Conspiracy theories follow a very predictable pattern. They assemble factoids, string them together as innuendo that signals something, but without quite saying what.
You can see it in this CNN story that's making the rounds.
At least eight alt-right website domain names were registered to Columbus Nova, the company that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, according to internet records reviewed by CNN.
Frederick Intrater said in a statement that he used his own money to purchase the domains with the intention of later selling them for profit. He said he does not support white supremacy and added that he is Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor."I subsequently thought better of the idea of selling domain names which obviously now have connotations that are inconsistent with my moral beliefs," the statement reads, adding, "I never told my brother or anyone else at Columbus Nova that I had done this." Intrater said he did not use the alt-right domain names before they expired.
Public documents describe Columbus Nova as the US affiliate of the Russian investment company Renova Group, which is chaired by Viktor Vekselberg, who is a cousin of Andrew and Frederick Intrater.
What's the point of this story?
Brother of guy who runs company that paid Trump's lawyer money registered alt-right domain names that he never used. Also his cousin is Russian.
Give the man a Pulitzer.
Russians and the alt-right are both elements of lefty villain signaling on Trump. So combine the two together with the villain of the week, Michael Cohen (except when it's Scott Pruitt) and you have a story. Right?
But what's the working theory here? How do these various factoids align? What's the point of any of this?
Don't ask CNN.
That's what most of the Russia conspiracy theory reporting looks like. Throw together some factoids, true or untrue, put them in the same story without regard for whether they're even true, and let the angry lefty readers and viewers draw their own stupid conclusion.
In this case, it's that Michael Cohen is an alt-right Russian. Or something.
This is CNN. Sometimes it will tell you that a banana is really a UFO and that an apple a day keeps the aliens away.