Excellent article by Edward Snowden in The Guardian about conspiracy theories. This is an old trick in propaganda, focus the attention on something polarizing to make the masses react, so that you can act freely on what truly matters. Snowden knows what he is talking about, and I encourage you to read his short and to-the-point article to explain why conspiracy theories are so popular today. He also uses the work of Jesse Walker on conspiracy theories. I also use Walker to explain why there is such a need of coherent yet false stories to explain today's world that goes way too fast for all of us.
I am honored and happy that the University of the Netherlands asked me to record a lecture on propaganda. It is a great initiative to provide free lectures from university professors in the Netherlands. I have to say I did not choose the thumbnail picture for Youtube but I guess it had to be provocative. Let me know what you think about the video!
This survey is not recent, but I came across it today and thought it was an interesting way to also understand politics in Europe. I have no idea why Albania scores so high but I am not surprised by the excellent ranking of the Netherlands. Dutch newspapers have a long tradition of fact-checking and if reading them can be rather boring (the Dutch are not famous for their storytelling skills...), it is always solid information. On the other end of the spectrum, the UK scores very low, especially in the past years. This drop of 24 points is probably linked to the heavy pro-Brexit campaign of English tabloids and other conservative outlets such as the Tele(Tory)graph.
It is also interesting to cross these numbers with the rankings from Reporters without Borders on Freedom of the press. The UK holds the 33rd spot, the Netherlands is 6th, Albania is 83rd. Could it be that Albania has a long tradition of trusting the media imposed by the power during a tough communist regime? Could it be that British people are right not to trust their media (with a few exceptions, such as the excellent Guardian)? Could it be that the Netherlands should be in charge of the Pulitzer Prize, and maybe change its name so that the inventor of Yellow journalism is not the highest reward for quality investigation?