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Consumed By Conspiracy: W5


Catalogue Number:  CTV861
Producer:  CTV
Subject:  Canadian Social Issues, Criminal Justice & Law, Current Events, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, Guidance, Health, Media and Communications, Media Literacy, Psychology, Social Issues, Social Media, Social Sciences, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2021
Running Time:  21:12


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The term conspiracy has taken on new meaning in the age of social media. Despite what certain videos on YouTube and posts on Facebook would have you believe, there are not any mind-controlling nanomachines planted in the COVID-19 vaccine and no, Hollywood celebrities aren’t eating babies. These are all theories the conspiracy group QAnon pushes. Theories that legions of online followers accept as fact. Why do seemingly rational people believe things posted online over what governments and scientists tell them?

It’s easy to think that only people with funny-looking hats at a political rally are vulnerable to extreme conspiracy theories, but it’s simply untrue. There are no stereotypes. Education plays no role and neither does a person’s IQ. What most have in common, though, is the belief the world is made of villains and persecuted victims; they see themselves as the latter. Conspiracy theories fuel their sense of outrage and betrayal and give them a scapegoat for their grievances.

And those who believe don’t like to be called conspiracy theorists. In fact, they hate it. The way they see it, others are the ones incapable of thinking critically. So how do you talk to someone for whom facts seem irrelevant? Start by not mocking them, Montreal clinical psychologist Ghayda Hassan tells W5. It might be tempting, she admits, but that will only make it worse. Hassan notes the road back can take years and require professional help.


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