The slipperiness of conspiratorial rabbit holes

A supporter of serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) who was also an avid consumer of Fox News is suing the media company saying that he was defamed by Tucker Carlson.

Fox News was hit with a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday by Trump supporter Ray Epps after former host Tucker Carlson repeatedly called Epps an undercover FBI agent who orchestrated the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Carlson said Epps, an Arizona resident and former marine, “helped stage-manage the insurrection” – a conspiracy he broadcast in nearly 20 episodes.

Carlson also told viewers that Epps was recorded urging the mob to enter the Capitol building, but that he never entered himself.

Epps claims he and his wife, Robyn, have received death threats and that their lives were ruined because of Carlson’s conspiracies.

The lawsuit reads: “As Fox recently learned in its litigation against Dominion Voting Systems, its lies have consequences.”

The lawsuit describes Epps as a “loyal Fox viewer and Trump supporter” and rejeted [sic] the notion he was a federal agent.

Legal experts noted earlier this week that while Epps will have to prove that Carlson’s claims damaged his reputation, he presents a strong argument and therefore probably has standing.

David D Lin of the Lewis & Lin LLC law firm said he believed “there is a lot of potential risk here to Fox and they need to take the claims very seriously,” before adding that Carlson could be personally liable if the suit included him.

Epps could face charges himself for his role in the January 6 insurrection. He was questioned by the House January 6 committee, though a criminal investigation is still ongoing.

This indicates how once you start down the rabbit hole of conspiratorial thinking to defend the indefensible and to attack your political opponents, almost anything sounds plausible and you start making ever more reckless statements because that is how you keep getting attention.

Another example of this phenomenon is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., noted anti-vaxxer and conspiracist, who is running for the Democratic party nomination for president. He has suggested before that the covid-19 virus was engineered, something that has become an act of faith in the anti-vaccine movement. But that is old now and at a recent event he upped the stakes, suggesting (formulating it with the usual escape clause that “there is an argument”) that it was designed to differentially harm Caucasians and Black people and avoid harming Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people.

Here’s what he said …

“COVID-19. There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately … COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese … We don’t know whether it was deliberately targeted or not but there are papers out there that show the racial or ethnic differential and impact.”

If you’re interested you can see the video here.

Here’s the video.

That claim is preposterous on its face. Creating a virus in the lab is not easy. Designing it to target or avoid specific ethnic groups would be incredibly difficult, bordering on the impossible. But once you have gone into conspiratorial thinking, stretching the boundaries becomes easy to do. In a sense, this is a backhanded compliment to science, that people are so impressed with its achievements that they assign abilities to scientists that few would claim for themselves.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    Almost, but not quite, entirely offtopic: if you can, by one means or another, view the two seasons available of the UK TV Channel 4 series “Utopia”, please do so. It is extremely good, and very individual in its style, visually and musically. One plot point concerns an ethnically targetted virus, so this is a fictional concept that’s been doing the rounds for some time -- I’m not surprised a dolt like Kennedy would run with it.

  2. xohjoh2n says

    In a sense, this is a backhanded compliment to science, that people are so impressed with its achievements that they assign abilities to scientists that few would claim for themselves.

    No, they see science/scientific discoveries as falling into one of two camps:
    1. Made up bullshit that is of no use to anyone but is part of the conspiracy to steal their hard-earned tax dollars and hand it over to liberal elites who do nothing useful for society.
    2. Obvious trivia, hell they could have come up with that themselves if it wasn’t for the conspiracy keeping them down, stealing their tax dollars etc.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    The rabbits are trying to lure us into their holes! Get too close, they’ll sneak up behind you and push you in!

    Monty Python warned us!!1!

  4. says

    Apparently we have targeted viruses, injectable mind control chips, clones, and a vast array of technologies to hide the flat Earth from the people. But we can’t get high speed internet to rural homes.

  5. SailorStar says

    @4: not can’t--won’t. There’s not enough profit for those corporations to run high speed out to the rural areas. The same thing happened with electricity back in the early-to-mid part of the 1900s. The president had to get involved and force the telephone company to run phone lines out. The same people cursing the “gub’mint” and “WARRRRSHin’ton” that was bettering their lives. Not much changes, huh?

  6. says

    Matt G: The plaintiff here appears to be a right-wing Fox-watching idiot, but he is in the right on this issue, and deserves to get every penny he can from Fox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *