How Republicans are engineering 'a flood of conspiracy theories' ahead of 2024: report

How Republicans are engineering 'a flood of conspiracy theories' ahead of 2024: report
Image via Creative Commons.

Conspiracy theorists have a long history on the far right, from the John Birch Society during the 1950s and 1960s to the rise of "Infowars" founder Alex Jones in the late 1990s/early 2000s. But conservatives of the past were more likely to push back against them.

The late William F. Buckley excluded the Birchers from his National Review. Jones was shunned by the George W. Bush Republicans of the 2000s.

But Donald Trump's presidency and the MAGA movement gave Jones and other conspiracy theorists much more prominence on the right, and conspiracy theories involving the Biden family are plentiful in right-wing media.

READ MORE: This 'self-pitying' Trump judge’s 'crackpot ruling' shows he 'clearly swallowed' a conspiracy whole: report

In a report published by The Guardian on July 10, journalist Nick Robins-Early describes a conspiracy theory that has been gaining ground in MAGA World: the claim that the Biden Administration is "attempting to silence conservative voices" on social media.

In Louisiana, Judge Terry Doughty (a Trump appointee) ruled that Biden officials cannot communicate with social media providers about content moderation matters. MAGA Republicans have been claiming that when Facebook and pre-Elon Musk Twitter removed false claims about COVID-19 in 2021, they were bullied into doing so by members of Biden's administration.

"Amid the right-wing campaign against content moderation and disinformation researchers," Robins-Early reports, "numerous social media platforms have also been peeling back restrictions. Twitter under Elon Musk, who last year engineered the release of some internal communications between Twitter and government officials, has hollowed out its content moderation teams. Meanwhile, YouTube has reversed a policy banning election denialism, and Instagram allowed prominent anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. back on the platform."

Robins-Early notes that a 2021 New York University study not only debunked "allegations of anti-conservative bias at social media companies" — it found "that these platforms' algorithms instead often work to amplify right-wing content."

READ MORE: Twitter suspends accounts of Musk 'nemesis' Aaron Greenspan: report

The Guardian's full report is available at this link.

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