X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Blogs

Conspiracy Deathmatch: Birthers vs Truthers

31 July 2009

3:02 PM

31 July 2009

3:02 PM

Blimey. A new poll asks: "Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?"

Just 42% of Republican respondents answer "Yes". 28% say "No" and 30% "Aren’t Sure".

[Alt-Text]


As Dave Weigel points out, this is the GOP equivalent of an infamous poll in 2007 which reported that 35% of Democrats suspected that George W Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance.

Enquiring minds want to know, mind you, how many people think Obama was born in Kenya/Indonesia/Wherever and think Dick Cheney blew up the World Trade Center?

I really don’t know how one deals with this sort of nuttiness. But I suspect ignoring them may prove more profitable than wasting time denunking the nonsense spouted by people who won’t be satisfied, regardless of the absurdity of their claims. As Julian Sanchez argues:

Mainstream outlets may want to reconsider the point at which it’s worth taking up and debunking these sorts of fringe ideas, even at the risk of giving them undeserved exposure. The pattern we’re seeing in the new media environment is that these conspiracy theories end up getting pretty wide exposure anyway, but only taken up by real journalists once there’s a core group who can’t be disabused of their false beliefs without fairly serious threat to their self images, which is the worst of both worlds. The kooky ideas don’t end up being contained by major media’s refusal to take note of them, and the debunking is less effective when they do.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close