Protesters in Tallinn wearing tin foil hats

Two stories from opposite sides of the political spectrum over the past week show quite how far such theories have come.

We normally think of conspiracy theories as the preserve of cranks, the jet-fuel-won’t-melt-steel-beams nutters who think 9/11 was an inside job, or those strange individuals convinced that everyone from 3rd century BC Greek astronomers to Stephen Hawking have perpetuated the myth that the world is spherical rather than flat.

But in recent months we’ve seen conspiracy theorising edging ever further into the mainstream, and two stories from opposite sides of the political spectrum over the past week show quite how far it has come.

First, we had George Soros backing a “secret plot to thwart Brexit” on the front page of the right-wing Daily Telegraph, detailing a donation made by the financier to what was in fact a very public campaign for a second referendum on EU membership. The story painted the Best for Britain organisation as a shadowy cabal aiming to undermine the will of the people, accompanied by a dose of dog-whistle anti-Semitism.

Then, just a few days later, The Times ran a story about Oxfam employees paying local women to attend sex parties in Haiti – women from the same damaged communities they were meant to be helping. This time around, it wasn’t a newspaper pushing conspiracy theories, but a range of left wingers who suggested that the story had been released in a bid to punish Oxfam and discredit the charity’s work.

The fact that The Times had published its scoop mere weeks after the publication of Oxfam’s damning report on global inequality was used to argue that the newspaper must be motivated by vengeance rather than justice (or even just a good story).

In a blog post, Richard Murphy, a respected left-wing expert on tax, cited …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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