Conversation with a Conspiracy Believer

by | Sep 11, 2021 | Benjamin Radford, Conspiracy theories, Media Literacy, News, Skepticism | 0 comments

After many, many similar encounters, I thought I’d offer this…


Person A: Hey, you should check out this YouTube video, it’s full of interesting information, stuff “they” don’t want you to know. It’s really important to seek out multiple sources, question everything, and not just accept the “official story!”

Person B: Hm. It looks a little conspiracy-like, but okay… Before I do, I have a quick question: I agree it’s important to question everything and research multiple sources. Did you post those other sources? I’m just seeing this one video.

Person A: What do you mean?

Person B: If I’m understanding, you researched multiple sources about this topic. So what other sources did you look at, and what did you find?

Person A: Well, they’re in the video.

Person B: Right. I asked why, if multiple sources are so important, you only posted one source, the video above. What other sources did you look at, other articles or videos that challenge the claims made in video you posted above?

Person A: They’re in the video.

Person B: Well, they can’t be in the video, since that’s a single source. The video might address opposing views, but that’s one source—one point of view—not multiple sources questioning everything.

Person A: The other sources are out there, just look online. It’s not my job to do your research for you.

Person B: I’m not asking you to do any research for me, I’m just asking if you have read or watched any sources that challenge what’s in the video you posted. Like you said: It’s really important to seek out multiple sources, question everything, and not just accept the so-called “official story!” It seems that if you had spent time looking at the topic from different sources or points of view, you’d have posted links to those as well. But you didn’t, and I’m just wondering why. For example if I post a video saying jazz music is horrible—and also that people should listen to “all sides” of the debate—then I’d also post a video saying jazz music is awesome. So where are the other sides you considered?

Person A: Well, you can’t trust the media to tell you the whole truth. I’m not saying it’s all true, I’m just asking questions.

Person B: I agree with you. People need to question what they’re told, whether it’s MSNBC, Fox News, or some YouTube video. So why aren’t you questioning what you’re told in the video? I’m not saying the video is necessarily wrong (though I see some red flags), I’m just asking if you examined both sides of the claims, and if you did, why you trust this YouTube video over its responses.

Person A: So you believe the mainstream media?

Person B: Um… I didn’t say that… So you just watched and shared this one video, and didn’t look for any other sources or information, is that right? This is your version of “question everything”?

Person A: Whatever….




(Not entirely verbatim but pretty close…)




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