Likely and Unlikely Stories: Conspiracy Theories in an Age of Propaganda
The relationships between dominant practices of mass communication and widely accepted “conspiracy theories” require closer attention. The tendency of conspiracy adherents to selectively employ alternative information and communication resources while rejecting the “good information” readily available to the public has frequently been cited. Largely overlooked has been the basic character of an overall media environment wherein most information accessible to citizens is structured in accordance with commercial and/or state interests. Some conspiracy theories may appear plausible due to ongoing public exposure to integration propaganda pervasive within the mainstream media and a corresponding receptiveness to compatible expressions of agitation propaganda. Other conspiracy theories may gain appeal as “credible alternatives” to mainstream accounts, once longstanding media frames and narratives have been subjected to critical scrutiny.