Viewed dispassionately, “conspiracy theories” are controversial political messages about secret power. They purport to tell us how the world really works, as opposed to official accounts of government and experts. At a time when the credibility of federal government and news organizations is low, conspiracy theories flourish at the expense of public authority.
Credible or not, conspiracy theories have shaped the course of the 2016 presidential campaign. Conservative strategists Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone claim that Hillary Clinton has organized a conspiracy to conceal her own dire medical condition. Liberals Ezra Klein and Cass Sunstein warn that conspiracy theories distort our political discourse and endanger the political process. Who’s right?
Ezra Klein and Cass Sunstein have some sensible things to say about the disturbing prevalence and power of conspiracy theories in this Vox video, especially about the toxic combination of conspiracy theories, ignorance, and extremism. So does the New Yorker. But these opinion-makers are wrong–or rather, underinformed–about the JFK story. Read more
Two JFK Facts commenters have recently criticized me personally, and I feel the need to respond. I know an editor should have a thick skin but a season of succesful conspiracy theorizing has opened up the real possibility that U.S. nuclear codes will soon be delivered into the hands of a racist buffoon. I’m feeling a little touchy.
So let me dispatch with these theories and theorists.
Professor Cass Sunstein writes from his perch at Bloomberg.
“Pick your topic: Ukraine, the National Security Agency, assassinations of national leaders [emphasis added] … it’s child’s play to assemble a host of apparent clues, and to connect a bunch of dots, to support a relevant conspiracy theory.”
Sunstein is surely correct that It is easy to concoct an implausible theory about who killed JFK.
Gail Raven’s timeless story about her admiring friend Jack Ruby stays in it perennial spot at #1, followed by a discussion of former White House information czar Cass Sunstein and the state of the case.
JFK Facts welcomes all points of view in its discussions about John F. Kennedy’s presidency and assassination. See our comments policy here.
In order to advance the site’s goal of decisively clarifying the JFK assassination story in 2014, I want to add a provision to the site’s comment policy. This addition is prompted by a reminder from a reader about the JFK views of former White House official Cass Sunstein.
As Sunstein wrote in a 2008 research paper (co-authored with Adrian Vermeule); Read more