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HOW CONSIRACY THEORISTS HAVE TAPPED INTO RACE AND RACISM TO FURTHER THEIR MESSAGE. The claim making the rounds was false: That Barack Obama, elected in 2008 as America’s first Black president, had not in fact been born in the United States. That didn’t stop the smear from gaining traction, in an effort fueled by people including hard-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars — and by future president Donald Trump himself, who fanned the “birther” flames in 2011 as he advanced in the political arena.

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