From election to COVID, 9/11 conspiracies cast a long shadow

National

FILE – In this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, Jacob Anthony Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, a QAnon believer, speaks to a crowd of President Donald Trump supporters outside of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office where votes in the general election are being counted, in Phoenix. Twenty years on, the skepticism and suspicion first revealed by 9/11 conspiracy theories has metastasized, spread by the internet and nurtured by pundits and politicians like Donald Trump. One hoax after another has emerged, each more bizarre than the last: birtherism. Pizzagate. QAnon. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

While the Sept. 11 attacks united much of America in grief and anger, conspiracy theories about what happened that day uncovered a well of distrust. Twenty years on, the skepticism and suspicion first revealed by claims that 9/11 was an inside job have metastasized. They’ve been spread by the internet and nurtured by pundits and politicians like Donald Trump.

One hoax after another has emerged, each more bizarre than the last. There’s birtherism and pizzagate and QAnon and now baseless hoaxes about the pandemic and vaccines. Experts say that while conspiracy theories are nothing new in America, the internet has allowed them to spread farther and faster than ever before.

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