Conspiracy-baiting and Anti-rumour Campaigns as Propaganda

In M. R. X. Dentith (ed.), Taking Conspiracy Theories Seriously. London: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 171-187 (2018)

Authors
David Coady
University of Tasmania
Abstract
Scholarly treatments of conspiracy theories and of rumours tend to follow a similar pattern. In both cases they usually begin by presupposing that the phenomena in question (conspiracy theories or rumours) should not be believed. They then seek to explain the puzzling fact that many people (though not of course the author or reader) are nonetheless inclined to believe them. I will argue that this is all wrong. Neither rumours nor conspiracy theories deserve their bad reputation. I will also argue that rumours and conspiracy theories have a bad reputation because of a certain kind of propaganda. Not all propaganda is objectionable, but this propaganda is objectionable, because it is anti-democratic propaganda.
Keywords conspiracy theory  rumour
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