By an amazing coincidence, CBS news show 60 Minutes aired a segment on Sunday night highlighting how easily disinformation can be created and spread. It’s incredible that they just happened to have this episode in the can and ready to roll at the same time the Biden administration is launching its shiny new Ministry of Truth to crack down on all the disinformation in the United States! … Yes, they really think we’re this stupid.
The segment is called “The origins of ‘Birds Aren’t Real'” and is hosted by Sharyn Alfonsi. “There have always been conspiracy theorists,” she begins before listing some of the famous crackpot theories that have turned up over the years, such as the moon landing being fake and Elvis still alive. “But as disinformation has traveled across the internet, more malicious conspiracy theories have entered our homes, workplaces, even the halls of Congress,” Alfonsi warns grimly. Then her countenance lightens as she says, “So you might not be surprised to learn that more than a million people have become followers of a conspiracy theory that birds aren’t real.” It’s painful to watch Leftists pretend to have a sense of humor, but Alfonsi gamely tries as she elaborates that the theory claims the birds “you think you see” are actually government surveillance drones.
According to the CBS transcript of the segment:
It’s spread to billboards, bumper stickers and popped up at halftime during the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game. More than a million people have become followers of Birds Aren’t Real, a movement that claims the birds you think you see flying in the sky are actually government surveillance drones.
Thankfully, it’s all pure satire.
The “conspiracy theory” is intended to mirror some of the absurdity that’s taken flight across the country.
Alfonsi tells us that this is all the brainchild of a 24-year-old college dropout named Peter McIndoe. It started as a prank, when he joined a random anti-Trump protest carrying a silly sign that read, “Birds aren’t real.” His friend posted a video online that went viral, and soon he was moving to Memphis “to start a fake conspiracy theory.”
The segment shows McIndoe pulling up to a rally of what looks like 50 or so sign-carrying enthusiasts in a custom van, one of many stops on the organization’s fall 2021 “Truth Tour.” McIndoe leaps out and capers about with a bullhorn. He wears a cowboy hat and carries an American flag — just like a real disinformation conspiracy nut!
McIndoe recruited a friend, Connor Gaydos, to create the Birds backstory. He also hired actors to play various roles — a retired CIA agent who was part of the original bird surveillance drone program, or adult bird truthers — videos of which are disseminated all over the internet. According to reporter and noted doxxer Taylor Lorenz, who covered the fake conspiracy theory for The New York Times in December 2021, the fake CIA agent video alone had over 20 million views on TikTok as of last December.
“It might smack of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that the world is controlled by an elite cabal of child-trafficking members of the US Democratic Party,” writes Lorenz. “Except that the creator of Birds Aren’t Real and the movement’s followers are in on a joke: they know that birds are, in fact, real and that their theory is made up.”
Irish Times, in a reprint of Lorenz’s report, quotes Claire Chronis, a Birds Aren’t Real organizer in Pittsburgh, as saying, “My favourite way to describe the organisation is fighting lunacy with lunacy.”
In case you still haven’t figured it out, Birds Aren’t Real exists to mock and belittle anyone on the right who tries to tell the truth about anything Big Left doesn’t want to be known. Hunter Biden’s laptop, COVID-19 vaccine limitations or side effects, fraud, and ballot harvesting in the 2020 election — all can be scorned as wild-eyed conspiracy theories, laughed at, and disregarded. And if Big Left wants to build a Ministry of Truth, the only people who could possibly have a problem with that are the ones who want to spread disinformation — aka the enemies of America.
Birds Aren’t Real has also — predictably — birthed the Bird Brigade, a network of ironic Gen Z activist footsoldiers. “Many often join up with counterprotesters and actual conspiracy theorists to de-escalate tensions and delegitimize the people they are marching alongside with irreverent chants,” reports the Times. The paper cites an example from September 2021, when Bird Brigaders interfered with an anti-abortion protest, drowning them out by chanting “Birds Aren’t Real.” They may as well have been chanting “Four legs good, two legs b-a-a-a-d.” It’s not surprising that Lorenz cheerleads this sort of censorship, though; she herself notably tried to intimidate the woman who runs the Libs of TikTok account on Twitter.
So, let’s see … At least three full-time employees (McIndoe, whoever drives the van, and the cameraman), a customized van, travel expenses, billboards, professionally produced videos, printed signs, and banners — there’s money behind this effort. There’s also the blessing of Big Media, evidenced by friendly coverage from the New York Times, CBS, and others. There’s Big Tech’s help in pushing Bird content in front of millions of eyeballs. Birds even has a blue check from Twitter, a company they “protested” with a demand to change their bird logo.
I’ve got a conspiracy theory for you: What if Leftists in the government synchronized initiatives with Leftists in the media in order to coordinate rollouts of crisis-to-control operations? Like, oh, I don’t know … what if they wanted to scare everyone that a new president they didn’t approve of had colluded with Russia to steal the election so they could undermine him? Or panic everyone about a new coronavirus, so they could grab massive new powers to shut down businesses, restrict travel, and muck up elections?
What if Leftists saw that Big Tech was losing control of the narrative, that news of things like 2020 election fraud or President Biden’s cognitive decline was reaching ordinary Americans? What if a freethinker threatened to bring free speech to a major social media platform? Would the Leftists in the government conspire with the Leftists in the media to push a new crisis narrative so they could crack down?
Naw, that’s crazy talk — just like that wacky Birds Aren’t Real guy!