NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Within minutes of the Christmas Day bombing that blew apart several buildings in downtown Nashville, conspiracy theories surfaced online tying the attack to familiar, debunked claims of voter fraud and the rise of the 5G mobile network.
Law enforcement is still investigating the case – the potential motivation of bomber Anthony Quinn Warner remains elusive. During the wait for details, online theories spread to fill the vacuum. It’s a familiar pattern, said Geoff Dancy, a political science professor at Tulane University.
“Uncertainty is simply unacceptable to conspiracy theorists,” said Dancy, who taught a course on conspiracy theories. “What conspiracy theorists offer is certainty and speed.”
Dancy said conspiracy theorists quickly mobilize to fill information voids by latching on to an existing theory and tying it to a breaking news event. That happened in Nashville when long-simmering claims of voter fraud driven by President Donald Trump were erroneously linked to the explosion.