Before we knew the names of the victims, the motive behind the attack, or even how many shooters there were, some conspiracy theorists thought they figured out what had happened at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.
Alex Jones, the antigovernment broadcaster who reaches millions every day through his syndicated radio show and Infowars Web empire, speculated the shooting may be a “false flag” operation intended to distract Americans from Syria, as well as the anniversary of the Benghazi attack and the simmering IRS scandal.
“You’ve got all the other scandals, so this is a great way to change the subject,” Jones said on his radio show Monday morning, which is broadcast on more than 80 stations across the country. “It’s a way to divert everyone.”
For Jones, the shooting may be the latest in a long line of “false flag” operations, in which the government allegedly stages phony terror attacks to gin up popular support for disarming Americans or taking away their civil liberties. He confidently labeled the Boston Marathon bombing a hoax within hours of the explosion, but was more circumspect Monday.
“It may be real crazies, but look at the timing. Obama rolling out a national campaign against guns yesterday, and then this happens,” he said.
For conspiracy theorists, the “why” for such tragedies is always the same. “We’ve all got to give up our rights because it’s so scary. It’s all about mind control,” Jones explained.
And he’s not alone. On conspiracy message boards and forums, users who see themselves as citizen journalists have cut together YouTube videos that they claim show possible “actors” at the scene. One video shows a near-victim laughing with a local TV reporter when the two didn’t realize they were on air. “One would think at a moment such as this, a reporter and a ‘near victim’ wouldn’t be laughing, especially when they didn’t realize they’d be caught on camera,” the conspiracy website Before It’s News explained.
On the subReddit dedicated to conspiracy theories, one user wrote, “Thought the Navy Yard shooting was just a shooting until I saw this CNN tweet: “CNN: THE ATF HAS SENT SAME SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM THAT HELPED TAKE DOWN BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECT IN BOAT.” Others murmured in agreement.
After Sandy Hook, Boston, Aurora, and 9/11, it’s hardly surprising that conspiracy theories emerge around such tragic incidents, but the speed is always startling.
What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.
The majority and minority leader of the House are both saying "California's veterans are not to blame for being mistakenly overpaid, after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that officials are trying to claw back millions in bonuses from California National Guardsmen. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the efforts to recoup the money 'disgraceful,' and asked for the Department of Defense to waive the repayments soldiers would be forced to make if they inappropriately received re-enlistment bonuses for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's looking for a "legislative fix" in the lame-duck session.
A new Investor’s Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each earning 41% support. On the one hand, the poll has been skewing in Trump's favor this year, relative to other polls. But on the other, data guru Nate Silver called the IBD/TIPP poll the most accurate in 2012.
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in a new ABC News tracking poll, "her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent. Clinton led by only four points in the last ABC/Post poll on Oct. 13.
"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."