Are Conspiracy Beliefs on the Rise?

livescience.com | 9/20/2019 | Liberty Vittert - Washington University if St. Louis
eymira (Posted by) Level 3
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Have the internet and social media created a climate where Americans believe anything is possible? With headlines citing now as the age of conspiracy, is it really true?

In a word, no.

Internet - People - Conspiracies - Number - Americans

While it may be true that the internet has allowed people who believe in conspiracies to communicate more, it has not increased the number of Americans who believe in conspiracies, according to the data available.

A "conspiracy theory" is a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot, usually by powerful conspirators.

Example - Pizzagate - Theory - Washington - Sex

For example, take Pizzagate, the theory that Washington elite engaged in child sex trafficking at the basement of a D.C. pizzeria, which 9% of the American population believe to be true.

Over 29% of the American population believe there is a "Deep State" working against President Donald Trump. Nineteen percent believe that the government is using chemicals to control the population.

Conspiracy - Theories - Population - % - Americans

These conspiracy theories are not simply restricted to a fringe population. At least 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory, ranging from the idea that the 9/11 attacks were fake to the belief that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.

There are no major comprehensive, longitudinal studies on Americans' attitudes toward conspiracy theories, mostly because it was not rigorously measured until about 10 to 20 years ago.

Researchers - Considerate - Amount - Work - Years

However, researchers have done a considerate amount of work in recent years in an attempt to understand this apparent phenomenon.

Political scientists Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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