8/27/13

Writers Who Fall for Conspiracy Theories

I'm not often accused of being on the payroll of the CIA or the Los Angeles Police Department, but it's bound to happen with stories like my recent Mother Jones article about blogger Kim Dvorak—the so-called "investigative journalist" who's used a credulous San Diego television station to spread conspiracy theories about the death of journalist Michael Hastings.

Trying to convince conspiracy theorists of anything is often pointless, as a quick look at the comments on my article shows. They believe the government and media are engaged in a vague but elaborate scheme to control them, reality be damned, and I'm not interested in buying pencils from their cups, as Christopher Hitchens would say. What concerns me is the extent to which intelligent, engaged people also fall for this stuff, and how journalists and prominent news outlets reinforce their mistaken thinking when they fail to recognize the difference between serious reporting and conspiratorial claptrap.