Check out the fifth episode of The Critical Catholic on Where Peter Is Media, with Mike Lewis and D.W. Lafferty. We stream live every Sunday on YouTube at 8 p.m. EST.
In this episode, we start by discussing a troubling message that Mike received after his older sister passed away—one that highlights the real-life consequences of vaccine-related conspiracism.
We then turn our attention to the new online Catholic folk hero, Father James Altman of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Fr. Altman became well-known last year thanks to a viral video in which he claimed that one cannot be both Catholic and a Democrat. Since then, his rhetoric has become more and more extreme and focused on conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 and vaccines. We seek to answer the following questions:
- Why is Fr. Altman so popular? What cultural forces have helped him rise to Internet fame?
- What populist techniques does Fr. Altman use to appeal to his audience?
- How can we disentangle what is true in what he is saying from the exaggerations and slurs and misrepresentations?
Listen to our discussion here…