UPDATE: It appears I’ll be on closer to 8:30 or 8:40 ET than to 8 ET…
Tonight I’ll be going on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” where Chris Hayes is hosting (in place of Lawrence O’Donnell). The topic is birthers and conspiracy theories, and I’ll be talking about my Mother Jones article alongside Jonathan Kay, author of the new book Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground. Show airs around 8pm, although I believe our segment will be later than that.
By the way, here’s O’Donnell with the original birther Orly Taitz last night, who quite predictably, appears to have gone through a “cognitive dissonance” resolution/motivated reasoning process and found a new way to rationalize her ongoing denial that President Obama was born in the U.S.
The more I think about it, the more the birthers and the Seekers (described in the Mother Jones piece) have in common. Both had adopted a worldview that essentially required them to bet it all on a single development: The Seekers had predicted that the world would end on a particular day, and the birthers had bet that Obama’s long-form birth certificate would have something wrong with it, not exist, etc.
And then, when the day and data finally arrived and the facts didn’t fit their theory (the world didn’t end, Obama had a perfectly good birth certificate) they of course couldn’t give up their prior views–to which they had committed themselves emotionally, financially, etc. These views had quite literally become a physical part of their brains. So what did they do?
Well, you saw the video.