How Conspiracy Theories Can Lead To Extremism And How To Combat Them

In episode 5 of our video series with CARR on radical right extremism, we speak to Dr. Natalie James about conspiracy theories and how to combat them.

This is Episode 5 in a 6 part video series analyzing radical right extremists. Here’s episode 1, episode 2, episode 3, and episode 4.

Rantt Media has been partnered with the Centre For Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR) for about 3 years now. We’ve published over 150 articles from CARR’s network of PhDs, historians, professors, and experts analyzing extremism and combating disinformation. Now, we’re doing a 6 part video series analyzing radical right extremism and discussing how we can tackle this growing threat.

We saw the culmination of the threat of radical right extremism at the January 6 insurrection and in an increasing number of terrorist attacks over the past several years. We take this threat seriously at Rantt and think it’s important for media organizations to feature extremism experts and researchers in their coverage.

In this episode, we have Dr. Natalie James, an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham and Head of the Counter-Extremism Research Unit at CARR. We discussed how conspiracy theories like QAnon are being used in extremist recruitment, how to approach conversations with conspiracy theorists, the feasibility of countering conspiracy theories at scale, the importance of education in countering conspiracy theories, and how America as a whole can grapple with the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories. You’ll find time-stamps of what we discussed below:

Intro – 0:07
Natalie’s background and research – 1:08
What students tell Natalie they’re concerned about – 5:40
QAnon correlated with the rise of extremism – 9:05
How to approach conversations with conspiracy theorists – 15:55
Is a counter-conspiracy theory program possible at scale? – 26:45
The importance of education in countering conspiracy theories – 31:00
The practical recommendations for the Biden Administration – 44:40
Right-wing lawmakers and media’s role in perpetuating conspiracy theories and how to address it- 50:39
A whole society approach to counter-extremism – 1:00:15

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Interview // CARR / Conspiracy Theories / Disinformation / Radical Right