I am currently reading Mark E Thomas ‘We are the 99%, we have been screwed and how to fight back’.
It is a very interesting book but relevant to the present discussion is part two ‘Why we do not act’. ‘Going post fact’ discusses how truth is blurred and statistics manipulated or selectively quoted. He then goes on to discuss the spectrum between fact and post fact, starting with what he calls the absolute truth on which precise science and in particular mathematics operate, grading onto the approximate truth, spin, deliberate misrepresentation, then unfounded falsehoods. The next three categories are straddled by the MSM, whereas politics and social media include the fourth category of deliberate unfounded falsehoods. This is created is by the propagation of myths through propaganda.
So to me what the conspiracy theorists are doing is mainly in working through myth creation and propaganda and embellishing deliberate misrepresentations and unfounded falsehoods that are similar but even more extreme than what politicians do, as the later have to remain in touch with reality. The same individuals claim to be fighting the system whilst using the same discredited methods used by the politicians, but often without any attachment to reality.
Elsewhere the author also discusses how it becomes very difficult for many to relinquish their long held beliefs when faced with rational discussion and this is exactly what we find here with the denialists, they are not capable of rational discussion. Moreover, most will not only stick to one denial but go through the whole gamut of climate denial, HIV denial. antivaccine and covid denial.