- President Donald Trump resisted at first using the term “deep state.”
- The conservative media now reports frequently on Trump’s allegations of a conspiracy against him fuelled by multiple government agencies.
- Trump has long relied on presenting an alternate reality through conspiracy theories.
President Donald Trump used to be concerned that using the term “deep state” to describe a supposed political conspiracy against him in the FBI and Department of Justice would make him seem “too much like a crank,” according to The New York Times.
But lately, he has been pushing forth questionable conspiracy theories with little to no proof behind them. And for the right-wing media and his base, the theory of a deep-state conspiracy to bring Trump down from within his own administration seems to be working.
Last week, Trump raised eyebrows and drew rebukes with his claim that the FBI under the Obama administration had placed a “spy” in his campaign for political purposes. The claim, dubbed “Spygate,” immediately caught fire. Within hours, it was being reported as credible by conservative-leaning sites such as Fox News, the Daily Caller, and Breitbart.
Reporting soon after quickly revealed there was indeed an informant, a British professor named Stefan Halper, sent to meet with Trump campaign officials. Halper’s probing, however, had little to do with Trump himself and more with Russian interference in his presidential bid.
He allegedly spoke to two campaign officials, George Papalodopous and Carter Page, both of whom have been subjects of inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for their suspicious contacts with Russia.
This newest “Spygate” claim is not just a brief publicity stunt, but a key aspect of the President’s communications strategy. As the New York Times explains, the foundation of much of Trump’s support is an “us vs. them” narrative that successfully convinces his base the mainstream media is duping and lying to them about fundamental realities of the world around them.
Trump has long created and repeated highly controversial conspiracy theories to legitimise this narrative and energize support. For years before his campaign for president, he was best known for championing the birther movement, questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.
During his campaign, he also alleged that Muslims in Jersey City “cheered and celebrated” the 9/11 terrorist attacks attacks on the World Trade Center (which police deny), suggested former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was a murder, claimed vaccines cause autism, and implied Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
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