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I recently sat down with the great Tim Harford for an interview on his wonderful podcast, Cautionary Tales, and Tim asked me to tell a story from my new book, How Minds Change. In this episode, I play that episode in its entirety.



Charlie Veitch was certain that 9/11 was an inside job. The attack on the World Trade Center wasn’t the work of Al-Qaeda, but an elaborate conspiracy. He became a darling of so-called “9/11 truthers” – until he actually visited Ground Zero to meet architects, engineers and the relatives of the dead. The trip changed his mind… there was no conspiracy.

His fellow “truthers” did not take Charlie’s conversion well.

David McRaney (host of You Are Not So Smart and author of How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion and Persuasion) joins Tim Harford to discuss what happened to Charlie Veitch; what it tells us about those who hold strong beliefs even in the face of damning contrary evidence; and why persuasion isn’t always the right answer.

Tim Harford’s long-running column in the Financial Times, “The Undercover Economist,” reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His first book, The Undercover Economist, was published in 30 languages and sold more than 1.5 million copies. He is also the author of eight other books, including Messy, and his latest, The Data Detective.

He has hosted several radio series for the BBC, including More or Less, How to Vaccinate The World, and 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy. The Times of London has rated both More or Less and 50 Things among the world’s best 10 podcasts. Tim has written for publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including Esquire, Forbes, Wired, New York Magazine, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. He lives in Oxford with his wife and three children.
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That meteorite was only a metre in diameter but no one knew of it's existence until 4 hours before it visited Earth.
That's not a great heads up.

Convoy lawyer pulls a theory out of his ass that Nazi flags that showed up at the freedom convoy occupation was done by 3rd parties that wanted them to look bad and a government orchestrated conspiracy. The guy they're accusing and claim to have a witness that saw one of the partners at Enterprise - a communications firm - holding the Nazi flag - not thinking for a moment that the person that he's accusing has got receipts and eyewitnesses that can confirm that he was in Toronto at the time.

Then the convoy lawyer gets tossed out of court for wanting to add to the witness list right there on the spot, but doesn't want to submit the required paperwork.

This is what desperation looks like
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People who follow Alex Jones are just big dumb dupes for a grift that is now 100% in the open:

"The text messages from Alex Jones’ phone show how Infowars sowed hatred, fear and lies, while also selling products to its audience, some at markups as high as 900%.

In addition to these extreme markups, the texts show multimillionaire Jones trying new things at a tenuous time for his business. Mainstream social media companies including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube banned Jones from their platforms in 2018, around the same time he began feeling the fallout from his lies about the Sandy Hook mass shooting. In 2019, when the text messages start, Jones hatches a series of partnerships, LLCs and domain names in addition to his flagship Infowars business.

To mixed results, Jones bankrolls shadow operations around this time, including the junk-news site National File. He also backs a project created by Logan Cook, a Kansas-based Trump fan who uses the online alias “Carpe Donktum,” that goes nowhere. Many times in the texts, Jones leans on influencers in his orbit who still have access to mainstream social media accounts to spread Infowars content for him, like his antisemitic collaborator Paul Joseph Watson. He also appears to deceive his fans about his reach. In one message, Jones’ employee Michael Zimmermann offers to rig the view counts on Jones’ videos, giving the appearance that more people are watching his broadcasts than there actually are.

Caolan Robertson, who shot a documentary for Jones in 2019, near the time when the texts start, told Hatewatch that the Infowars boss portrayed himself as a master manipulator in private, bragging that he could sell “dick pills” and that his fans would “buy anything.” Zac Drucker, a former Infowars employee who spoke to Hatewatch for this investigation, said that in retrospect, he believes Infowars staff looked down on the customers who bought into Jones’ brand.

“We all kind of did. In a nutshell, one way or another. We kind of addressed the audience as this low IQ, ‘grab onto anything,’ gullible tribe of very dangerous people,” Drucker said."

‘Absolutely Bonkers’: Inside Infowars’ Money Machine
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The Qanon crowd favorite Sound of Freedom, had a guy who tried to kidnap a child help fund the movie.

For a crowd of people that are so passionate about a plot of child trafficking (written by a guy who claims the story is true, but can't back it up, much less his credentials), their excuse of "it's only 1 guy out of 6,600 people who funded it - someone went out of their way to find this" rings a *bit* hollow.