- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A CNN segment on Tuesday explored the proliferation and causes of conspiracy theories about President Trump by liberal news consumers.

Tall tales surrounding the FCC, the American Health Care Act, and other issues prompted a CNN chyron to read: “Is Trump turning liberals into conspiracy theorists?” Host Brianna Keilar and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza concluded that blind hatred of Mr. Trump along with social media echo chambers contribute to the problem.

“I do think it’s the effect of Donald Trump,” Mr. Cillizza said. “I think he makes them so angry, so unhappy with the process, so unhappy with the fact that he is president that they are literally willing to believe anything that makes him or the Republican Party look bad.”

The editor then referenced an article he wrote Monday that covered quickly-debunked conspiracy theories peddled online.

  • There was no beer celebration after the House passed its Obamacare repeal and replace bill.
  • Rape and sexual assault would not be pre-existing conditions under the AHCA.
  • The FCC is not targeting Stephen Colbert for a recent “c—- holster” joke he made about Mr. Trump.
  • The chief White House usher was not fired for political reasons.

Mr. Cillizza said the problem with such conspiracy theories is the speed at which they spread compared with corrections that come hours or days later. His Monday column noted how Vice News’s Alexandra Jaffe issued a clarification to her Capitol “beer” tweet after it had already been picked up by other outlets.

“By then, the idea of Republicans cracking beers while voting to take away health care from millions of people was already surging across the internet,” Mr. Cillizza wrote.

The editor noted that Mr. Trump is not completely innocent when it comes to making dubious claims.

“There’s no question that Donald Trump traffics more in conspiracy theory in bits of news that he extrapolates outward that wind up not being true than any presidential candidate — president — we’ve seen before,” he said. “That said, I think a lot of Democrats dislike Donald Trump so much that they’re ready to believe anything that is said about him.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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