July 17th, 2020

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Examines Donald Trump’s Conspiracy Theories — Monday, July 20 at 9pmET and PT

New primetime special explores origins of a fabulist president’s biggest lies – July 20 on CNN & CNN International

Donald Trump uses false conspiracy theories to damage perceived enemies, explain away poor polling numbers, or to cover up his own misdoings.  In a new primetime special, Donald Trump’s Conspiracy Theories, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explores why some people are vulnerable to believing Trump’s conspiracy theories, and whether the damage the president has done to American institutions and global standing can be undone after he someday leaves office.

Donald Trump’s Conspiracy Theories will premiere Monday, July 20 at 9:00pm Eastern and Pacific on CNN; the special will also air on CNN International at 9:00pm Eastern.

Although he didn’t invent the lie, Trump launched his political self-invention as the highest profile ‘birther,’ a peddler of the racist accusation that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.  The sitting U.S. president has also spun tales to explain away his polls, and shake the faith Americans have in the electoral process.  Trump has falsely tweeted that former President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012 was a ‘total sham,’ and that Sen. Ted Cruz ‘stole’ the 2016 Iowa Republican caucus.  Trump has claimed, without evidence, that dead people and non-citizen voters are why Hillary Clinton won nearly three million votes more than he did in 2016.

Zakaria’s interviews with experts and historians guide viewers through other conspiracy theories and their propagators, from Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s (R-WI) ‘red scare’ of communists embedded in the federal government during the Cold War, to the prolific cottage industry of books, TV shows, movies, and other amateur ‘investigations’ that ‘explain’ the assassination of President John Kennedy, and other conspiracy theories.

Zakaria also discusses the challenge and the danger of America’s obsession with and susceptibility to conspiracy theories.  Most importantly, Zakaria asks, is Trump setting up a series of conspiracy theories to ensure that tens of millions of people refuse to accept the outcome of the 2020 election and throw America into a constitutional crisis like it may never have seen before?

Interviewed for the special are:

  • Carol Anderson, professor and chair African American studies, Emory University; author, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy (2018)
  • Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief, The Atlantic
  • Richard Hasen, professor, University of California, Irvine School of Law; author, Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy (2020)
  • Andrew Marantz, staff writer, The New Yorker; author, Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (2019)
  • Russell Muirhead, professor and chair, department of government, Dartmouth College; co-author, A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy (2020)
  • Tim Naftali, clinical associate professor of history, New York University; former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library

During its July 20 premiere, Donald Trump’s Conspiracy Theories will stream live for subscribers via CNNgo (www.CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.  The special will be available beginning Tuesday, July 21, on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms, and CNN mobile apps.

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