Many of my American colleagues, plus most of the world, breathed a sigh of relief on January 20 2021 when Donald Trump finally left the White House. Although just a few days earlier five people died in a battle for the heart of the nation, that his supporters believed would lead to his total victory, including martial law being imposed and executions of all apparent enemies like Bill Gates. Covid-19 denial goes hand in hand with this madness. As I have written elsewhere, conspiracy theories are not new, and not just part of the American scene. Dissenters founded America of course, attempting to escape the established crown, church, and centralisation. This is just part of it. Another strong element is social media companies being slow to combat hate crime, only acting when they saw falling users and governments ready to intervene. Since November 2020, 60,000 pages were removed from Facebook connected to the QAnon anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that supported Trump, but people just went elsewhere. We are right to breathe a sigh of relief. Immediately Joe Biden joined the Paris climate accords which brings definite hope for the world. In a world where the UK now has the highest death rate from Covid-19 we need all the good news we can get.
Jason Lee, ‘The Media and the Normalisation of Right-Wing Violence in the Brexit-Trump Era’, in Resist! Protest Media and Popular Culture in the Brexit-Trump Era, eds. Giuliana Monteverde and Victoria McCollum (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), 139-162.
Jason Lee, Nazism and Neo-Nazism in Film and Media (Amsterdam University Press, 2018)