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Critically Speaking

Dec 8, 2021

In a world full of media, which may contain misinformation or fake news, there are conspiracy theories abounding. However, conspiracy theories, and the spreading of those theories, is not a new practice, it has been around and transmitting in any way that people communicate. In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Joseph Uscinski talk about the origin of conspiracy theories and how these formal theories differ (and are similar) to the fake news and misinformation that fills our media screens today. They discuss some of the earliest US conspiracy theories, as well as some of the more modern ones, and how they are different now, with our current political climate, from what they may have done in the past. They also discuss why people believe these conspiracy theories, as well as why people believe in them, even in the face of refuting evidence. 

 Key Takeaways:

  • The internet did not introduce the spread of conspiracy theories. They will always be spread in any way that people communicate.
  • Our worldviews impact the media that we access, which then can filter which conspiracy theories we are likely to believe.
  • The two most consistent predictors of those who believe in conspiracy theories are education and level of income.


"Most of the arguments about evidence, really aren’t about evidence - they’re just about subjective judgments about evidence, which gets us away from evidence and gets us back into how people interpret information and what the world views are they bring into interpreting that information." —  Dr. Joseph Uscinski


Connect with Dr. Joseph Uscinski:

Twitter: @JoeUscinski 


Books: American Conspiracy Theories & Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them



Connect with Therese:


Twitter: @CritiSpeak




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