Fox starts in immediately with the conspiracy theories

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, May 3, 2011 20:36 EDT
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Looks like Fox News has really benefited from the small amount of time between Obama releasing his birth certificate and the death of Osama Bin Laden.  That's because they lost one conspiracy only to gain another: the inevitable claims that the Obama administration faked Osama Bin Laden's death.  Digby posted one example of them using a veneer of skepticism in order to float the claims, all with a textbook "just asking questions" excuse.

Media Matters has more.  It seems the narrative is, like with the birth certificate thing, that the conspiracy theorists aren't saying that Obama is lying, they're just, you know, asking questions.  They innocently want more proof.  That's all.  Who could have a problem with that, right?

In skepticism circles, we call this strategy of floating conspiracy theories while trying to front like you're the actual skeptic: JAQing off.  It stands for Just Asking Questions.  Definition: "JAQing off is the act of spouting accusations while cowardly hiding behind the claim of "Just Asking Questions".[1] The strategy is to keep asking leading questions in an attempt to influence listeners' views; the term is derived from the frequent claim by the denialist that they are "just asking questions", albeit in a manner much the same as political push polls. It is often associated with denialism in general."

You see it with Holocaust denialists and global warming denialists a lot, as well as 9/11 Truthers, Trig Truthers, and anti-vaccination nuts.  "South Park" did an amusing parody of how Glenn Beck uses this technique.


As amusing as this is in its obviousness, this is a very serious problem.  We should be discussing what Bin Laden's death means going forward.  Already you're seeing many people call for this to be an end to the war on terror and a return to normal life.  But if right wingers are successful in redirecting the conversation to whether or not this actually happened, then the more important conversation about stopping the war will be forgotten.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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