Conspiracy Theories

How Those Trump/Russia Tales Are Like a Bowl of Spaghetti

Three guidelines for keeping your head


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When I speak skeptically about some alleged break in the Russia/Trump story, people sometimes tut-tut and tell me that "evidence is accumulating" that will prove a vast plot. Unfortunately, they're not always clear on how to tell a credible accusation from a kooky one. There's a spectrum of theses out there, with "Paul Manafort is a sleazeball" on one end of the plausibility spectrum and "Donald Trump became a Soviet sleeper agent in 1987" on the other.

In the L.A. Times today, I offer three pieces of advice for people who want to keep an open mind about potential wrongdoing but don't want to get lost in the liberal version of Glenn Beck's old chalkboard. "In conspiracy movies," I write, "covert politics is an octopus: There's a big head at the center manipulating everything with its tentacles. In real life, it's more like a bowl of spaghetti—a tangled mess of connections without a center." I hope you like that metaphor, because I spend the rest of the column belaboring it. Check it out here.