Everyone reading this probably knows that conservatives are extremely fond of buying into ridiculous conspiracy theories. The far left certainly isn’t immune to this, as I’ve pointed out before, but over the last few years (especially since 2008) conspiracy theorists have become much more “mainstream” among the right-wing media and in conservative circles.
Then again, that’s what happens when millions of people decide that what they want to be real matters more than actual reality.
So when conspiracies began springing up after the violence in Charlottesville, I was not-at-all surprised. Within a few hours of one of the darkest days this country has seen in quite some time, Alex Jones was calling it a “false flag” (which is what he almost always does) while others said it was part of a ploy by the left to undermine Trump’s administration. I even saw some claiming that Barack Obama and the “deep state” were the ones who helped organize the chaos.
Apparently these “conspirators” knew Trump would completely botch his response to the violence, essentially blaming “many sides,” while saying there were some “good people” among the white supremacists, the KKK, and Nazis.
Well, you can count Idaho Republican Rep. Bryan Zollinger as someone who think it’s “plausible” that Obama was somehow behind the violence that took place in Virginia.
As reported by the Idaho Falls Post Register:
Idaho Falls Rep. Bryan Zollinger took to Facebook on Friday, re-posting a conspiracy theory suggesting that the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., could have been an inside job orchestrated to smear President Donald Trump.
The post suggests, at various points, that the white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, which resulted in brawls with counterprotestors and an apparent terrorist attack that left Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured, may have been plotted by former President Barack Obama, billionaire George Soros, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe or Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer — or by some shadowy cabal involving them all.
“Bryan, you have to know this is crazy, right?” one commenter wrote on Zollinger’s post.
“I’m not saying it is true, but I am suggesting that it is completely plausible,” Zollinger responded, adding that “many of the protesters were Soros-funded.”
For the record, no, “many of the protesters” were not “Soros-funded.” That’s a soundly-debunked conspiracy largely pushed by InfoWars clown Alex Jones.
This is the type of nonsense that’s tearing this country apart. I don’t care if Mr. Zollinger said that he didn’t think it was true, the fact that he said it was “plausible,” by citing a ridiculous conspiracy theory about protesters being funded by George Soros, adds credibility to this type of insanity.
If Zollinger didn’t believe it was true, then he simply should have said, “Sorry, this is ridiculous and pure fiction” — but he didn’t. Not only did he seem to be compelled enough to read this unhinged drivel, but he clearly seems to feel that there’s some “truth” to the notion that what took place in Charlottesville could have been part of some elaborate conspiracy against Trump.
Once upon a time, insanity like this was emphatically condemned and rejected by practically everyone. Only the fringe aspects of society even entertained this sort of lunacy. Yet over the last few years, especially since the rise of Donald Trump, a man who often pushes outrageous conspiracies, it’s becoming more and more accepted among the “mainstreams” of the GOP — which is extremely dangerous.
It’s one thing for progressives and conservatives to oppose each other based on ideological differences. It’s quite another when one side begins adding credibility to absolutely insane conspiracy theories, empowering legitimately unhinged people to act-out because they believe this nonsense is true.
I don’t care if Rep. Bryan Zollinger claims he doesn’t believe Obama had anything to do with it. The mere fact that an elected Republican said it was “plausible” was absolutely irresponsible and more than enough for some people out there to view this as his endorsement of these deranged conspiracy theories.
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