The allure and dangers of conspiracy theories

Shadowland via The Atlantic – May/June 2020

Throughout history, conspiracy thinking has destroyed institutions, endangered democracies, and ended lives. Conspiracism threatens not just individual facts, but the idea that empirical truth exists at all. Now—fueled by the internet, partisan media, and a president who advances fantastical theories about a pandemic that has killed more than 82,000 Americans—conspiracy thinking is more powerful, and more dangerous, than ever.

Enter Shadowland, an immersive project from The Atlantic that explores how conspiracy theories captured the American mind. Shadowland traces the evolution of conspiracy thinking—from the rumor that helped spark the American Revolution to the rise of QAnon—and how we can regain our grip on reality.

Go down the rabbit hole…

(Arsh Raziuddin)

The Prophecies of Q

ADRIENNE LAFRANCE

American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase.

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(Erik Carter)

The Conspiracy Theorists Are Winning

JEFFREY GOLDBERG

America is losing its grip on enlightenment values and reality itself.

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(Chinwe Okona)

Birtherism of a Nation

ADAM SERWER

The conspiracy theories surrounding Obama’s birthplace and religion were much more than mere slander. They were ideology.

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(Max-o-matic)

The Paranoid Style in American Entertainment

MEGAN GARBER

How the mechanisms of reality TV taught us to trust no one

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(Chrissie Abbott)

I Was a Teenage Conspiracy Theorist

ELLEN CUSHING

Want to know why wild conspiracism can be so irresistible? Ask a 14-year-old girl.

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(Kensuke Koike)

New Fiction: “The Conspiracy Museum”

ROBIN SLOAN

A speculative address.

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(Sarah Illenberger)

Something in the Air

KAITLYN TIFFANY

The coronavirus pandemic is sparking baseless theories about the dangers of 5G. But the fear that wireless technology is slowly killing us isn’t new—and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

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