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Joe Biden and the History of ‘Hidden Earpiece’ Conspiracy Theories

Joe Biden and the History of ‘Hidden Earpiece’ Conspiracy Theories
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Joe Biden and the History of ‘Hidden Earpiece’ Conspiracy Theories

Joe Biden and the Historical past of ‘Hidden Earpiece’ Conspiracy Theories

Commentators on the left speculated a few “bulge” in Mr. Bush’s jacket (above), which they imagined hid a hidden receiver into which Karl Rove, the previous president’s political adviser, was talking. The Bush marketing campaign tried to bat down the rumors, however they persevered, though no stable proof ever surfaced. A NASA scientist even acquired concerned in analyzing photos of Mr. Bush’s jacket through the debate, searching for clues in regards to the mysterious bulge.

In 2008, rumors once more circulated on-line {that a} candidate was being fed solutions throughout a debate. Ann Althouse, a legislation professor and conservative blogger, wrote that close-up TV stills confirmed that Barack Obama “was sporting an earpiece” throughout a debate with John McCain. (Ms. Althouse later recanted her concept, saying it was in all probability simply gentle reflecting off Mr. Obama’s ear.)

In 2016, the rumor appeared once more, this time connected to Hillary Clinton, who was accused by right-wing web sites of sporting a secret earpiece. (One such story, which appeared on the conspiracy concept web site Infowars, was shared by Donald Trump Jr. and different pro-Trump influencers.)

The key earpiece rumor isn’t solely an American phenomenon. Overseas politicians, together with Emmanuel Macron of France, have additionally been baselessly accused of sporting earpieces throughout debates.

Accusing the opposing celebration’s candidate of sporting a secret earpiece isn’t a very subtle disinformation tactic, nor wouldn’t it in all probability present a lot assist to a candidate even when it have been true. (In truth, as anybody who has ever watched a stay TV anchor fumble with a producer’s directions might let you know, listening to instructions in an earpiece whereas staying attentive to a moderator’s onstage questions requires a reasonably spectacular act of multitasking.)

However the thought of a hidden helper giving one aspect an unfair debate benefit has proved seductive to marketing campaign operatives making an attempt to elucidate away a lopsided debate, or sow doubts about dishonest on the opposite aspect. As a 2016 Salon piece in regards to the earpiece conspiracy concept mentioned, these rumors primarily appear to enchantment to hyperpartisans whose views on the candidates are already made up.

“When somebody presents you with grainy display captures of George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton and claims that they present telecommunications tools hidden on their our bodies,” the piece mentioned, “your partisanship lets you bridge the sizable hole between the poor proof and the agency conclusion that somebody offstage was whispering into the candidate’s ear.”

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