Why it worked and why you can still believe it


The death of Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14, 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, led TV news presenters to trigger a massive media trial, which lasted until September.

History shows that conspiracy theories generally present themselves as alluring, reassuring, and exciting resolutions to problems that are not to the liking of the general public. So when the truth of an event in the media is mundane and not up to a group’s preference, there is a likelihood that a conspiracy will try to fill that void.

The SSR media frenzy seems to fit this model perfectly. An AIIMS panel examining Rajput’s death said he committed suicide, and it should be noted that suicides are a tragic reality of Bollywood careers. In 2020 alone, 12 actors commit suicide. An informed critical inquiry could focus on the functioning of an essentially toxic film industry.

The SSR murder plot removed a corrective line of inquiry and replaced it with a murder mystery, the tragic murder of a young and talented underdog, which appealed more to the heart than to the mind. He has tarnished the reputation of opponents of powerful groups such as the government of Maharashtra for asserting the typical right-wing ideologue in India and made scapegoats for figures such as Rhea Chakraborty.

Psychologists have found that, unlikely or probable, certain characteristics are common to conspiracy theories. They also usually take care to mention that some conspiracies are in fact worth investigating, and might even be correct. Consider the team that discovered what could be a credible origin of the coronavirus that governments may have actively tried to cover up.

But how well did the TV news sell the SSR plot? Let’s review.

A plot must be a possible hypothesis which is hidden from view and can be discovered by drawing patterns and “causal links”, by making “logical observations”, by conducting “investigations”. A popular feature of conspiracies is the apparent use of reason and logic to make inferences. But unlike SSR’s awesome workout videos, a generally weak conspiracy theory could only handle awkward gymnastics in logical reasoning to distract attention from illogical and savage speculation.

It was good enough by the mediocre displays of Time now Barely Sherlockian “investigations”. From the now legendary moment “” to the controversial “” of Navika Kumar of the “ligature marks” of the SSR, Time now The SSR episode cover shows how the more conspiratorial-inclined might abuse logic to appear smarter than they actually are.

Obviously, such reasoning cannot lead to a conclusion and should only lead to another possibility. Plots generate excitement because they are speculative, and they must be speculative since the suggested actions are hidden from public view. As it turns out, conspiracy theories with an increased motive for finding patterns and causal links (like mystery murder) are the ones that thrive the most.

At the same time, conspiracy theories become resistant to logical criticism by automatically treating people who debunk the plot as “lily-skinned liars” who are “part of the game” behind the scenes. TV news coverage has been filled with occasional accusations against those who believe in the “suicide theory” of having a “scriptwriter behind the scenes”, being part of a “gang” or “mafia” trying to hide. the truth.

Psychological research has also suggested that people turn to conspiracies for compensatory assurance of control over their lives when they feel an existential or security threat.

For this reason, in a situation of general anxiety, it was concluded, a conspiracy theory can be very appealing but rarely satisfying. Conspiracies are strongly linked to a lack of socio-political control, a lack of psychological empowerment, and a lack of strong analytical skills. So people who believe in an unlikely plot get stuck between the possibility of an empowering explanation and never actually owning it.

A believer can become obsessed because a conspiracy rarely leads to the satisfaction of these insecurities but always maintains the possibility of it.

In the context of Covid, it can be argued that the SSR case provided fertile ground to ignore the general feeling of anxiety and focus on an issue that people thought they could easily ‘participate in’ at no real cost, and also reject. anger and frustration. . Basically, the case of RSS gave people a distant and abstract problem to engage with, when a specific and painful problem was hard to ignore.

This was seen among friends or assistants of the SSR, particularly Ankit Acharya, who refused to give up what they claimed was a quest for justice – #IndiaWithSushant, #JusticeforSSR – but was actually only a desire for fame, to be noticed and, of course, for people confined to their homes to ease Covid anxiety with masala.

A Hours now with the actress Krisann Barretto, a friend of Rajput, is revealing in this regard. When asked if she could believe Rajput had committed suicide during the first report, she replied, referring to reports of his suicide, “Honestly, I just wanted it to be a rumor.”

The researchers also found that the negative / immoral portrayal of someone else – an individual or an organization – is a universal feature of conspiracy theories (even the most ridiculous involving aliens). It gives believers a narcissism that needs external validation and sometimes paranoia to continue.

It shows in the demonization of Rhea Chakraborty. Conspiracies must value the believer as morally superior by allowing blame and immorality to be placed on someone else.

To hook people up, believers should be able to imagine themselves as morally righteous and righteous followers of a denied truth, who are trying to heal a disease in society. So Chakraborty must be totalized in immorality – murder, drug parties, black magic – and must even be eliminated.

The divisions become clear: pro-Rajput, good; anti-Rajput, bad. All must correspond to this simplistic taxonomy. SSR is good: you have to love science, have for space, be the winner of the physics Olympics. He was happy and fit, he did jumps and somersaults. We are on his side and share his prowess. But Chakraborty is bad, she has to be there and take the place of Rajput’s opposites: she had to do it, poison him with forced drugs, drive him into depression, snatch his hard-earned money. Everyone who interrogates us must take this baggage and put on his dirty clothes.

It is a ridiculously stunted logic that the news broadcasts abused for three long months. The details of SSR coverage could take weeks to sift through, with so much pretension and abandonment at the cost of real lives, all as the world was ravaged by the pandemic. Shakespeare, a literary master of conspiracies and murder, has a line in perfect symmetry with what the television media achieved last year: “Confusion has now made its masterpiece. “

Today, although they prompted a CBI investigation, Republic Television, Times Now and Co have all but abandoned the case. Arnab Goswami had, waving a fist in the air and shaking in furious anger, “If necessary, 80 years we will fight for Sushant Singh Rajput.” Obviously, that at least was not true.

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