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Wed, Jun 23


Online via Zoom

Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories: Cults, Conspiracy Theories and Extremism

The conclusion of Folio's three-part series on Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories moderated by Mort Kondrake.

Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories: Cults, Conspiracy Theories and Extremism
Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories: Cults, Conspiracy Theories and Extremism

Time & Location

Jun 23, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM PDT

Online via Zoom

About the Event

Folio concludes the Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories series with a discussion about cults, conspiracy theories and extremism. Conspiracy theories around the 2020 election and "#StopTheSteal" movement contributed to the Jan 6 insurrection at the US Capitol and Republican state legislatures' enactment of voting restrictions. Do cults such as QAnon, liberal "cancel culture," white power "Replacement" Theory and the rise of extremist groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, neo-Nazis, right wing militias and left-wing Antifa present a threat to democracy?

The panel will feature presidential historian Bob Merry, author of Where They Stand: American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians, David Domke Associate Director for Organizational Support at Common Power, Rachel Moran, post-doctoral fellow at UW's Center for an Informed Public, Emily Kaufman investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, and Bruce Chapman founder and chairman of the Discovery Institute. 

About the panelists:

Robert Merry is the editor of The National Interest and author of several books, most recently President McKinley. He has been a Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and the executive editor of the Congressional Quarterly, has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other major publications, as well as appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation and many other programs.

David Domke is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, and for the past decade he has served as Department Chair. His research has focused on communication, politics, and public opinion in the United States, and in recent years Domke has worked closely with several organizations on communication and engagement in the public arena. In 2018 he worked with a team to launch CommonPower, and he now serves as its Associate Director for Organizational Support.

Rachel E. Moran received her doctoral degree from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Her research explores the role of trust in digital information environments and is particularly concerned with how trust is implicated in the spread of mis- and dis-information. Her research has been published in Information, Communication & Society, Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice, Media, Culture & Society and Telecommunications Policy. Moran also holds a BA and an MA in Social and Political Science from Cambridge University and an MA in Political Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She was the Oakley Endowed Fellow at USC for 2018-19 and the 2018 Benton Foundation Junior Scholar.

Emily Kaufman is an Investigative Researcher with ADL's Center on Extremism. She has a background in detecting extremist online speech through coding schemes. She is based in ADL's PNW office in Seattle. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut and recently completed her Master of Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where her dissertation focused on the mainstreaming of dangerous speech in online forums, focusing on white supremacist and antisemitic language in the United States. Emily has conducted on-the-ground research in Somalia, South Africa, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Bruce Chapman an author and former elected and appointed official who serves as Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute, a public policy think tank he founded in Seattle in 1990/91. He also is a fellow in the institute’s Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership. In 2018, Mr. Chapman’s latest book appeared, entitled, Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others. It critiques the growing power of “middlemen” in politics — bureaucracy, media, academics and special interests — and the loss of responsibility by the people’s elected representatives.


  • Folio Member

    +$0.25 service fee
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  • General Admission

    +$0.38 service fee
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