One of the favourite hobbies of Trump supporters is inventing conspiracies about their chosen candidate's opponent, Hillary Clinton, and until today we had every reason to think Trump supporters would believe just about anything. To wit: Earlier this month, rumours abounded that the Democratic hopeful was wearing an earpiece during an NBC forum. (She did not.) Mediaite reports the rumour was started by actor James Wood, and then spread to Info Wars and the Drudge Report.
Days later, Clinton fell ill with walking pneumonia and video surfaced of her fainting. With no evidence whatsoever, it was determined by Trump supporters that she was addicted to benzodiazepines, drunk and suffering from seizures, in the early stages of dementia, coping with Parkinson's disease and possibly a reptile-human in disguise. Further conspiracies focused on a piece of metal allegedly dropped by Clinton or her nurse, concluding that it was a chunk of a leg brace, a colostomy bag clip or a cry for help for the candidate to be rescued from the cabal-like DNC.
Of course these all piggyback off the notion the Clinton is, and always has been, some sort of cyborg. An idea found even in Trump's own Facebook-based attack ads.
All of these hypotheses are astoundingly far-fetched, and yet still found support among at least a few of Trump's delegates. So what does it take for people with a creative interpretation of facts to see an obvious lie?
Early this morning, Info Wars drew attention to a "hidden device" under the back of Mrs Clinton's clothing. Was it another earpiece? "An instrument that sends impulses to the brain to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson's disease"? Info Wars concluded nothing but threads began appearing on 4chan's /pol/ board as well as on pro-Trump Twitter accounts.
— USA For Trump 2016 (@USAforTrump2016) September 27, 2016
Hearteningly, the "mystery device" was summarily dismissed by many as what it actually is: The transmitter pack of a lavaliere microphone.
Anyone watching the debate yesterday is aware that both candidates were equipped with both a podium-mounted mic and a clip-on lav:
Image: AP Photo/Julio Cortez
The wire of a lav mic is hidden underneath the wearer's clothing where it connects to a transmitter.
WHAT IS THIS MYSTERY DEVICE?!?! Image: Shutterstock/ Luminis
While the Alex Jones-helmed Info Wars may have never seen one of these before, it appears at least a few of Trump's supporters online have, and were quick to call bullshit — in spite of crackpot theories that the bulge was some sort of blood pack, electrical stimulation apparatus, colostomy bag, a bomb or, of course, an earpiece.
If marginally so, America is less hopeless than previously thought.