Over the past 10 years, a growing online community of conspiracy theorists and hoaxers known as “truthers” has come to question the official narratives behind every mass shooting that is heavily covered by the media. A common thread in these theories is the government’s role in staging the tragedy with the help of mainstream news, in order to manipulate the general population. In this continuously recycled narrative, the death and destruction of the tragic event is faked, and victims and their families are “crisis actors,” who are performing a role in order to elicit sympathy that can then be used to advocate for new gun laws, or anti-terror surveillance that restricts Americans’ freedom. The commitment to these narratives has escalated to the point where victims are frequently harassed, mocked, and even threatened in retaliation for their supposed deception.
We meet some of the proponents of false flag theories, including Side Thorn, a conspiracy theorist in Texas who has been confronting survivors of the Sutherland Springs mass shooting, as well as Tony Mead, administrator of the largest Facebook community dedicated to False Flag narratives, and Wolfgang Halbig, a former school administrator who made a name for himself with the claim that no one died at the Sandy Hook shooting. We also talk to people targeted by hoax theories, like Lenny Pozner whose son Noah was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, David Hogg, who was accused of being a “crisis actor” for his calls for gun control after the mass shooting at his high school in Parkland, Florida, and Frank Pomeroy, whose daughter was killed in the Sutherland Springs shooting.
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