Disputed event: The rise of conspiracy theories particularly since the Warren Commission report into John F. Kennedy's assassination.
First allegations:The CIA's use of the term is explored in a 2013 book by Lance DeHaven Smith.
And they would have got away with it too: . . . left alone, conspiracy theories are quite capable of discrediting themselves.
This alleged conspiracy is the mirror-image of the previous allegation of deliberate propagation of conspiracy theories.
This conspiracy theory alleges that the term "conspiracy theory" is itself the subject of a conspiracy theory, which claims the term was popularised by the CIA in order to discredit conspiratorial believers, particularly critics of the Warren Commission investigation into John F. Kennedy's assassination, by making them a target of ridicule.
Concern in medical circles that a belief in conspiracy theories may be psychologically harmful or pathological for a patient falls into the "they would say that" trap of potentially upholding conspiracy theories.
Since conspiracy theories can reinterpret disconfirming information as part of their narrative, attempting to refute a claim can result in accidentally reinforcing it.
Criticism of conspiracy theories can result in legitimising them.
Belief is not generally weakened by getting people's backs up.
Alternative facts brought to you by Peter Dowden