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.