With conspiracy theory flow charts making their long-awaited comeback, it was only a matter of time before President Trump, who loves conspiracy theories significantly more than he loves charts, embraced them.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Trump’s insane tweeting took no rest, as the president did everything from attacking CNN International to declaring that he’s our favorite president.
But the tweet that got the most attention might have been one that retweeted a pro-Trump conspiracy site called MagaPill. The name is a combination of Trump’s signature catchphrase and a reference to the “red pill” that wakes people up out of the Matrix.
Apparently, the guy/bot/400 pound hacker who runs MagaPill lives in some kind of matrix himself, and put together a list of everything President Trump has accomplished. Trump, being the praise vampire that he is, retweeted it.
Since everything Trump tweets becomes news for about three seconds, MagaPill was suddenly the thing everyone working over the long weekend was told to write about to draw traffic.
Since I like traffic, I’ll write about it too.
I don’t really care about the “accomplishments list,” since Trump has accomplished nothing of note that’s good. But I do want to talk about another MagaPill tweet that got rolled into most of the stories about the site.
It’s this flow chart of “The Swamp”, which MagaPill’s writer deemed “interesting” and other sites called loony, wild, disturbing, and other adjectives.
At first glance, it looks like a layer-cake full of logos, drawings, red arrows, accusations, random nouns, government programs, mystical groups of powerful people, and a “woke” rabbit guiding you through all of it.
An article from ThinkProgress claimed that it “combines nearly every conspiracy theory imaginable” while Mediaite wrote it off as “strange and disturbing.”
And if you’re not familiar with conspiracy theory culture, it does look strange and disturbing. But those of us who’ve gone down the various rabbit holes the chart explores don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.
In fact, what’s on this chart can be found in different forms all over the internet. MagaPill is far from the first site to allege that a cabal of powerful families and religions control the masses through media brainwashing, fake terror attacks, and genetically engineered food.
This is the same garbage people like Alex Jones and a thousand other wannabes have been trafficking in for decades. Before that, it was anonymous pamphlets handed out on street corners. And before that, it was in anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic tracts that sold by the tens of thousands.
The chart traffics in the currency of conspiracy theories: long lists of nefarious items supposedly linked together by entities desiring to control global finance and thought. And only the select few “woke” redpillers know the truth, trying to wake the rest of us sheeple up before it’s too late.
The reality of these things is far more mundane than MagaPill makes it out to be. Yes, wealth is concentrated in a small percentage of people, but that’s certainly not new. And much of what it claims are the tools of control, such as GMO’s, weather weapons, predictive programming messages inserted in entertainment, the “secret space program” and the long defunct CIA program MKULTRA either don’t exist or don’t do what conspiracy theorists think they do.
Charts like this are designed to be impossible to argue with. You can’t debunk just one thing on them without their creator demanding “what about these other things?”
Whoever put it together (like many conspiracy theory memes, there’s no name on it) wants you to know how smart they think they are, and how far they’ve gone to tie it all together. Eventually, the debunker just gives up, and the chart maker declares victory.
But as for what it alleges, none of it is new – or even that interesting.