Pentagon Swift-ly Puts an End to the Taylor Swift Conspiracy

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jan 25, 2024

While mega pop star Taylor Swift is either busy re-recording music, prepping for the next leg of her Era’s tour, or supporting Chief player Travis Kelce on Sundays, conspiracy theories about her involvement in the U.S. government have been spreading like wildfire.

However, the Department of Defense stepped in to say that Swift is not “a front for a covert political agenda.” Who started this conspiracy theory, and why did the government have to step in to put an end to this bad blood? Let’s get into it.

What Is the Taylor Swift Conspiracy Theory? 

On Jan. 9, Fox News host Jesse Watters told viewers on his conservative talk show that “around four years ago, the Pentagon’s psychological operations unit floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset.”

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Fox anchor Jesse Watters is seen on "Jesse Watters Primetime" at Fox News Channel Studios on June 29, 2022 in New York City

Source: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Watters then showed a clip from a 2019 conference organized NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, in which the presenters appeared to name Taylor Swift as a powerful influencer.

Is Taylor Swift a Pentagon Psy-Op?

The “Jesse Watters Primetime” host then referenced Swift’s recent partnership with the nonpartisan organization Vote.org to encourage young people to register to vote in the 2024 elections.

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Host Jesse Watters as "Jesse Watters Primetime" Debuts On Fox News at Fox News Channel Studios on July 17, 2023 in New York City. "Jesse Watters Primetime" takes over Tucker Carlson's former time slot on the Fox News Channel.

Source: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Watters suggested that Swift’s influence could be “a front for a covert political agenda,” asking his viewers: “Have you ever wondered why or how she blew up like this?”

The Pentagon “Shakes It Off” 

The clip went instantly viral online, with a conspiracy theory rapidly spreading that Swift is a “Pentagon psy-op” used to combating misinformation online. While Swift didn’t respond to this theory, the Pentagon stepped up to put an end to the misinformation.

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Sabrina Singh speaking to the press for the Pentagon

Source: Secretary of Defense Public Affairs/Flickr

Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh pushed back against Watters’s claim, saying, “… as for this conspiracy theory, we are going to shake it off,” referencing one of Swift’s biggest hits (via Politico).

The Pentagon Refocuses Its Goals  

The Pentagon spokesperson continued to reference Swift, telling Congress that “I Wish You Would” grant the administration its supplemental budget request.

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An aerial view of the Pentagon.

Source: The U.S. National Archives

“But that does highlight that we still need Congress to approve our supplemental budget request as Swift-ly as possible so we can be out of the woods with potential fiscal concerns,” Singh added.

Others Confirm Taylor Swift is Not a Psy-Op

Vote.org chief Andrea Hailey took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to push back against the implications that Swift is a Pentagon “asset.”

Andrea Hailey's post on X

Source: Andrea Hailey/X

In her post, Hailey wrote: “Not a psy-op or a Pentagon asset. Just the biggest nonpartisan platform in America helping young people register & cast their vote.”

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Whoopi Goldberg Pushes Back Against the Conspiracy

Whoopi Goldberg had enough of the conservative conspiracy theory involving the pop star (via Entertainment Weekly). During an episode of “The View,” the Oscar-winning actor said, “This is what the Fox News folks wanted viewers to be worried about during their prime-time broadcast on Tuesday.”

Whoopi Goldberg attends the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 portrait studio on April 19, 2013 in New York City

Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

“There are real issues impacting millions of Americans,” Goldberg said, punctuating her remark about the comments made by Watters.

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When Did Taylor Swift Become Political? 

Funny enough, Swift has been outspoken in recent years on a handful of political issues, including supporting LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, and gun safety reform. Swift gave fans her reasoning for becoming more outspoken in her Netflix documentary, “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana.”

Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour" at State Farm Stadium on March 17, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. The city of Glendale, Arizona was ceremonially renamed to Swift City for March 17-18 in honor of The Eras Tour.

Source: John Medina/Getty Images

Before 2018, Swift believed that her platform was not to influence but to entertain. However, at a  moment when Swift was being stripped of years of hard work and her well-crafted public image, Swift decided to change.

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Taylor Swift Reveals Her Political Beliefs 

In 2018, Swift intervened on behalf of Democrats in a midterm election in her home state of Tennessee. The announcement “felt like a hammer across the Trump-worshiping subforums of the far-right Internet, where people had convinced themselves… that the world-famous pop star was a secret MAGA fan,” according to the Washington Post.

Taylor Swift sitting on her couch in 'Taylor Swift: Miss Americana'

Source: Netflix/YouTube

After she became politically involved, the pop star enlisted tens and thousands of young people as residents to vote. Even though her candidate of choice lost in Tennessee, Swift was embarking on a new era of her life and career.

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Other Pop Stars Who Asked Fans to Register to Vote

Swift isn’t the only pop star to ask their fans to register to vote. Ariana Grande famously encouraged audiences at her Sweetener Tour to register to vote by texting ‘ARIANA’ to a registration number.

Ariana Grande posing on a grey background

Source: Ariana Grande/Instagram

Harry Styles has also launched a campaign to offer fans who verify their status as a registered voter in the U.S. a chance to attend his Harryween concert in L.A.

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Is the Taylor Swift Conspiracy Theory True? 

Voting registration has been something that major pop stars have been pushing to get a new generation of voters to the polls, advocating for their rights. However, asking fans to register to vote does not make a pop star a Pentagon “asset.”

Taylor Swift celebrating her birthday

Source: Taylor Swift/Instagram

Unfortunately, it is unclear if Watters believes in his conspiracy theory or wants to grab everyone’s attention–which he did.

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Being a Global Sensation Comes With Pit-Falls 

Taylor Swift is a global sensation, with everyone writing articles about her outfits that allude to her “Reputation” re-recording, which will drop without warning, to her appearance at NFL games. She is the moment, and everyone will capitalize on that.

Donna Kelce and Taylor Swift are seen during the first half of a game between the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

Source: Jason Hanna/Getty Images

Why is it happening as we go into election season? The pop star was in hiding for several years and we forgot how big of a headline Swift can make. Nothing has changed. At least the conspiracy was a fun theory.

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