Political conspiracy theories may date back to ancient times, but in the modern era they can go from fringe to famous in less than a work week.
On a recent Monday, a female supporter fainted behind President Barack Obama as he delivered public remarks health care. By Wednesday, the conservative The Weekly Standard linked to a blog post alleging the woozy woman was staged, which was picked up by popular Drudge Report. On Thursday, Sarah Palin posted the story on her Facebook page, saying she had to laugh at how easy it is to believe such a theory. Less than 45 minutes later, her comments had already been shared 1,400 times and liked by more than 5,100 people. (It’s now up to 8,073 shares and 30,674 likes.)
Conspiracy theories about government and politics remain surprisingly prevalent and confoundingly persistent: Half the American public believes in at least one, according to pollsters. And experts say today’s hyper media and partisan political climate help push outlandish theories far and wide and fast.