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American journalist delves into how US politics and media sew distrust

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-08-16 15:57

Photo taken on March 28, 2022 shows the Capitol building in Washington, DC, the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

Sarah Kendzior traces a "conspiracy culture" throughout American history in her newest book They Knew.

Kendzior, born in 1978, is an American journalist, author, anthropologist, researcher and scholar.

In a conversation with a reporter of Grid News, Kendzior explained how American politics and media obfuscate truth and erode trust in institutions — and how American history is littered with people who gained power and wealth by manipulating distrust.

Kendzior argues it's the "rugged individualism" that's prized in America — the commercialism - combined with the lack of a responsible, transparent state that provides public services that enables the con men make their move.

Some of the examples she laid out in the book, including lesser-known figures like Norman Baker, thrive in the Great Depression. They thrive in times of great chaos and instability, and they bring that incredible confidence and arrogance. They do it within a system that is, one, not providing for the public, and, two, not instilling any kind of consistent accountability, especially on the wealthy and powerful, Kendzior explains.

Kendzior also says new methods of communications interact with "conspiracy culture" and become much more worrisome because of algorithms.

That is very damaging because a lot of people out there really are just trying to find the truth, Kendzior adds.

"They're presented with an enormous number of conflicting and terrifying stories, and they want to get to the bottom of it all. It's become harder and harder to navigate that maze because of roadblocks, but also because people are directed into certain places and are not able to see other ones," Kendzior says.

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