Truthers: How Conspiracy Theories Spread

Download Audio
Hank Black, left, hold up a sign at a meeting of the North Texans for 9/11 Truth group in Dallas in July. (AP)
Hank Black, left, hold up a sign at a meeting of the North Texans for 9/11 Truth group in Dallas in July. (AP)

On September 11, 2001, two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in NYC, one plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and a final plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But there's a very vocal minority that doesn't believe this story: Truthers.

These so called "Truth Activists" cite evidence that they say points to an alternative, and much more sinister version of events, evidence that has been proved wrong countless times.

Jonathan Kay writes for the Canadian newspaper, National Post. In his book "Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground," Kay writes that his first interaction with Truthers came in 2008 when he wrote about  Canadian parliament candidate and truther, Lesley Hughes.

In a blog post for the National Post, Jonathan Kay called Hughes' Truther opinions on 9/11, "nutbar." His inbox was flooded with emails within hours. Kay writes that, as a member of the media, he was used to conspiracy theorists flooding his inbox, but writes "the Truthers who contacted me were different. Most were outwardly 'normal,' articulate people who kept up with the news and held down office jobs--but who also happened to have become obsessively fixated on very particular, and very radical theories about the people running the U.S. government."

Kay points to the Internet as a leading factor in the rise of conspiracy theories. He says that the web not only allows people to self publish (dodging the obstacle of editors and fact checkers), but also allows people to bypass mainstream media and only read conspiracy theory "news sites."


  • Jonathan Kay, author of "Among The Truthers: A Journey Into America's Growing Conspiracist Underground"

This segment aired on September 2, 2011.


More from Here & Now

Listen Live