The media's new obsession: 15 minute city 'conspiracy theories'
They need to work on their poker face
‘Conspiracy theories’ about 15 minute cities are false, unhinged, dangerous, not to be believed, declares mainstream media (MSM) in unified chorus.
“In recent years, conspiracy theories that were once almost unheard of have spread like wildfire, with a growing number of Australians now sceptical of things like vaccines, 5G and election results,” reports news.com.au, under an advertising banner for Pfizer’s latest Covid vaccine ambassador, Pink. Her new album Trustfall is presumably about the global decline of trust in media and government. More on that further down.
The article explains that 15 minutes cities (also called Smart Cities) are simply a common sense way of attempting to boost liveability for residents. City dwellers in proposed Smart Cities - including Melbourne, Paris, London, Edmonton and Oxford – will have access to everything they need within a 15 to 20-minute walk, cycle or public transport trip, and that’s really all there is to it.
”Anyone who has ever faced a long and painful commute will immediately see the appeal of having the daily essentials at their fingertips,” the article assures readers.
However, ‘gullible Australians’ who cannot appreciate common sense or convenience have been ‘sucked in’ to a ‘dangerous conspiracy.’ These ‘unhinged’ conspiracy theorists actually believe that Smart Cities are, ‘part of a secret plan by global elites to restrict people’s freedom and movements’ - a form of lockdown justified by climate action. Sounds ‘wild.’
The article notes that conspiracies about 15 minute cities have been flagged as ‘false information’ on Facebook, so that really settles it, they’re definitely false and we should all just shut up and be grateful for the convenience that such plans will afford.
The Victorian Government confirms that Smart Cities are a benefits-only proposition, as depicted in the nice pastel coloured info-graphic on the official government page detailing plans for Melbourne’s transformation into a Smart City.
The take home message of the multitude of MSM reports on recent conspiracy theorist activity, is that the sensible response to governments bringing in Smart Cities around the world is complete, unquestioning acceptance.
Only morons would be skeptical of the government. Only ‘unhinged’ and ‘gullible’ conspiracy theorists would express concerns over the potential for new legislation to give more power to governments over our freedom of movement, which they have previously abused with wanton disregard for their citizens’ will or wellbeing.
Smart City conspiracy theory reporting comes as the latest micro-meme in the larger meme of cooker watch reporting, whereby MSM outlets clutch pearls and catastrophise over the proliferation of online ‘cookers’ expressing distrust in the government and big corporations.
For the past three years, the mainstream media (MSM) has been completely obsessed with conspiracy theories, without irony. While the MSM has relentlessly and unselfconsciously published the most outlandish and demonstrably false theories,1 at the same time, they have uniformly defamed and insulted anyone skeptical of their misinformation campaigns, labelling them ‘conspiracy theorists’, ‘stupid,’ ‘unhinged,’ ‘selfish’, 'cookers' and so on.
In rare edge cases, such as the tragic shooting of Queensland police officers by Nathaniel, Gareth and Stacey Train, the MSM has been quick to blame conspiracy theorist communities for the violence, and hint at the need for increased regulation of online ‘wrongthink’ in order to prevent further violence. In reality, these things are always complex.
At no point have reports addressed the role of the government in seeding distrust, or of the media in facilitating the marginalisation and even radicalisation of mentally unstable people like shooter Nathaniel Train. Train lost his job due to his vaccination status, and endured years of social and economic deprivation and isolation imposed by his government, and reinforced by a relentless media campaign in which people of his ilk were portrayed as morally bankrupt idiots unworthy of a place in society. Did anyone pause to consider the effects of such policies and campaigns on those who were already mentally vulnerable? Effects like pushing the already marginalised further out to the fringes of society and discourse? Apparently not.
Is it any wonder that trust in government and media is at an all time low, with the two institutions seen as sources of misleading information worldwide?
A large minority
It looks as though the ‘cooker’ contingent of the Western populations is not insignificant. A quarter of Canadians believe in online conspiracy theories, according to a large poll conducted in 2021. Research conducted by Abacus Data (2021) found that of the 14% of the Canadian population who identified as vaccine-reluctant or vaccine-refusing, 85% did not trust the government. A Rasmussen Report found that more than a quarter of Americans think that they know someone who died from Covid vaccines, and almost half of Americans believe it is likely that Covid vaccines are driving unexplained deaths. A peer reviewed paper (2023) investigating how illness associated with Covid infection or Covid vaccination affects people’s vaccination decisions found that almost a quarter of respondents reported that they knew someone who had experienced a severe health problem after Covid vaccination.
The MSM’s response to the distrust of this fairly significant swathe of the population is to belittle, insult and delegitimise them, ad infinitum. Which makes one wonder - who is the MSM ‘news’ aimed at, and what is the goal of such inflammatory content?
15 minute cities to go ahead, will of the people be damned
So here we go, full steam ahead. Smart Cities are coming whether the people want it or not - and in Oxford, Heritage Party leader David Kurten says that the majority of the residents do not want it. That the Council intends to go ahead with plans regardless of the will of the people, “makes a mockery of democracy,” says Kurten.
Anyone raising questions about the great plans being imposed on us is stupid and dangerous, says the MSM.
And just like that, MSM tipped the world off to the main thing citizens need to know. Powerful interests are very much invested in Smart Cities moving forward, unopposed.
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On the ground at a protest against Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Oxford:
A brief recap of some of the more outlandish theories pushed by MSM in recent years: