Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Boilerplate Conspiracy Article

For the past twenty-five years, I've watched as a new anti-conspiracy-theory article appears every few months or so in the mainstream media.  Despite the fact that the name of the author changes from article to article, each piece always bears the same tone, the same point of view, the same series of cliched rationalizations (and these rationalizations even appear in the same order sometimes).  Eventually, all of these articles merge together into a continuous stream of deadly sameness.  It's as if one particular boilerplate article is fed through a computer which then distorts the words and sentences just slightly, just enough to avoid accusations of outright plagiarism, then feeds this "new" article into the gullet of the gatekeepers who dutifully publish the sad, crippled thing in the pages of their oh-so-respectable journals for the mindless consumption of their ever-shrinking readership.  For example, if you compare Rich Cohen's May 2004 Vanity Fair article (entitled "Welcome to the Conspiracy") with Niraj Chokshi's December 4, 2015 Washington Post article (entitled "False Flags, True Believers and Trolls:  Understanding Conspiracy Theories After Tragedies"), it's almost like reading a pair of sermons by two priests (or perhaps I should say three priests, as Chokshi's article is, for the most part, merely an interview with Joe Uscinski, co-author of an academically-challenged tome entitled American Conspiracy Theories) who were brainwashed by the same Jim-Jones-like church.... 

You might notice that mainstream publications will, from time to time, attempt to boost their readership by writing articles that vilify tabloid journalism while also highlighting the very same salacious details the article ostensibly condemns.  It's a tried and true form of hypocrisy unique to mainstream reportage.  Note that this piece by Chokshi performs the same trick:  It pretends to decry the wacky world of outrageous Internet conspiracy theories while also advertising those very theories via screengrabs shrewdly positioned throughout the article in order to lure in the "true believers and trolls" Chokshi so despises--and so desperately requires in order to increase sales. 

If you want to help Mr. Chokski rack up some much needed hits, feel free to click HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment