Discussion #4: Response to Pandemic Conspiracy Theories

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Part 1: Are you a Conspiracy Theorist or Skeptic? Please answer the following question first:

  • How do you feel about conspiracy theories, personally? In other words, are you someone who buys into conspiracy theories? What conspiracy theories do you believe in, or have you followed in the past?

Part 2: Discussion Questions

1.) According to John Oliver, why are conspiracy theories so appealing? Furthermore, how does that “appeal” relate to all of the conspiracy theories that have arisen during COVID-19? (for this second part, you could refer to examples or evidence from “Coronavirus: Conspiracy theories…”)

2.) In the video and article, both authors discuss President Trump’s role in starting and spreading conspiracy theories. Do you agree that Trump is being irresponsible by spreading false information about COVID-19 and other subjects? Why or why not?

3.) According to John Oliver, what are three questions that you can ask yourself in order determine if a story is a conspiracy theory? And, on this subject, how do you think our first essay and what you learned over the first month of class, can help in identifying conspiracy theories, propaganda, and fake news?

4.) After reading “Conspiracy Theorists, Far-right Extremeists…” what surprised you (or stood out to you) in this article?