During the past year, there were two major developments on the political and media landscape. The first, which started before 2017 but picked up steam during the past year, was that traditional conservative media, already a conduit for conspiracy theories, became increasingly open to amplifying misinformation from the far-right. The second was that Donald Trump was inaugurated as president -- a man who would embrace conspiracy theories to an extent that no high-ranking public official, much less the president, had ever done. When combined, these developments led to some conspiracy theories, which started off in far corners of the internet, reaching members of the House of Representatives and the White House -- sometimes within a matter of days. Here are a few examples.
On March 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo flew to Israel to show solidarity with Jews amidst an uptick in anti-Semitism in New York.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has upheld a decision to dismiss a complaint against the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) for endorsing a boycott of Israel.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign website proclaims that as president, she would “continue her long-standing emphasis” on human rights.
The miseries of the Syrian and Afghan wars and the dictatorship in Eritrea have come to Europe in the form of refugees. Last year, more than a million refugees escaped civil war, terrorism and repression by packing their bags and making the arduous trek across land and sea. The majority came from civil war-wracked Syria, though many came from other countries, too.
Meet the Political Leader Who Appears to Be Campaigning For the World's #1 Enemy of Free Speech and Journalism
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is waging an all-out war on journalism. Since taking the reins of power in a military coup in 2013 and in an election the next year, Sisi has cracked down on the press with a vengeance. Conflating journalism with terrorism and support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the leader of Egypt’s’ authoritarian regime has arrested a record number of journalists. 18 members of the media remain in prison today, with more than a third of them sentenced to life in prison, according to a June report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The most extreme government in Israel’s history is wasting no time getting down to business. One of its first acts is targeting Palestinian freedom of expression.
On May 16, an Egyptian court sentenced Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt, to death. The Islamist former president, who came out of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, was convicted of escaping prison during the Egyptian uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, the U.S.-backed authoritarian leader of the country.
In mid-May, President Barack Obama hosted top officials from Gulf Arab states at Camp David, the idyllic presidential retreat in Maryland. The meeting was designed to assure Gulf Arab leaders that the U.S. still has their back, even though the Obama administration is hurtling full-speed ahead toward a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
In an April interview with PBS Newshour, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked about Iran’s involvement in the escalating war in Yemen. His response was astounding and revealing.