Americans and Their Conspiracy Theories

Apollo 15 flag, rover, LM, IrwinAs you all know, we’re not scared of a conspiracy theory or two here at disinformation, but we’re also skeptical, wanting to hear multiple views. Not so Jeff Nesbit of US News:

There’s just no polite way to put it.

There are big, entire parts of American society that believe in things that just aren’t true – and a recent national survey by Public Policy Polling only confirms it.

Name your conspiracy theory, and some segment of America believes it, the PPP survey found. The handful of news reports and blog posts on the PPP poll last week focused on the usual political subjects that always seem to float through the Internet ether.

About a fifth of Republican voters believe President Barack Obama is the anti-christ, for instance. Three quarters of Democrats believe former President George W. Bush’s administration lied about weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the Iraq war, while three quarters of Republicans don’t. A third of Republicans believe a New World Order is about to take over, while more than a fifth of Democrats believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Despite a consensus among scientists, a significant number of Republican voters don’t believe climate change is real.

“Even crazy conspiracy theories are subject to partisan polarization, especially when there are political overtones involved,” said PPP President Dean Debnam. “But most Americans reject the wackier ideas out there about fake moon landings and shape-shifting lizards.”

Well, maybe. But there were some pretty astounding things in the survey:

– 6 percent of voters (who haven’t, apparently, yet seen “Zero Dark Thirty”) think Osama bin Laden is still alive.

– Despite decades of research that says otherwise, 51 percent of Americans believe there was a conspiracy at work in the JFK assassination…

[continues at US News]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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33 Comments on "Americans and Their Conspiracy Theories"

  1. Charlie Primero | Apr 12, 2013 at 11:02 am |

    That crazy “Bush lied about Iraq WMD’s” conspiracy theory is the one that gets me. 🙂

    • That and the Kennedy assassination one get me. I guess I’m crazier than you.

      • Yeah, I don’t know anyone who actually believes that was a one person operation.

        • I know several.

          • CosmicAmazing | Apr 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm |

            Never met anyone (truthfully) that believes Mr Oswald pulled that off on his own. You must know some really sheltered people..

        • sciencehighway | Apr 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

          Actually, I’m one of them, though I studied the multiple shooter theories for decades (I was 11 when the assassination took place) and for some time didn’t even believe Oswald was involved. As the post suggests, decades of research and a trip to Deeley Plaza set me straight as to who fired those shots and from where. This was not Oswald’s first time at bat. All that said, I still feel dismay at the irony of an irrelevant, woman-beating little nobody like Oswald altering world history on a psychotic whim, and I acknowledge that much was botched in the Dallas Police investigation and the Warren Report, so we’ll likely never know the full story.

  2. This is why I don’t believe the Bible is historical.

  3. BuzzCoastin | Apr 12, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    this topic seems familiar
    but my take is still the same
    believing anything without experience is worthless faith
    believing anything that doesn’t have a direct positive impact on your life
    is an absolute waste of time

    the problem isn’t that Americans believe in too many different conspiracies
    the problem is most Americans overlook the patently obvious facts
    which clearly indicates that their government
    is in cahoots with the banksters & corporations

  4. geminihigh | Apr 12, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    The moon landing one is by far the most lampooned and ridiculed. I think if Americans were to see most of the official photographs, coupled with the fact that NASA and NASA contractors either “lost in a fire” or didn’t think it was important to keep all the groundbreaking inventions or their blueprints created for the mission, plus the fact that we won’t be able to get back to the moon for another 30 years because our technology is somehow inferior to that of 1969, they might not be laughing so loud. The debunkers point out that you can’t prove a negative. How then can we positively prove that Saddam DID have weapons of mass destruction when none have yet to be found? Thats not a theory, thats a fantasy.

    • sciencehighway | Apr 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

      The moon landing conspiracy theories are the most lampooned for a very good reason. Nobody who was involved with those missions (or alive at the time, for that matter) or who has seriously studied this history buys into such nonsense. It speaks (rather depressingly) to the cynicism of a small minority millennials unable to accept the possibility of such an achievement long before they were born. It happened, kids – six times. You think it couldn’t have been pulled off with late 60s technology? Take if from someone with 20 years visual effects experience beginning not too long after Apollo – it was a lot easier to shoot those scenes on location than it would have been to fake it, which was simply impossible back then.
      (Yep, even for Kubrick.)

  5. This is a piece from corporate/state media and should be read as such. Need we say more?

    • Yes, you don’t have to believe the world is the scary place it is, because we said it’s not. Back to sleep, back to sleep…

    • jasonpaulhayes | Apr 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm |

      “Objectives belied, in blackened heavens covertly they hide” Jens Kidman

      I’m not a conspiracy theorist, never have been .. I (among many) bare witness to the Deus Ex Machina but know not what it implores. Compiler of my dreams my nightmares and the thieves of my integrity.

  6. Andy Dilks | Apr 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

    “Despite decades of research that says otherwise, 51 percent of Americans
    believe there was a conspiracy at work in the JFK assassination…” I think we all know what those decades of research really demonstrated about the murder of JFK, don’t we?…

  7. the word belief hinges like a box. be-lieve, be-lief, be-love some say is closely related. yet then what art we saying? loyalty? devotion? logilty? logilty indeed we are of belief, and to share kindness with another for their expressions is well, as friends, it is as friends. ie, then, i.e., y, lyre, belial. how lo #st when vowels are #? not enough conju$ation. Euler psychosis? Anakim in babalon? Philistaltic sons of a pharaoh? Akhenaten’s troupe trope juke? Oh Palestine. Oh Israel. Even in forgetting Amon you do so Amonophis. Can you not see? C? e? m? lofe, i am Lethe to say it.*+H_n+%3D+ln%28n%29

  8. i was very surprised to see that “more than half of Americans still question whether there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism.”

  9. Jag D. Panxer | Apr 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm |

    To deny or dimiss the existence of conspiracy is to deny and dismiss the existence of history and of commerce.

  10. Clearly Bin Laden is dead. Hollywood made a movie all about it…

    • Another good citizen. What do we have for this lucky contestant Johnny?

      Ask him about flight 93… if he answers correctly on that one we will devalue his money and outsource his job to Asia.

      • They made a movie about that too… 😉 What, don’t you trust Hollywood? That’s un-‘Murican…

  11. I guess not much thought went into this article. The US congress concluded in 1979 that there was most likely a conspiracy in the JFK assassination. The “decades of research” go the other way, too. The cover up has laughable plot holes.

    Here’s a miraculous idea that apparently never occurred to some: people commit conspiracies. It’s quite common. It’s when multiple parties decide to engage in a crime. Is there any serious thinker in the United States who doesn’t believe the US government engages in crimes? The notion is so absurd as to be hardly worth commenting on, and yet here we are.

    The fact that the term “conspiracy theorist” was used as a political smear, as printed in a CIA memo to influential media personnel in the 1970s, vis a vis the JFK assassination, should actually matter. You should be looking at the gibberish you post as truth, and with such arrogance. Just because those in corporate media believe it, or pretend to, doesn’t make it a fact. There are encyclopedias of knowledge those assholes won’t touch for fear of unemployment. Is this news to you?

    They use guilt by association to smear the independent investigators. You can’t talk about hard evidence without having to endure low grade sewage about “lizard people” etc. Since this website is “disinfo” I thought we were supposed to seriously examine disinformation and propaganda, and not take the word of US News and World Report and let them think for us.

    • Are you new here?
      Simply because a piece appears on Disinfo, does not in any way mean that the people who run the site agree or endorse the content of every post.
      The piece clearly represents a very mainstream view on the prevasive cultural phenomena of conspiracy theories. See ittabena’s comment for the implied message of same.
      I doubt many here would agree with the article. It is seen for what it is, an attempt by the mainstream to marginalize anyone who does not go along with the dominant narratives, as well as to imply that there are no conspiracies, which is obviously absurd in the extreme. This is what I meant when I suggested it is coming from a corporate/state source and should be read as such.

    • Something tells me you don’t know the readers here.

      Take a week, you’ll learn…or figure out where else to go.

  12. astrofrog | Apr 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

    The comments on the original article are great. The author gets had on fluoride, JFK, 9/11, and CIA drug smuggling. Amusing to see the flood of oped pieces over the past few months, denouncing, mocking, and bemoaning conspiracy theories. You’d think the owners of the media are worried or something 😉

  13. Ameer Gittens | Apr 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm |

    The US gov’t lies to and deceives it’s populace so regularly that US history is more accurately filed under “fiction”.

  14. Richard Frith | Apr 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm |

    Nixon was framed.

  15. lilbear68 | Apr 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm |

    theres even a few that believe that cheney will be declared a saint by the next pope

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