You may have heard of a documentary “Hold-up” accused of conspiracy. This documentary defends the idea that the coronavirus is man-made. This is a 2.50 hour documentary produced by a Frenchman, Pierre Barnérias, a former journalist. He notably made a film about the near-death experience. A few months ago, he organized a crowdfunding and raised nearly 200,000 euros to produce “Hold-up”. The objective is to denounce the management of the Covid-19 crisis. Over time, he unveils a so-called global plot. The coronavirus pandemic would have been fabricated or, in any case, exaggerated by global elites to control humanity. There is a big secret plan where everything is connected: the appearance of the coronavirus, the development of 5G, the pharmaceutical lobbies and the big fortunes, like Bill Gates.
The CFFD program interviewed Marie Peltier, essayist, professor of history at the Galilée Higher Institute of Pedagogy in Brussels and Vincent Yzerbyt, professor of social psychology at UCLouvain.
Is “Hold-up” a conspiratorial documentary?
Marie Peltier, professor of history at the Higher Institute of Pedagogy Galilée: “It is an aggregation of several conspiracy theories. The strength of this documentary is a form of synthesis. He brews all kinds of theories, not specifically related to the pandemic, they are sometimes older. It’s like a semantic package. It brings together all kinds of obsessions, that is, 5G, vaccines, pharmaceutical lobbies, finance. It offers simple explanatory software based on all these elements. The main purpose of this documentary is to cast doubt. Everything is good to take if it calls into question the word of the system.“
Why do people adhere to conspiracy theories?
Vincent Yzerbyt, professor of social psychology at UCLouvain: “Psychologically, there’s a tremendous amount of motivation to buy into conspiracy theories. The motivation is on the side of people who think they know; with little information. Information often generates a certain humility. When you begin to know a number of things, you realize that in reality you still have a lot to know and this calls for caution. But prudence is not on the side of these people. There is a strong conviction that lives in these people. “
The documentary uses the codes of the investigative journalist, in particular the staging of the interviews, the music, the tone of the voice-over.
Should the media question their way of working?
Marie Pelletier: “You have to ask yourself questions about how to do journalism. There is an investigative journalism that has developed in recent years that personally reminds me a lot of conspiracy rhetoric. He starts from the premise that things are hidden from us and that the journalist’s role is to discover the hidden truth. When the journalist enters this role, he enters into a logic which is very similar to the conspiracy logic. In addition, he is adorned with a heroic figure which is also very similar to the conspiracy logic where we find the idea of the hero who will seek the truth. But is the truth necessarily always hidden? Should the journalist go looking for information leaks or should he just explain the world? The truth is sometimes not very sexy and very raw.“
Vincent Yzerbyt: “Indeed the truth is sometimes simply believed. The fact of wanting to put an intention behind all the things that happen in the world is something that characterizes our time. We are amazed, as scientists, to note that the citizen has little tolerance for chance, for the fruit of circumstances, for something that happens for something and that cannot be explained. There isn’t necessarily any malicious intent behind it all.“