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BBC's "Reformed Conspiracy Theorist" Seems a Little Inauthentic
We deserve better psyops
Two major British news sources are covering a certain “reformed conspiracy theorist”:
Brent Lee, shown in the photos above, is a recovered conspiracy theorist, newspapers explain. Brent escaped the rabbit hole of conspiracy thinking and is now helping rescue others from the clutches of wrongthink.
The Guardian explains:
For 15 years, Lee collected signs that so-called Illuminati overlords were controlling global events. He convinced himself that secret societies were running politics, banks, religious institutions and the entertainment industry, and that most terrorist attacks were actually government-organised ritual sacrifices.
He was also inclined to believe in UFOs, and that Stanley Kubrick staged and directed the filming of the moon landing. He saw satanic symbols in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and spent most of his time discussing these theories with an online community of fellow believers. But in 2018 something shifted, and he began to find the new wave of conspiracy theories increasingly implausible.
I am busy and do not have time to do deep dives on every conspiracy theory. However, I am somewhat aware of the most popular ones. I cannot help but notice that the above list is strangely vague and non-specific and lists outright absurdities, which I highlighted.
Brent abandoned the “truther movement,” described thusly:
His reasons for abandoning the “truther” movement (truthers believe official accounts of big events are designed to conceal the truth from the public) are also hard to slot into a conventional worldview. Lee veers between feeling ashamed and amused by his own convictions while also pointing out that it would be a mistake to dismiss these ideas with an impatient eye roll, because they are very dangerous.
Brent is now a busy online persona, fighting misinformation alongside other, familiar to us, “disinformation fighters.”
Brent has a Facebook account and a Twitter account.
These accounts are pretty strange.
Brent’s Twitter account @BrentLeeSDCIC started in Nov of 2008. The early tweets are numerous, pointless, and have no likes.
The tweets are all notably short and poorly written. Most tweets appeal to no one and garner no likes, even for a three-year account. That suggests that other users did not follow him:
Brent’s writing style underwent a remarkable change around 2018, indeed. Suddenly, he became more verbose, much more literate, and very political:
Is that still the same person posting? I am unsure, but the difference in styles and interests is somewhat surprising. How can an adult, who barely could string a sentence together before 2018, undergo such a dramatic change?
EDIT (a day later): I forgot to mention that Brent’s pre-2018 tweets show scant evidence of “conspiracy theorizing.” I could not find much discussion of particular conspiracies or evidence supporting specific conspiracy ideation. (End edit)
Brent follows the 77th brigade-associated “mutton accounts”:
Brent’s Facebook account is even stranger: his writing style on Facebook is dramatically different from his Twitter style. “Brent” on Facebook is much more literate, has a comparatively huge vocabulary, and his Facebook posts are written in corporate/academic/journalistic style:
English is my second language, as you can no doubt tell quickly. However, when I read Brent’s semiliterate pre-2018 tweets and compare them to his recent Facebook posts, I am forced to conclude that they seem to be written by different persons.
The Facebook posts sound like they were written by a professional writer, perhaps a journalist.
So, we can ask, is that really one person posting? Or is someone helping Brent to manage his accounts?
Brent is a real individual. There are many recent videos involving him, where he touts how he abandoned conspiracies that he once believed.
However, all his live appearances show a nice-looking man with a limited vocabulary and a small repertoire of ideas. Brent could not elaborate on even one “conspiracy theory” that he believed and could not explain the specifics of how he was wrong about any particular idea.
Here’s an hour-long interview:
Brent is never specific on any conspiracy theory he supposedly believed in the past. He speaks in generalities and mostly uses little words.
Most conspiracy theorists I met love details! They would go on and on about “raised seals on Obama’s birth certificate,” “missing plane in front of the Pentagon,” and so on. Quite conversely, Brent is never specific about any of his past beliefs. So, I have to wonder if he is truthful about his past.
Who Is Helping Brent?
Brent Lee seems to have significantly changed. He posted semiliterate one-liners on Twitter until 2018. Then, his Twitter account changed suddenly to be much more verbose and oriented towards the daily fights of UK politics.
Finally, his Facebook posts, much longer and with a much more diverse corporate vocabulary, are written in a style completely different from Twitter’s.
Both Twitter and Facebook posts by Brent have almost no engagement. One has to wonder for whom “he” writes them. Certainly not for his social network followers, if he even has them! Why do the posts exist if they are written for no one?
Is that a genuine individual? Is the same man posting on Twitter and Facebook? If so, how can the Facebook posts’ vocabulary and style differ from Twitter’s?
If you are wondering about the genuineness of “Brent Lee” and whether he is getting extra help promoting his “anti-conspiracism,” I would like to hear your thoughts about BBC and the Guardian highlighting him so insistently. What would be the reason for promoting an artificial “former conspiracy theorist” persona?
The efforts to “abandon conspiracies” seem to fall on deaf ears:
So far, Lee’s attempts to save others have had limited success. He has been ostracised by his former online community. “My first intention was just to bring my friends back out of the rabbit hole – that backfired on me. They have completely cut me off, treated me like a pariah.” Some have suggested that he has been paid off by “the elites”, but he is determined to persist.
I wonder what is happening with such a less-than-genuine story being widely promoted.
This picture captures my personal feelings on this matter:
What do you think? Is Brent a genuine reformed conspiracist, or is that another psyop?