Joel Penney, Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Media, is quoted in an Associated Press article about how Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have become the focus of baseless political conspiracy theories.
“Pop culture people identify with this stuff, they pay attention to it. And that’s what moves politics now. It’s attention and identity,” said Penney.
But the false claims about Swift are of such an extreme nature that they will test the limits of how potent a conspiracy theory can be. Penney sees the recent deluge of posts aimed at Swift as an attempt to preemptively blunt her impact by discrediting her.
Penney said Swift’s influence could prove a difficult force to contend with, especially if she publicly supports Biden, as she did in the 2020 race.