I’ve had this button for 20+ years and the opinion for longer.
The career I retired from, the one I did for 30+ years, had a lot to do with spin. With manipulation of opinion. You might even say it involved propaganda of sorts. I have a really good understanding of how to present information to move the needle of public opinion and I know it when I see it.
Which is why I always pay attention to conspiracy theorists, even if they are otherwise quite crazy. Because somewhere in the conspiracy theory there is usually a grain of truth. And sometimes more than one grain.
Do you believe the Warren Commission Report? Do you really think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone? That this one, strange guy could plan and implement such a precise assassination? I don’t. And yet, that’s our government’s final word on the death of President John F. Kennedy.
Do you believe Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy? I don’t. I think he was the distraction. The fall guy. The patsy. Do you remember any big investigation? I don’t. Not really. It seemed to go by really fast, this investigation, prosecution and sentencing. Do you remember some strangeness about evidence? I do. Accusations of destruction and fabrication, both.
Here’s what I believe. Official accounts of the murders of the Kennedys and perhaps even Martin Luther King, Jr. obscured what really happened. And were meant to.
Do you believe extraterrestrials have visited? About a decade ago, a heap of government documents on UFOs got declassified. So I read quite a few of them. For months, I read, looking at what had been redacted and what hadn’t. At interviews and ideas. Did you know that pilots and even astronauts (some of whom were once test pilots) believe they have sighted UFOs? And these are people who’d know. My conclusion? Of course UFOs have been here.
It’s interesting to engage people in conversation about these things to see what they believe. The other night I asked someone whose opinion I respect, who’s no pushover and who is an ultimately logical person. Who doesn’t believe things easily.
“Do you believe Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK?” I asked him.
“No,” was his response. Some 81 percent of American s agree with him, according to Gallup researchers. I think that’s astonishing. We believe we were lied to. Take it for granted, even.
So I asked him if he believed in any other conspiracies. He answered without hesitation:
“I believe that a small number of people control what we see and hear on the media and it’s not always the truth.”
What? That seemed like a pretty serious charge. What was his evidence?
“Because when I see something on all the national news outlets and it doesn’t match what I know to be true, when it’s even at odds with what public documents say, there is no other explanation.” That’s what he said. I asked him to be specific and when he was, citing some stories in the NY Times and Wall St. Journal, who would’ve been able to read these public documents, easily, I understood. It was shocking, even. I won’t say more.
This credible guy believes that a handful of people control information that’s released to us. That’s big. But I can see how it could be true.
“I don’t believe a plane hit the Pentagon, either,” he said, “because I haven’t seen evidence of it with my own eyes.”
Here’s what’s significant: this person is definitely not any kind of conspiracy theorist, but he’s already named three “official” stories that he believes aren’t true. So call it what you will.
So when I saw a Facebook friend post that controversial episodes of a controversial TV show raising serious questions about Sept. 11, 2001 were deleted from her DVR by her cable provider, I did some nosing around.
What conspiracy therories don’t you believe?
Twilight Zone – “we will control all that you see and hear”
Dr Leary – “think for yourself and question authority”
There’s no way to be certain of anything, really. It’s interesting how otherwise critical thinkers will accept something as true because, I don’t know why – it makes the most sense to ego? Requires no further thought or effort? Some seem to accept that correlation does not equal causation in one area then fall into that logic trap in another.
I personally believe it’s better to question everything that one intends to add to their belief system, rather than accepting something as true because someone has managed to spin it into something ego decides will absolve or provide justification. Personal preference based on experience.
I’m sure there are some, just not these.
The term “conspiracy theory” is pretty hot, in that it implies crazy people. Actually, skepticism is healthy, critical thinking a must and paying attention to discontinuities is smart. I really did think twice before posting this, but the fact is, I’m a logical person and I believe what I believe based on logic. Logic tells me it would’ve been impossible to get a jetliner through that small hole in the Pentagon, for example.