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Maxwell School News and Commentary

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Barkun quoted in piece on TWA 800 conspiracy theories

Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science, says internet forums and social media platforms have served as mass media outlets without gatekeepers. They allow unconventional ideas to quickly become mainstream. "Now anyone with an idea, no matter how bizarre, has a way of potentially getting it in front of fairly large audiences," he says. "That has eroded what was once a firm boundary between the fringe and the mainstream."
July 9, 2021

Barkun comments on QAnon's March 4 failure in Business Insider article

"QAnon is dealing with a very difficult cognitive-dissonance situation," says Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science.
March 5, 2021

Barkun quoted in Business Insider piece on QAnon's Trump conspiracy theory

"You really feel like you're in an Alice in Wonderland world when you start going through the ideas of the sovereign citizens," says Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science. "They will construct more and more complex rationalizations that push the events that they wish for farther and farther into the future." 
March 1, 2021

Barkun participates in discussion panel on QAnon

The panelists discussed the dangers of conspiracy theories, the processes of joining and leaving cults (and whether QAnon is itself a cult), and the threat that the United States faces from QAnon now that Joe Biden is president. 
February 17, 2021

Thorson quoted in National Geographic article on conspiracy theories

Emily Thorson, assistant professor of political science, was quoted in the National Geographic article, "Why people latch on to conspiracy theories, according to science." 
January 11, 2021

Reeher discusses the media's treatment of Trump in The Hill

"I do think it is clear, after almost four years of his presidency, that editorial choices...are very clearly very critical of the president [Donald Trump]," says Grant Reeher, professor of political science and director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute.

September 23, 2020

Jackson cited in Slate article on capitalizing white

"We don’t need any more mechanisms to make whiteness more visible," says Jenn Jackson, assistant professor of political science.

August 12, 2020

Barkun cited in VICE articles on conspiracy theories

According to Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science, three core principles characterize most conspiracy theories. First, the belief that nothing happens by accident or coincidence. Secondly, that nothing is as it seems: The "appearance of innocence" is to be suspected. Finally, the belief that everything is connected through a hidden pattern.

July 20, 2020

Barkun quoted in Foreign Policy article on QAnon movement

"If there is any lesson to be taken from this bizarre episode, it is that, in the age of Trump, no claim seems too preposterous to find an audience and that, in the age of the internet and social media, these beliefs and those willing to accept them are only too easy to bring together," says Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science. He was cited in the Foreign Policy article "QAnon’s Madness Is Turning Canadians Into Potential Assassins."
July 15, 2020

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