Why Cass Sunstein won’t go to Dealey Plaza

As Cass Sunstein promotes his new book, “Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas,” he avoids talking about JFK conspiracy theories. He didn’t mention JFK in his Reddit AMA last week, though in Bloomberg he uttered the phrase “assassinations of national leaders.”

Sunstein prefers to talking about conspiracy theories to talking JFK facts.

By contrast, when Sunstein talks to Kirkus Review about  9/11 conspiracy theories, he sounds certain of himself, and I can’t disagree with anything he says.

From the interview:

KIRKUS: The lead piece in the book is about how a conspiracy theory can find an audience even when there’s no evidence to support it. Can you give me a good illustration of that?

SUNSTEIN: The idea that the U.S. or Israel was behind the 9/11 attack is an example of a conspiracy theory. So far as the evidence can be found, it’s a very false conspiracy theory.

KIRKUS: How did that find an audience?

It was a combination of people who don’t like the United States very much in some countries, people who don’t like Israel very much in those countries, were partly motivated by their feelings about those two countries and seizing on apparent ambiguities about what happened. If a person gives an account that appears credible to non-experts, then the idea can get traction.

(via Cass Sunstein in Kirkus.)

Sunstein expresses no such certainty about the JFK story because the factual case against conspiratorial interpretations of November 22, 1963, is relatively weak and filled with daunting questions like:

How does a Harvard Law professor impeach the testimony of  21 cops at the crime scene?

And, if the CIA isn’t hiding anything, why are they hiding these top secret 7 JFK files, containing more than 3,000 pages of material that has never been seen by the public?

11 comments

  1. Neil says:

    Kudos to Sustein for at least not grouping JFK assassination conspiracy theories with the crazier theories that have found audiences.

    The Obama fake Birth Certificate and secret Muslim stuff is also entertaining but highly implausible.

    I don’t really believe most conspiracy theories but I do believe that the JFK conspiracy and coverup has legs. There’s no smoking gun but lots of smoke…

    • Jonathan says:

      Neil, I believe Sunstein avoids the JFK assassination because he knows it’s the third rail. Because he knows there are students of the assassination who would put anything he said about the assassination under the microscope. Students such as Morley, DeEugenio, Hunt, Palamara, and others. Sunstein is a well-schooled bureaucrat.

      As for conspiracies, I ask all here this: Do you believe what your government has told you about any contentious matter?

      If you do, you don’t understand the role of lawyers, physicians, and other experts in government investigations.

      I know about lawyers. They are trained to be truth seekers. That’s law school. In practice, you represent your client. Period. That’s ethics.

      Arlen Specter knew the wand he held. He was a big city attorney. Earl Warren was Chief Justice. Such a renowned man.

      Lies, Neil. Lies.

      Kudos to Sunstein, if you wish.

      To me, he is a bureaucrat who has found a visible perch.

  2. Brad Milch says:

    I don’t consider Cass Sunstein to be much of a realist. A multitude of people on this planet now & in the past are the result of conspiracies between 2 or more parties that contributed to their births. Actors that disobeyed prohibition to conceive children by religion, society, laws, parents & other factors produced offspring that were and are the evidence of said conspiracy. Like many people around the globe, Cass Sunstein just may be looking at a conspiracy each time they see their image in a mirror & not realize it.

  3. Bill Kelly says:

    Case Sunstein was the Info Czar at the White House when the NARA policy of including the withheld JFK assassination records in the 2013 National Declassification Review process that successfully declassified much of the back log of classified historic records. If they would have kept the JFak records in that declassification process they could tell us how many there are, but they didn’t and can’t.

    Sunstein suggested outlawing conspiracy theorists and cognitively infiltrating conspiracy theorist groups, and JFKFacts is considered such, though his recommendation to use FOIA and the courts to force the release of classified records, if only to prove conspiracy theories wrong,is certainly welcome and what we do.

    The JFK records will not be released until three key people publicly call for it – Cass Sunstein, former ARRB chairman Judge John Tunheim, and David Ferriero, Archivist of the USA.

    Until those three men champion the cause, the JFK assassination records will remain sealed, there will be no Congressional oversight and the JFK Act will not be enforced.

  4. Bill Kelly says:

    That should read Sunstein was at the White Hose when the JFK records were withdrawn from the NDR process, and I’m sure he had something to do with it.

  5. anonymous says:

    “Sunstein prefers to talking about conspiracy theories to talking JFK facts…about 9/11 conspiracy theories, he sounds certain of himself, and I can’t disagree with anything he says.”

    Unless you’re a psychologist, it’s hard disagree with Sunstein. His reference to 911 totals 2 words during his reddit AmA – a short (2 word) answer:
    Q: whats the biggest conspiracy theory you are asked about?
    A: Probably 9/11.

  6. DRB says:

    Sunstein is an intellectual academician and prolific writer who has no particular interest, or even position, in the JFK assassination controversy. He came to the attention of the JFK community when he authored a paper advocating infiltrating various conspiracy organizations to combat their erroneous and misleading views. But his attention was aimed at theories that actually are erroneous. Sunstein freely noted that some “conspiracy theories” are “true” citing Operation Northwoods and the Tuskeegee syphilis experiments as examples. In my opinion, Sunstein was rather naive in thinking that the “untrue” conspiracy theories can easily be detected. Some are obvious, like the ACA “death panels” or Obama’s fake birth certificate, but other theories, like 9/11 or the false claim of WMD in Iraq, are still very controversial.

    In summary, Sunstein is a bit naive but he is not part of the disinformation crowd. Maybe we can get him hooked on the JFK investigation and make an ally out of him.

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