Conspiracy theories often conjure up the image of shadowy characters running the show behind the curtain. Cross the system and the system will take you out. This idea makes for a great John Grisham novel but rarely represents reality. My guest tonight is an expert of conspiracy theories and how they become a part of our culture. Do conspiracy theories expose nefarious plots to undermine the system or simply a way to address political shortcomings and help quell the feeling of ineptitude?
Joseph E. Uscinski received his bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University, his Master’s from University of New Hampshire, and his Doctorate from University of Arizona. His research has appeared in Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and Critical Review among other scholarly outlets. His first book, The People’s News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism (New York University Press, 2014) addresses how audience demands drive news content. His second book, American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford University Press, 2014) coauthored with Joseph Parent, examines why people believe in conspiracy theories.