Political Knowledge Does Not Guard Against Belief In Conspiracy Theories

When the September jobs report showed that unemployment had dropped to an unexpectedly low 7.8%, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch helped launch a new conspiracy theory when he tweeted: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

Even though the unemployment statistics are produced by the respected and politically insulated Bureau of Labor Statistics, Welch’s theory was disseminated by numerous conservative pundits and amplified by a wave of irresponsible media coverage.

As we approach Election Day, it’s worth taking a look back and assessing the damage. [cont.]

Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth (Model Politics)