Alison Parker hoax conspiracy theorists are starting to kick up dust around the web after Parker’s father, Andy Parker, was linked to a stage production of Les Miserables and a former career in politics.
When the elder Parker did an interview with Megyn Kelly shortly following his wife’s death and called for gun control legislation, he essentially made himself a marked man for so-called “false flag” theorists.
Much of the case against the Virginia shooting being real — in the eyes of these conspiracy theorists — comes from a series of videos compiled and narrated by “Dutchsinse.”
Dutchsinse argues that Andy Parker showed no genuine emotion in any of his post-shooting appearances; that there is something fishy with him pouncing on the gun control issue when he should be in mourning; and that his combined past as a politician/actor makes him suspect. He also singles out a family Christmas photograph with Andy, Alison, and family standing in front of the tree, where each member appears to be Photoshopped.
Most of the “evidence” is circumstantial and disconnected. Supporters of the Alison Parker hoax theory also pointed out a tweet from Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, that appeared to be sent out before the murders, but Snopes discredited that by simply pointing out the time is correct when set to the proper time zone. (More on that here.)
They’ve even gone as far as arguing that Hurst was only Parker’s boyfriend for the elaborate hoax and that he is, in reality, gay.
Mainstream media outlets, of course, haven’t touched this story, but that hasn’t stopped it from spreading like wildfire across YouTube and alternative news sites like Activist Post.
Unfortunately, the Alison Parker hoax theory isn’t an anomaly in the world of online news. Fringe sites propagate this type of material after most tragedies, and have done so for the Boston Marathon bombing, Sandy Hook, and 9/11, to name a few.
In this case, the “evidence” is particularly thin and conveniently glosses over the fact that Vicki Gardner was also shot and managed to survive to tell her story.
The “evidence” is also nonexistent for Adam Ward, and it does a poor job of pointing out the genuine emotion and trauma felt by the WDBJ morning crew the day of the shooting.
But conspiracy theorists thrive on circumstantial evidence. They are able to find a few pieces they can work with and conveniently ignore the rest, studies have shown. In fact, the Daily Dot recently detailed a fascinating study on how conspiracy theorists will pretty much believe anything. Well worth a look if you’re struggling to understand how some of these things develop.
Do you think there is something psychologically wrong about people who believe conspiracy theories like the Alison Parker hoax? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Alison Parker and Chris Hurst c/o NBC News]