For those of us who believe that the world is at least a somewhat rational place and that political events can be discussed with at least some degree of reliance on truth and facts, it has probably been very difficult to accept the idea that there are a lot of people out there who don’t share that point of view.
I’m talking about the conspiracy theories which have come to dominate the conservative political narrative and are repeated endlessly on alt-right media venues like Breitbart, The Blaze and Fox News. How many times did one of these sources say that Biden was demented? How many times did they talk about the election ‘hoax?’ How many times did Marjorie Taylor Greene say that 9-11 didn’t occur?
Of course, this entire conspiracy culture was first produced and promoted by a former President of the United States with the nonsense about how Barack Obama was born overseas. And once Trump decided that conspiracy theories and outright lies would be the hallmark of his Administration’s messaging strategy, the whole idea caught on.
Guess what? The whole idea may now begin to collapse because one of the companies which was accused of rigging the 2020 election is suing five promoters of conspiracy theories for defamation, along with the media network which hosted and sold these promoters to the general public, a.k.a., Fox News.
And who are the individuals who together are being sued for the tidy sum of $2.7 billion bucks (plus punitive damages?) Three Fox News anchors, one of whom, Lou Dobbs, has already been fired by the network, along with – ready? – Sidney Powell and Rudy. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
Here’s how the suit begins:
“The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable. Defendants have always known these facts. They knew Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 U.S. election. They knew the election was not stolen. They knew the election was not rigged or fixed. They knew these truths just as they knew the Earth is round and two plus two equals four.”
Because I believe in Don Corleone’s dictum that you keep your enemies closer than your friends, I have been following the alt-right media/spieler community for years, beginning with Rush Limbaugh back in 1993. And every, single time I listen to any of them, I believe exactly what this lawsuit says – the world really is round, two plus two equals four.
The question, however, is this. Do these conspiracy theorists, including Trump, actually believe their own crap? Or are they just trying to make a buck by promoting something so outrageous and so misinformed that folks will listen to them because it’s something fun to do?
An answer, of sorts, has just been provided by the decision of the Texas Supreme Court in a defamation lawsuit against Alex Jones, who is perhaps the chief conspiracy-theorist of all time and happens to be a friend of Donald Trump. The decision allows the lawsuit to proceed.
Probably the single, most notable news event which Alex Jones claimed was nothing more than a government conspiracy was the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook. Jones took advantage of the fact that mainstream news organizations made mistakes in their initial coverage, using those mistakes to create what he knew was an entirely false story about the event. When some of the Sandy Hook parents started speaking out against gun violence, they were threatened by followers of Alex Jones.
At some point after the suit was filed, Jones gave a deposition and stated that he was suffering from a ‘psychosis’ which made it impossible for him to distinguish between events that really happened and events that were staged. He didn’t have a clinical term for this particular type of mental illness, but what the hell, he was only under oath.
I can just see it now. Rudy will defend himself against Smartmatic’s lawsuit by claiming he’s meshuga, one Grandpa’s favorite words which means he’s nuts.
If you can come up with a better way of explaining the behavior of these schmucks, please let me know.