangerous; they are pushing paranoid, white-nationalist ideals and have had purposefully controversial headlines attacking nearly every minority in America.
“Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew,” “The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off” and “Roger Stone: Huma Abedin ‘Most Likely a Saudi Spy’ with ‘Deep, Inarguable Connections’ to ‘Global Terrorist Entity” are just a few of the headlines Bannon was a part of signing off on while working at Breitbart.
These headlines only scrape the surface of the topics Breitbart and Infowars cover and are just a few of the many racist, sexist and xenophobic headlines seen every day on the sites.Trump is supposed to be in charge of the country and it is unbelievably important that he gets his information from the right places. Unfortunately, he has turned to unreliable, biased and angry news sources which control how he governs and acts.
If the president gets the majority his information from conspiracy theory shows and believes all other media is lying then that puts the entire country in jeopardy of being subject to the whims and ideals of conspiracy theorists and racists.
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