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A recent story in a Las Vegas newspaper ("Shooters in Metro ambush that left five dead spoke of white supremacy and a desire to kill police", Las Vegas Review-Journal 6/8/2014) now has 15,793 comments. Reading through a small sample of them, I wasn't surprised by the usual teabugger vs. libturd name-calling.

And I expected a smattering of various sorts of conspiracy theories. But I wasn't expecting the sheer volume of (hundreds and hundreds of) comments insisting that this event was a "false flag" or "psyops" hoax. For example:

4 corporations own the entire MSM

Wake up you dumb sheep

These supposed false flag shootings are becoming more sloppy and nonsensical with each hoax

This is another HOAX patriots…..Another Homeland Security DRILL. Send these Jokers back to Hollywood……..Wellaware1 (dot) com 

this is beginning to look like another contrived, scripted, government run false flag to shape the national gun control debate the direction of gun confiscation to remove self defense from law abiding gun owners.

These false flag shootings are getting REALLY OLD…One right after another, they are DETERMINED to take your guns away america, and then, you will be crushed!

This looks like another false flag operation, just like the stupid shooting in Kansas. These people all have FBI handlers.

when they jump and every time they jump on a story have allot of infor and target a people ..IT IS A FALSE FLAG SET UP BY THIS.. criminal enterprise.. in power

This reeks of false flag.

False flag psyop to distract the masses and pin blame on any and all political opponents

Yet another staged shooting with mind-controlled assets. This tactic is getting very old…

They are drugging the water so people can't think logically and sniff out these false flag operations of Obamas.

False flag op. Zerobama wants his race war.

I smell a false flag. This is just too convient and well timed.

This sounds like a government black ops project.

Bergdahl is a psy-op. This shooting is a psy-op. Sandy Hook was questionable at best. "We are in an info-war and we are losing that war"-Hillary Clinton.

This sounds like a psy-op to demonize the tea party and the right in general!
You might see more of this and I would be willing to bet this is a left wing op.
Some time in the future we may see a really big event, "like OK City" that will be the excuse to come for our weapons and crush us.

Another day another bs media HOAX. …"News" "content" fabricated with actors. "Reality" tv fear propaganda and order out of chaos lies from our elite friends in Hollywood. Wake up patriots…….Wellaware1 (dot) com

While some of the false-flag/psyops commenters seem to think that the whole incident was staged or perhaps just invented by the lying media, others think that some sort of mind-control was involved, e.g.

One comment that I can't now locate blamed radio waves, specifically those associated with the TETRA project, which the commenter seemed to think is some kind of United Nations mind-control plot responsible for a wave of mental illness among Iraq and Afghanistan vets.

A few commenters accepted the reality of the shootings but felt that the perpetrators didn't go far enough:

Why do White Supremist always shoot white cops? Go shoot black folk like they been killing Whites for god's sake! Or, shuck a libtard or two. Dam…

Its a good start but what we really need is more Tim McVeighs……you filthy, aids ridden, liberal scumbag

It was not surprising to see  a few thousand Obama-hating posts, and a certain amount of unadorned racism:

You black people need to learn how to shoot. Every time you kill one of your homies you wound six people and put them on disability. You're obsessed with hanging onto your package while holding your gun sideways over your head and firing away while hopping from foot to foot, yelling mufuggah, mufuggah. That's no way to shoot.

Hey, is that your daddy in your avatar? Sure look like a dumb azz jig that did your moms….

 But what surprised me the most was the number and intensity of anti-semitic comments, e.g.

The tea bags are controlled opposition funded by jew billionaires. It's basically a way to keep disenfranchised Whites from forming legitimate opposition to a regime that intends to wipe them out in several generations.

America is zionist-occupied territory. The German National Socialist party – an insufficiently radical nationalist opposition to jewish Bolshevism – has not existed since 1945.

When the establishment in the US attacks its critics as "Nazis", it does not mean they are "Nazis" themselves. The "establishment" is genocidal jews and those in their employ.

The jews own or control most of the media. They account for 80% of the political donations to Democrats and 50% of the political contributions to Republicans. They account for the last three heads of the Federal Reserve Bank. It goes on and on and is documented on web-sites like Who Controls America.

Hitler was "right wing" and he killed far fewer people than Obongo. As the revisionists have so thoroughly exposed, there was never a "genocide" of jews under National Socialist Germany.

Look up the income tax rate under Hitler (13.7% at the highest) and compare it to the income tax rates of all the zionist-occupied countries of the West today.

It's amazing the things you can accomplish with the jew parasite taken off your back.

Why are you anonymous hook-nosed parasites claiming that the shooters held pro-White political views?

They killed police. The police are not behind the Third World invasion – they merely have to deal with the aftermath. The jews are though.

Jews are Caucasian but they aren't white. In that breakdown they would be Semitic.

The best thing about Al Sharpton is that he incites so much hatred he gets Jews murdered!

and the jews freeking hate whites more than anything in the universe

Jewlibfalseflag, blameongoy, disarmgoy, exterminategoy, moschiach comes, eat matzoh/drinkmanischevitz/dancehavanagilah

Who taught you..? another Bolshevik Jew teacher In School"? Please…….! 

A "White Supremacist" is a Goy who won't die quietly.
"Extermination of the Gentiles is the sacrifice of the Jews." "Find the best of the Gentiles, then kill him." Zohar II 43a Talmud and there's dozens more quotes just like these…

White supremacists? Isn't this what j3w media always says when they don't have anything real to report?

And besides, if the Founders of the United States of America were here 
today, the j3w media would most definitely call them WHITE SUPREMACISTS.

Why? Because they created a nation for whites, and whites alone!

The anti-semites disagree about fascism– some are for it, some are against it, as in this exchange:

X: You don't see this oligarchy for its fascism? The government already DOES favor corporate elitism without representing the people. Obama signing the Monsanto protection act last year is the most stark example of this.
And these anti-gun bigots STILL believe they have our best interests at heart! Like a religion.

Y: Google "monsanto zionist" for interesting results.

Nearly everyone on the Internet knows that jews are out to destroy the White gene pool.

It's only consistent with their tribe's tendencies to want to produce GMOs that destroy the entire echo-system was we know it.

Trying to scapegoat people who fought back against jews 80 years ago for what jews are doing today seems absurd beyond belief.

X: You can criticize corporations and not lose your job or ability to make a living.

Try criticizing jews or other non-Whites on account of their group tendencies and see where that gets you.

Y: I'm not denying that there's a blacklisting of people with antipathy for zionists. I'm just saying that calling this government "fascist" IS apropos.

X: "Fascism" is more or less a political curse word. It's what people all over the political spectrum call their political opponents when they want to marginalize them. It's really not that descriptive. It sometimes means corporatism but it mostly means those "evil bad people."

Our political system is zionism and social marxism.

I'm tempted to express some sympathy for this comment:

the number one threat to america is the internet. people sit on sites like this all day making snide comments instead of starting new businesses, making good art, visiting with friends and family, drinking beers with neighbors at the local pub. our founding fathers didn't sit around trolling on the internet, they read poetry and chopped wood, drank whiskey, built houses. the future looks bleak.

But I won't.

Instead, how about collecting a large sample of newspaper comments threads, as a basis for various sorts of socio-political sentiment analysis? Commenters are obviously a highly biased sample of the population; and even so, most comments are relatively moderate; but variation in space, time, and topic might still be interesting, as it is in other biased samples like Twitter.




  1. Sili said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 10:55 am

    But what surprised me the most was the number and intensity of anti-semitic comments


    You only need some anti-feminism for the full trifecta.

  2. J. W. Brewer said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 11:10 am is a follow-up story with only (thus far) 24 comments. That's a pretty big swing. 15,000+ comments might be so many standard deviations above the median for thread-length as to be a poor candidate for inclusion in any attempt at a balanced/representative corpus of comment threads.

    Note that given that the shooters in this incident were themselves reportedly conspiracy-theorists, it seems like you would expect above-average conspiracy-theory turn-out in the comment thread — even adjusting for the phenomenon that a sufficiently skillful conspiracy theorist can presumably find an angle to work in any story whatsoever.

  3. Jeff Carney said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    As I type, news of today's shooting in Oregon is barely minutes old, yet the nutty comments have already begun, e.g. this from Yahoo! News

    Obama has the RECORD NUMBER of shootings under his Presidency * * * Is this shooting done to DISTRACT you from the ILLEGAL Bergdahl Swap?

    It's like a whole subculture.

  4. MattF said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

    There's also the claim that right-wing crazies are really left-wing 'socialists'. I suppose there are a few actual socialists out there (e.g., Bernie Sanders), but I'd guess that the trollers have never actually encountered one.

  5. JJM said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    Frankly, I think you're wandering off the reservation here. I expect a language blog/forum to discuss how ideas are communicated through language, not the ideas themselves. Instead, I detect more than a whiff of unwarranted partisan politics at play. Very off-putting.

    And while these are indeed the comments of conspiracy nutters, the comments from the far left end of the political spectrum routinely range into the delirious as well.

    By the way, Sili, feminists are by no means immune to lunatic conspiracy language of their own.

  6. Marek said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

    >Instead, how about collecting a large sample of newspaper comments threads, as a basis for various sorts of socio-political sentiment analysis?

    That's not a bad idea – it could lead to useful tools for summarizing the content of comments without forcing everyone to actually read them, e.g.

    33% posters blame Obama
    12% of posters blame the Jews
    3% posters blame restrictive gun laws
    [click to expand and read actual comments]

    I'm also looking forward to papers on unsupervised learning of conspiracy theories – complete with graphs visualizing who really controls whom…

  7. J. W. Brewer said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 2:50 pm (scroll down to the Apr 30 installment, in particular)

  8. GeorgeW said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

    MattF: I think some political labels (like socialist, fascist, communist, nazi, etc.) roughly correlate with a political point of view relative to the speaker. However, they tend to be used as perjorative characterizations as opposed to being descriptive of a person's ideology.

  9. Pflaumbaum said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

    Last year I attended a conspiracy theory convention, near San Francisco. Stay with me here, it was for work.

    There was no noticeable anti-Semitism on the first day, in the speeches at least, though there were stalls selling mostly anti-Semitic literature. The second day there were anti-Semitic lectures, although never in such explicit terms as those in the comments MYL quotes. Probably the most upsetting lecture though was about the Sandy Hook shootings – there's a now well-established conspiracy theory claiming it was all fake. Really, really horrible stuff to listen to.

    Two things surprised me about the conspiracy theory culture. One was that people were happy simultaneously entertaining contradictory belief systems – such as that JFK was killed by George H W Bush, and also that his death was faked. (I asked one woman selling bumper stickers why lots of her wares quoted Einstein, while others didn't seem to be over-keen on Jews. "He's the exception that proves the rule", was her memorable reply.)

    The other thing was that they give virtually zero thought to why conspirators would do the things they supposedly do. They amass reams of data, spend their lives marshalling it to prove their theory, but never seem to ask, say: Why, if the Israelis 'control the weather' as you claim, do they bother causing hurricanes in Haiti… rather than, say, making it rain in Israel?

    This is particularly apparent with the 9/11 stuff. It's an article of faith among conspirators that this film shows the BBC letting slip that it knew about the buildings collapsing before they collapsed. But they never seem to ask themselves, If you were going to do a 9/11 inside job, why bother briefing the media in advance? They're probably going to notice once planes start flying into buildings.

    Sorry for the long post, I could go on for days about that bizarre weekend…

  10. Chris C. said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    The last comment quoted implies a negative correlation between social alcohol consumption and productivity/sound political thinking. That might be worth looking into, too. It can be argued (and has been argued) that alcohol was a motivating factor in the foundation of civilization in the first place. Perhaps we need it to keep civilization functioning smoothly.

  11. J. W. Brewer said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 5:25 pm

    The male shooter might not have approved of some aspects of the comment thread, as he apparently viewed himself as very much anti-Nazi, at least as he understood Naziism, reportedly saying online: "Mark one up for freedom today. I stood before a fascist judge today and implied that he was a Nazi. I told him I did not recognize his authority over me and reminded him that 2 states now have legalized weed for recreational use. I also informed him that now, since the fast and furious scandal, that continuing the war on drugs is treason. He said to me “I may not agree with the law, but it is my duty to enforce it.” To which I replied “Nazis during the war criminal trials stated that they were just following orders and enforcing the law, and we hung those people.”"

    Hyperbolic comparisons of American police and judges enforcing the laws against pot-smoking (or pot-dealing) to Nazis have probably been a staple of college dorm bull sessions ever since myl was an undergraduate. I wouldn't think they would correlate particularly strongly to full-on conspiracy theorizing (they did in this case – my hypothesis is that that's not a particularly standard combination), but I suppose perhaps that that's the sort of question that Big Data might begin to permit an empirical answer to.

  12. Adrian said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

    Pflaumbaum, have you written more elsewhere? I'd be interested in reading it. It sounds like you could give Jon Ronson or Louis Theroux a run for their money.

  13. Paul Garrett said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

    I am often disturbed at the ideological and linguistic assumption that "left" and "right" are symmetrical. Sure, loons on both ends, but some are more homicidal than others… and the rhetoric is oh-so-revealing. It _is_ about use of language.

  14. J. W. Brewer said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

    myl didn't note that other old conspiracist theme, anti-Popery. As in (from another comment thread on the Review-Journal site): "When God's Justice is established here in True Zion, per The Founders' Covenant, for those we know killed JFK, MLK, Pat Tillman, and our dead of Vietnam, 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan: the same Hitler-financing Bilderberg/CFR faction we know has usurped the Constitution in order to disarm and enslave the sovereign People by staging the proven mass-shootings psyops from Aurora to Isla Vista, then it won't be so obvious you're a paid shill of Vatican banker/Fed Scammer Rothschild Zionism and the Roman Anti-Christ's Fifth Column, a satanic traitor, or merely a Godless moron." (Note again the definitely negative evaluation of Hitler; also I'm wondering if there's a misnegation in the "won't be so obvious" construction.)

  15. Chris C. said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

    @J. W. Brewer — I think the "won't be so obvious" construction means it won't be easy to select among the three (I think) alternatives presented. How this choice follows from the condition described at the beginning of the sentence isn't clear to me.

    It seems to me that much of the rhetoric comes from the "Sovereign Citizen movement". I suppose that any conspiracy theory where Federal authority is supposed to be expanded illegitimately would naturally connect to it.

  16. dw said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

    The URL for that story was probably posted on sties like Drudge and Free Republic. That would explain the comments.

  17. Ken said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

    On some blogs, there's a phrase used when providing a link: "Don't get out of the boat." It means, roughly, that it's OK to read the main article, but if you value your sanity don't dip into the comments.

  18. kcart said,

    June 10, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

    I'm not surprised at the copious anti-Semitism. I hark back to the days of the lamentable Sen. Joe McCarthy, and right-wing anti-Semitism was definitely on the wing then.

    I read the LLog daily. Great job, guys and gals.

    If you choose to print any part of this, please use just kcart on the "'… said" line.


  19. Marek said,

    June 11, 2014 @ 3:56 am

    Were there ever instances where proponents of contradictory conspiracy theories argued with one another?

    Logically, if you believe that there's a conspiracy, proponents of alternative conspiracy theories could be part of the plot to prevent 'sheep' from figuring out the real one…

  20. hector said,

    June 11, 2014 @ 3:04 pm

    @ J.W. Brewer:

    Well, if you're going to bring up anti-Popery, let's not forget its counterpart, the Masonic conspiracy. I once had a tenant, an Irishwoman in her late twenties, who was a right-wing Catholic nutter. When she moved out, she left behind piles of anti-Masonic tracts which, apparently, she had been redistributing locally; proving, perhaps, that old conspiracy theories never die.

  21. J. W. Brewer said,

    June 11, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

    hector: there's still anti-Masonry out there, although it had not (yet) manifested in the fairly short comment thread I cut and pasted that particular thing out of. I might respond to Marek's question by noting that while Popery and Masonry appear to be sworn enemies, there are conspiracy theorists out there who believe they are actually both facets of the same master conspiracy, with the apparent conflict being disinformation intended to distract the dupes. If memory serves, the current Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church was, on the eve of his election, the subject of anonymous street posters (that had mysteriously appeared overnight in Bucharest) accusing him of being a pawn of both Popery and Masonry (although I suppose that is not inconsistent with a belief that the two are independent forces that are sometimes allied and sometimes at odds with each, as circumstances may dictate).

  22. Pflaumbaum said,

    June 11, 2014 @ 6:36 pm

    @ Adrian –

    Thanks, the project has been postponed for the moment. Ronson is excellent on this I think.

    @ Marek –

    The one time that happened at Conspiracy Con was during the 9/11 bit. The main speaker was Jim Feltzer, who presented an extremely dense, data-heavy argument for the Twin Towers having been brought down not by the planes but by 'mini-nukes'. (Once again, he's a details guy, apparently uninterested in why anyone would bother nuking the buildings but also… flying planes into them, and then claiming the planes had brought them down, and having to suppress the nuking part, as well as explain how the buildings you didn't bother flying planes into collapsed. I mean, why not just nuke them and then claim that terrorists…nuked them?)

    Anyway, he reserved a special dose of his trademark world-weary scorn for someone called Judy Wood, who seems to believe the same things as him, except that rather than 'mini-nukes', They used 'Tesla Rays' (possibly from space but I can't remember). He was challenged by one of her followers, and so was able to position himself as the mainstream, sensible, data-driven 9/11 guy, in contrast to her out-there ideas.

  23. Jonathan Gress-Wright said,

    June 11, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

    I thought you were going to remark on the garden path sentence in the headline! I definitely had to read it a couple times before realizing that "ambush" was a noun.

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