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#TrumpConspiracyCounter: April 1

HAPPINESS

Unfortunately, none of the contents of today’s #TrumpConspiracyCounter are an April Fool’s Day joke. In the time of a deadly pandemic, ask yourself– do you want someone who believes, promotes, and incites conspiracy theories and gross misinformation as your leader? Trump brags that his daily coronavirus press conferences are a “ratings hit.” But is his bloviating against the “lamestream media” often dumps practical information for a “hunch” or “theory.”

Meanwhile, conspiracy continues to spread like a brush fire. Conspiracy theorists at first speculated coronavirus was a bioweapon developed by Bill Gates before settling into the idea that the virus is a hoax. The latest theory is that Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force is a Deep State “Democrat plant” being used to discredit Trump. They’ve nicknamed him “Dr.#FearPorn.”
Source: “Right Wing Influencers Are Convinced Dr. Anthony Fauci is Working WIth Hillary Clinton to Undermine Trump,” Buzzfeed News

To be honest, I’ve not been staying on top of the conspiracy counter with everything else going on. But here’s some noteworthy recent hits:

#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (9)

175. March 29: At a press conference, Trump floats his theory that face masks are being sold on a black market and that’s why a huge jump in demand has happened rather than the obvious cause of a rapidly escalating pandemic:
“How do you go from 10-to-20-to-300,000…even though this is different. Something’s going on…Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?” And at the same press conference: “I don’t think it’s hoarding, I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding, but check it out. Check it out. I don’t know, I don’t know. I think that’s for other people to figure out.”

Source: “Trump Comments About Hospital Mask Thefts Spark Backlash From Doctors,” Newsweek

176. March 31: Bongino! Trump retweets conspiracy monger Dan Bongino.

177. March 31: Retweets Charlie Kirk of Turning Point America.

That’s all I got for this report. #TrumpConspiracyCounter will return in two weeks.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

#TrumpConspiracyCounter: March 25

HAPPINESS

#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (8)I’m still keeping the #TrumpConspiracyCounter rolling. I think it’s important to document. I’ve talked in counter updates before about how Trump’s day-to-day language is steeped in conspiracy theory– “fake news,” “witch hunt,” and “Deep State” being common ones (too common for tallying). The latest– Trump’s move to call coronavirus/ COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” even in a wave of racist attacks against Asians.

After dismissing the virus as being insignificant and pandemic fears as a “hoax,” Trump has tried to turn his act around to be more presidential. But a leopard has trouble changing his spots. Trump can’t resist his manic tweetstorms, blasting out an echo chamber of voices that reinforce him and these often include the far-right Christian conservatives, Alt-Right, and of course, conspiracy mongers. In the midst of this terrible time, when people are afraid of an emergency pandemic and their livelyhood, it’s truly disturbing to know that the President is promoting these conspiracists on almost a daily basis.

138.) March 12: Tweet: “Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted “coup” of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!”

139-147.) March 15-16: Tweetstorm! Clicks for retweeting Tom Fitton/Judicial Watch (2) former InfoWars and FOX regular Dan Bongino (1) and Mark Levin of Glenn Back’s network TheBlaze (6).

148.) March 20: During a contentious press conference talking about coronavirus, Trump refers to: “the State Department or as they like to call them the Deep State Department.” We include each mention (that we catch) of the “Deep State” as it’s conspiracy theory language and a stupid and reckless way to address his perceived enemies.

149-174.) March 22-25: TWEET TRAIN! Trump binges long strings of tweets including:  Tom Fitton (2) sex therapist and QAnon believer Dawn Michael (1) Lori Hendry (1) Donnie Trump Jr.’s link to Breitbart (1) Tomi Lahren (1) thebradfordfile(4) Breitbart News (7) Greg Jarrett (author of The Russian Hoax and The Witch Hunt) (7) Tom Fitton retweeted by James Woods retweeted by Trump (1) Charlie Kirk (1)

The #TrumpConspiracyCounter is on twitter: https://twitter.com/TrumpConspirac3

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Tea’s Weird Week: Introducing the #TrumpConspiracyCounter

TeaWeirdWeek

On Tuesday, I stood in line and shuffled into the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to witness a Trump rally. I like to have experiences outside of my comfort zone to try to figure out what this weird world is all about. This one was pretty intense– imagine a stadium of ten thousand people screaming, totally high on hatred. I wrote about just a few WTF moments at the rally for the Shepherd Express in an article titled “The Top Ten Wildest Lines from Last Night’s Trump Rally in Milwaukee.”

TrumpRally

This was my view at the Trump rally.

I had another reason for attending– this year I’m closely monitoring Trump’s promotion of conspiracy theories and have been working on a new feature of my writing here. I’ll end some “Tea’s Weird Week” columns with a tally called the #TrumpConspiracyCounter.

It’s a fact, of course, that Donald J. Trump is a conspiracy theorist, sometimes legitimately, sometimes opportunistically. This is one of the reasons I believe that my upcoming book American Madness is very timely.

To give you a quick rundown of Trump’s greatest conspiracy hits so far: he was the person with the biggest platform to promote Birtherism, the racist conspiracy that suggested Obama was born in Africa and forged his Hawaiian birth certificate; that there was massive voter fraud in California that led to Hillary winning the popular vote; he kicked off his presidency by saying a media conspiracy had underreported his inauguration size; climate change is a “Chinese hoax”; the sound of wind turbines “causes cancer”; Ted Cruz’s father was part of the conspiracy to kill JFK; vaccines cause autism; 79-year-old Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was possibly murdered; there is a liberal “War on Christmas” (and last year mentioned a sequel “War on Thanksgiving”); he’s also given many endorsements of personnel from InfoWars and other conspiracy theorists.

And that’s just off the top of my head. Why is this dangerous? Trump is in the highest position of authority, he has 72 million Twitter followers and a cult-like population that accepts his every word as fact.

Every time Trump speaks or tweets something that is a conspiracy or shares from a known conspiracy theorists this year, it’ll be added to the #TrumpConspiracyCounter. I can only take so much Trump talk, so if you notice his promotion of conspiracy, please do help me out by commenting on the blog here or e-mailing me at: teakrulos@gmail.com.

To be clear, this is only tracking claims or associations that have an element of conspiracy to them. To see a tracking of straight-up lies and deceptions, you can look at CNN’s collection of 15, 413 (and counting) gumballs.

Here’s where we are 16 days into the year.

#Trumpconspiracycounter2020
1.) On January 2, Trump tweeted: “Their partisan Witch Hunt is hurting our Country do [sic] badly, & only bringing more division than ever!” It’s a term he tweeted out 11 times in December 2019 alone. In a rambling letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on December 17, 2019, regarding the vote on impeachment, Trump says he is being treated unfairly and that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”

At least 25 people were hung, pressed to death, or died in jail as a result of the Salem witch trials. Trump mentioned “witch trials” in tweets January 6, 12, and 13, to the press on January 7, and at rallies Jan 9 and 14.

I think this is a good place to start with the #TrumpConspiracyCounter. Note that Trump’s daily language is steeped in terms like “fake news,” a supposed media conspiracy perpetrated against him by CNN, NBC, the “Failing New York Times,” and the Washington Post, all of whom he refers to as “the enemy of the people.”  Investigations into him are a “witch hunt” and equivalent to a “lynching.” All of this normalizes conspiracy ideas and the language surrounding it.

I was originally going to catalog ever time Trump says “witch hunt” on the counter, but his volume of using that and related terms ( “hoax,” “scam,” etc.) is too much. We’ll count this as number one and then move on.

2.) January 3: Trump retweets Alt-Right troll and conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, a correspondent of One America News Network. Posobiec has been a frequent InfoWars guest and promoter of Pizzagate, among other theories. The retweet was just a commendation of Trump’s killing General Soleimani, but the act of retweeting Posobiec is enough to get on the #TrumpConspiracyCounter.

3.) January 14: Back to the Milwaukee rally. I was wondering if he might leave some conspiracy gem, and sure enough, he brought back his old claim that Obama is guilty of “wiretapping” Trump Tower or in some other way spying on him, sometimes suggesting the FBI was part of “Spygate” as the conspiracy is known (there is no evidence of the theory). Here’s something I wrote for the Shepherd Express article but cut because of length:

“Barack Hussein Obama,” Trump told the booing crowd, “which [sic] administration loves spying on people’s campaigns. By the way, by the way, could you imagine if it was the other way and I spied on his campaign? What would these fake news people be doing?” Trump said, gesturing to the media in the back of the room.

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With my book American Madness out this year, it’ll be interesting to see how many clicks the counter racks up by the book release date (Aug.25 2020). We’re at 3 now. What do you guess the number will be?


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Pre-order my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (August 2020, Feral House)

Read all my columns from last year collected in Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review ($1.99/ free on Kindle Unlimited)

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“Journalist Tea Krulos has made a curious and enlightening career out of examining groups of people with odd beliefs.” — Skeptical Inquirer