COVID-19 conspiracy theories are just like any other

We knew it was bound to happen. Today’s conspiracy theorists are always prepared to have a reactionary response to negative news, but the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has spawned some novel nonsense. As I highlight in this video, conspiracy theories are nothing new, and in some cases, the latest are created by the same cast of characters who are motivated by money and building their online brand.

Videos like Plandemic, the anti-lockdown screed by two doctors out of Bakersfield, and spurious claims about 5G towers or Bill Gates all come from the same fevered wish to deny a complex reality and simplify things down to evil, shadowy forces. But as I illustrate here, the outlook is inherently disempowering, leading you in every direction away from the truth about how our society is ordered and who orders it.

As someone who watched 9/11 happen live on TV from junior high school along with his classmates, I’ve seen conspiracy theories big and small pollute my friends’ minds and social media newsfeeds. It can be difficult to weed through all the crazy claims, but a basic toolset of skepticism, critical thinking, and media literacy can go a long way.

Here are the links for the stories I refer to in the video:

Plandemic point-by-point debunk: https://www.reddit.com/r/CovIdiots/comments/gezery/plandemic_documentary_debunked/

Propublica on Plandemic: https://www.propublica.org/article/im-an-investigative-journalist-these-are-the-questions-i-asked-about-the-viral-plandemic-video

Bakersfield Doctors: https://calmatters.org/health/2020/04/debunking-bakersfield-doctors-covid-spread-conclusions/

5G towers: https://www.businessinsider.com/5g-coronavirus-arson-cellphone-towers-russia-iran-bots-2020-4

Bill Gates: https://www.fastcompany.com/90493469/why-bill-gates-is-the-focus-of-the-latest-coronavirus-conspiracy-theories

Cell Phone tracking: https://techcrunch.com/2013/12/04/nsa-reportedly-tracking-cell-phone-location-data/

Sandy Hook: https://www.wshu.org/post/sandy-hook-denier-arrested-harassing-victims-family#stream/0

Toll on doctors: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/what-are-we-doing-doctors-are-fed-conspiracies-ravaging-ers-n1201446

Doctor suicide: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/nyregion/new-york-city-doctor-suicide-coronavirus.html

Published by Joe Payne

Joe Payne is a lifelong resident of the Santa Maria Valley who teaches music, performs, and tunes pianos (pianopayne.com). He's also a seasoned journalist who shares his own reporting and opinion on matters local and national (politicalpayne.com).

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