No, this Jeopardy! contestant was not making a white supremacist hand gesture

Conspiracy theories, knee-jerk tribal thinking and stubbornness are not confined to one end of the political spectrum, as this NYT analysis of a recent Jeopardy! conspiracy theory establishes.

Mr. Donohue’s case is unusually clear-cut, and the allegation is obviously false.

So the element of this story that interests me most is how the beating heart of nerdy, liberal fact-mastery can pump blood into wild social media conspiracy, and send all these smart people down the sort of rabbit hole that leads other groups of Americans to believe that children are being transported inside refrigerators. And, I wanted to know, how they could remain committed to that point of view in the absence of any solid evidence.

Mr. Donohue’s three fingers, Snopes pointed out, symbolize the number “three.” After his first victory, he waved one finger. After his second victory, he raised two. And after his third, he showed three fingers. He awkwardly folded his index and forefingers into something that looks as if it could be some kind of sign, but doesn’t resemble the “OK” signal that white supremacists have sought to appropriate. –Ben Smith, New York Times