There are so many versions of the Moon landing conspiracy that we think we’ve lost count. Apart from the fact that it’s bonkers to suggest that, say, the entire Soviet Union and the hundreds of thousands of amateur astronomers also tracking the mission decided not to pipe up about it not actually happening, you can also see the landing site(s) for yourself through glorious satellite imagery - unless you think that's fake too, of course.
And yet, because it’s 2017, Fox News has decided to peddle another. In a tweet sent out yesterday, the “news” network shares an article explaining that fresh "evidence", provided by a conspiracy theorist, could prove the lunar landing missions never took place.
“You be the judge,” the network offers in the text accompanying the tweet.
No. This is a factual event, something that really took place. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it did or not, because that’s not how facts work. People aren’t "allowed" to judge facts, because that’s also not how they work.
Imagine if someone stood on a podium and claimed that psychic vampire repellents were both real and effective, or that humans are basically batteries with a finite amount of total energy. If you let the general public openly judge whether or not these are genuine facts, then we suspect that civilization, quite frankly, is doomed.
The latest conspiracy theory regarding our lunar companion comes courtesy of one of those gloriously self-serving YouTube channels. According to them, newly found video footage of the Apollo 17 mission – NASA’s last human foray to the surface of the Moon – shows that a set stagehand is reflected in the helmet of one of the astronauts.
If you believe this to be true, then you are probably on the wrong website right now.
To be fair, the article itself does point out that humans have indeed set foot on the Moon, but it’s the tweet itself that has become the focus of most people’s ire. Still, it isn’t as if the network hasn't dipped its toe in the crazy pool several times before.
A marvelous piece over on The Atlantic has pointed out that Fox News has hosted Moon landing deniers at least twice since 2001, which was the year that they aired an hour-long special that questioned the veracity of the dramatic space missions.
They have, of course, also hosted plenty of other conspiracy peddlers, including most prominently those that think climate change is a hoax, or that vaccines cause autism.
Here’s the long and short of it: don’t suggest that people get to decide whether or not reality is real. Bad things will happen when people start questioning the objective truth en masse.