Political Animal


February 12, 2012 2:06 PM Obama is an Atheist Fascist Muslim Communist

By Jesse Singal

Great little nugget from The Boston Globe Ideas section’s weekly roundup of interesting research findings (and if you don’t read Ideas, you really should, as it has consistently fascinating stuff):

All the conspiracies are true!
Is Osama bin Laden still alive? Or was he already dead before the US raid that supposedly killed him? These two conspiracy theories appear to contradict each other, but psychologists in Britain have found that such logical problems don’t deter conspiracists from believing both. When people were asked about the Osama bin Laden raid, endorsing one of these theories didn’t preclude endorsing the other. Likewise, when asked to evaluate various theories about the death of Princess Diana, even people who arguably should’ve known better — British students in a psychology research methods class — had trouble sorting things out. Believing that Diana faked her own death was significantly associated with also believing that she was killed by business enemies of the Fayeds, which was, in turn, strongly associated with believing that she was killed by a rogue cell of the British secret service. The simultaneous acceptance of these conflicting theories seems to be motivated by an overarching belief in deceptive coverups by authorities.

Study is here.

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.


  • c u n d gulag on February 12, 2012 2:34 PM:

    I call this "cognitive dissidents" - when people not only openly challenge what they say they believe, but contradict it in the next sentence.

    "I hate Obama because he's a Muslim. And he's doesn't believe in a God. He's an Atheist!"


  • emjayay on February 12, 2012 2:37 PM:

    Also Obama is a stupid fraud who can't put two words together without reading a teleprompter, and so making jokes about that is hilarious and just the thing for a potential presidential candidate (like Gingrich, the brilliant intellectual one) to repeat.

    All the far right (or pretending to be) candidates and righty stars speaking at CPAC are so smart that they don't need such technology. Those clear panels appearing in front of them are only to deflect drafts or something.

  • Michael W on February 12, 2012 2:40 PM:

    Why am I not surprised. Interesting study, though.

  • coldhotel on February 12, 2012 2:45 PM:

    c u n d gulag, many a right wing Christian might tell you that if he is a Muslim, then he believes in a false god, which is the same as not believing in God, which makes him an atheist.

  • arkie on February 12, 2012 3:15 PM:

    My favorite: Obama is poorly educated, stupid, and incompetent leader who is successfully leading a huge conspiracy to destroy the country.

  • Cal Gal on February 12, 2012 5:01 PM:

    Same thing today in NYT lead story about people receiving the most government assistance being against government assistance. Don't underestimate the power of cognitive dissonance.

  • Cha on February 12, 2012 5:18 PM:

    Stupid Ignorant people who like being sucked in by the brainwashing hate squad. Fucking fox, pigstye limbuagh, asshole beck, cnn'sbreitbart, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

  • TCinLA on February 12, 2012 6:36 PM:

    I get my primary health care from the VA, and there are a lot of older guys there (naturally). You go wait, and all the TVs in the waiting rooms are on Fox News. Once I went over and asked the clerk if he was aware of the fact that if Fox had their way the VA would be shut down and he would be out of a job. He replied that he indeed did know that, but that the patients asked for it to be on. I was in a mood not to be fucked with, so I went back in the waiting room and raised my voice and asked them if any of them were aware that if the people pushing the crap they were watching had their way, that their health care system would be shut down. At that point one of them stood up and accused me of being a "damn liberal."

    Always good to be reminded that the majority of the guys I knew in the service were idiots.

  • James Van Hise on February 12, 2012 9:00 PM:

    The US isn't alone in having conspiracy theories. About a year ago on NPR they had an interview with a woman who was in one of the subway cars during the London terrorist attack a few years ago and she explained that in the UK there are people who actually believe there was no terrorist attack and that it was just a discharge of electricity in the subway which the government is trying to "cover up." They even claim that no bus was blown up in London by terrorists and that it's all a lie and that anyone who says otherwise is in the pay of the British government.