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Debunking Conspiracy Theories

Program #BERC004. Recorded in Somerville, MA on February 09, 2004.

Audio sample:
Theories are unproven assertions. If empirical evidence is presented then the theory moves to fact. In another realm, allegations are not subject to rigorous examination. There is a strain of thought that embraces beliefs ranging from UFOs in Roswell to who killed JFK to black helicopters. These theories take on an almost theological conviction. If one challenges them that is proof that you are a dupe. In all instances it is a sinister "they" who are behind everything. Self-styled experts appear with websites and in nano seconds jump from speculation to fact. Their "findings" are quickly transmitted. A lot of it is, A happened therefore Y is true. The leaps of logic are breathtaking. 9/11 has spawned the latest cottage industry of theories.

Speaker(s):

Chip Berlet

Chip Berlet is senior analyst with Political Research Associates, an organization which monitors and reports on right-wing movements. His articles appear in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Progressive magazine. He is the editor of Eyes Right: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash and co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America.

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