How To!

How To Rescue Someone From a Conspiracy Theory

My dad believes some pretty wild stuff. How do I talk him off the ledge?

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Episode Notes

Matt’s dad believes some crazy conspiracy theories—that the moon landing was faked, that JFK’s assassination was an inside job, and that QAnon is real. Matt can’t stand talking about politics—or really anything—with his dad these days, but he’s desperate to preserve their relationship. In this episode of How To!, we bring on Colin Dickey, cultural historian and author of The Unidentified, to explain why conspiracy theories are more popular than ever. To get through to a loved one, Colin says, don’t dismiss the conspiracy theory outright. If you want any hope of changing someone’s mind you have to first understand the void that it may be filling in their life.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Confront a Crazy Neighbor With Tig Notaro.”

Do you have a struggling relationship with a family member? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.

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About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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