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In this research inquiry, Jung examines the definition and history of conspiracy theories in order to explore new reasons why they may remain so popular, while so commonly being denounced. In his essay, Jung reviews past histories of corporations acting only in favor of maximizing profits, such as the notorious Big Tobacco companies’ “Operation Berkshire.” Jung then juxtaposes knowledge of that history with various contemporary conspiracy theories related to the dangers, risk, or surveillance-related intent of Covid-19 vaccines. Jung concludes his piece with a reminder about the very real consequences of immediate infection and long-term health consequences of Covid-19, and that these are not speculative. However, he cautions that it does a disservice to dismiss believers in vaccine conspiracy theories as “simply paranoid” or uneducated when this belief most likely stems from anxiety of the unknown and fear of past corporate corruption.

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conspiracy theories, reevaluating paranoia, Operation Berkshire, Covid-19 vaccine narratives, Rhet Dragons, research inquiry


Communication | Education | Rhetoric and Composition

Examining Conspiracy Theories: Reevaluating the Assumption that Their Supporters are Paranoid (2023-2024)