Final Paper – Why Conspiracies Exist
The general public goes about their daily lives without a care in the world, picking up newspapers in the morning, listening to the radio in the car on the way to work, glancing at the news on the television screen as they walk in – the majority do this, and before early June of 2013, weren’t completely distrusting of their government. In early June of 2013, Edward Snowden, former employee of the governmental organization, the CIA, released a series of top secret documents he had gathered during his time there and revealed them to the public; this created a massive surge of distrust towards the American government, leading to a series of conspiracies surrounding it. According to Lee Rainie, 87% of people know about the surveillance the government enacted upon their activities and 34% of those changed their habits on all electronic devices, whether by deleting some apps, or changing their privacy settings. Although many gave no thought to judging their government automatically after receiving the news, there were many factors that went into presenting the information to the public. This leads us to the question of what impact that information versus the media bias has on people - the reason conspiracies exist is because of the bias and misrepresentation of information that is highly prevalent in the media overall in our society.
To address the question of why conspiracies exist, at least within America, the audience must first consider what a utopian society would be like without them – the government would stick to the checks and balances within the different branches, there would be control within large corporations such as the NSA and CIA, and most, if not all, of the population would be in agreement with their various activities. For this to be possible in the first place, biases, stereotypes, and other forms of misrepresentation and controversies would have to be eliminated from the mindsets of the American people (making for very dreary conversation within social groups and gatherings), which would be quite difficult, if not completely impossible. Bias is what causes people to question common things such as whether or not aliens or even Bigfoot exist; it is also what causes stereotypes, not to mention the different sides of media presented. A perfect society is not possible – therefore a world without conspiracies also is not.
In order to begin to prove that bias is the underlying cause of controversies and conspiracies, the definition of one must be made. There are two types of conspiracies: regular conspiracies, and super-conspiracies. Martha Lee, author of the book, Conspiracy Rising: Conspiracy Thinking and American Public Life, draws the distinction between regular conspiracy theories, which are just a single idea, such as whether Kurt Cobain, singer of Nirvana, really overdosed, or was killed, and “super-conspiracies,” which combine systemic and event conspiracies in which a malevolent...