Home Technology RFK Jr. Has Assembled His Anti-Vax Conspiracy Squad

RFK Jr. Has Assembled His Anti-Vax Conspiracy Squad

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AM: RFK Jr.’s campaign, as you wrote about, has been very aware of sort of appealing to online spaces. One of those ways that you do that are these highly produced, slick little videos that look good on social media. So I wasn’t surprised.

But I was surprised that the announcement event was so long. I was surprised that there wasn’t a little bit of attention to what the attention span is for an internet audience. I would definitely expect to see things that are highly produced, that are sort of media savvy, and that are also completely focused on burnishing RFK’s individual reputation. Because ultimately, in a long-shot candidacy like this, which may or may not be a sincere run for the White House, candidates are seeking to burnish their reputations in the worlds that they come from, and to even grow their market or their audience and become better known to a consumer base that they might not be known by already. Marianne Williamson, for example, had huge success with that.

MK: Another reason I can imagine why it was so long is because they knew how many eyes were going to be on this, and that it was probably one of their last big announcements and attempts to convince people to vote for him.

AM: The last big announcement. It’s the last big chance to raise money, really. And they need money to get on the ballot. You’re trying to appeal to everybody, and you’re trying to make the most of what is probably your last moment.

The Chatroom

Occam’s razor doesn’t really exist on the internet. Or with conspiracy theorists. That couldn’t have been more apparent after a cargo ship tragically crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore this week, resulting in the presumed deaths of six people. Instead of assuming that the collision was due to a systems failure on the cargo ship, online conspiracy theorists have taken to blaming everyone from Nickelodeon to the CIA to DEI initiatives, as reported by my colleague David Gilbert.

We still don’t know too much about how and why the Tuesday morning collision took place, but if one were to guess—it’s unlikely that wokeness is the primary culprit.

But hey, maybe you know better than me. Leave a comment or send me an email at [email protected] and let me know.

💬 Leave a comment below this article.

WIRED Reads

  • ‘Trump 2024 to the Moon’: MAGA Fans Go All In on Truth Social Stock: Trump Media and Technology Group, the company that controls Trump’s Truth Social, debuted as a public company on Monday and is already a meme stock, my colleague William Turton reports. The former president stands to gain more than $4 billion from his investment in the company—and that could help him cover his growing legal bills.
  • How Kate Middleton Conspiracy Theories Consumed the Internet: Bad PR, gamified social media platforms, bot networks, and the thrill of “victimless” skepticism led to the explosion of conspiracies surrounding Kate Middleton’s disappearance. David Gilbert (with a little help from me!) covered it for us this week.
  • Meta Kills a Crucial Transparency Tool At the Worst Possible Time: Pour one out for CrowdTangle. Meta is shutting it down ahead of the election, Vittoria Elliott writes. The long-beloved tool helped researchers and journalists track disinformation online and will be sorely missed.

Want more? Subscribe now for unlimited access to WIRED.

What Else We’re Reading

🔗 Was the 2020 election stolen? Job interviews at RNC take an unusual turn: After Trump’s coup at the Republican National Committee this month, new applicants at the committee are getting grilled during job interviews over whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen (The Washington Post)

🔗 The Truth vs. Alex Jones Is an Infuriating Look at How Well Misinformation Pays: Earlier this week, HBO dropped a new documentary exploring the Sandy Hook defamation case against Alex Jones and the proliferation of conspiracy theories. (Vanity Fair)

The Download

Everyone seemed to enjoy the TikTok I linked in the last newsletter, so here’s another one. This one is slightly stranger, but I’ve somehow trained my For You Page into delivering me every post anyone’s ever made with a song begging President Biden to cut the price of blue cheese. A salient take on our economic outlook, perhaps! Mainly, it’s been stuck in my head for weeks.

Also! We’re two weeks out from the launch of the Politics Lab podcast. Please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss it when it drops.

Anyways—thanks again for subscribing. You can get in touch with me via email, Instagram, X, and Signal (@makenakelly.32).





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