Conspiracy As Commodity

Alex Seitz-Wald unpacks the business incentives of conspiracy theory mongers, like Boston-bombing truther Alex Jones:

[T]he economics explain Jones’ “crazy” behavior: He doesn’t care what you think about him — he only cares about his P1′s [hardcore radio listeners] and people who might become P1′s one day, so the incentive is always to bring some new salacious conspiracy to keep his core fans hooked. This is why every disaster is a “false flag” attack and why every item in the New York Times could be new evidence of the globalists’ nefarious plot.

This is typical of conspiracy entrepreneurs, said [historian Robert] Goldberg. “Once they’ve panned for gold in one conspiracy theory and then that one runs out, they move to another one, then they try to connect them, or you feed new details and new suppositions to keep up interest and excitement,” he told Salon. It’s not that they don’t believe what they’re preaching — Goldberg said most conspiracy entrepreneurs he’s interviewed seem like genuine believers — but this a place where the psychology and economics line up. To maintain belief, theorists have to constantly expand the number of conspirators as people debunk their theories, and that happens to also be good for the bottom line. Thus you end up with Jones’ vision of a massive worldwide conspiracy involving almost every powerful person in the world, the media, the scientific establishment and even Justin Bieber.

Previous Dish on conspiracy theories and InfoWars’ Boston trutherism here and here.