Ten Things You Might Not Know About Conspiracy Theories

William of Ockham

William of Ockham

Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer offer a roundup of “facts” about “conspiracy theories.” One or two are actually not in most top 10 lists (but do you care about whether or not Marisa Tomei’s Oscar was really intended for Vanessa Redgrave?). From the Chicago Tribune:

We’re approaching the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an event that wrenched this nation and spawned countless conspiracy theories. Was Kennedy killed by the Cubans? The CIA? The Mafia? The military-industrial complex? Time to spread your blanket on a grassy knoll and examine these 10 conspiracy theories:

  1. Some Pakistanis doubt the story of Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who received worldwide support after she was shot and wounded by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls. Suspicion that she is a CIA plant or a greedy hoaxer is so common in Pakistan that a journalist there ridiculed doubters with a satirical piece revealing that Malala’s “real name was Jane” and that the DNA in her earwax showed that she was “probably from Poland.” But other media outlets missed the joke, citing the report as yet more evidence of the Malala plot.
  2. Psychologists say the best predictor for someone believing a conspiracy theory is belief in other theories, even if they’re contradictory. Researchers at the University of Kent in England found that survey respondents who believed that Osama bin Laden died long before the U.S. Navy SEAL attack in May 2011 were actually more likely to also agree with the theory that he was still alive.
  3. The Illuminati was a Bavarian secret society founded by Adam Weishaupt in the late 18th century that was extinguished within a few years. Or was it? Conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati remains alive and is bent on world conquest. It’s certainly bent on domination of book lists, with Dan Brown’s novels as best-sellers, and other authors offering such titles as “Hip-Hop Illuminati: How and Why the Illuminati Took Over Hip-Hop” and “Mary Todd Lincoln and the Illuminati.” Then there’s the video “Die America Die!: The Illuminati Plan to Murder America, Confiscate Its Wealth, and Make Red China Leader of the New World Order.”
  4. The struggling New York Knicks desperately needed the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick in 1985, certain to be Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing. But seven teams were in the running, with the draft order determined by Commissioner David Stern picking envelopes out of a bowl. When the Knicks won the top pick, the “Frozen Envelope Theory” was born. Some suspect that the Knicks’ envelope was chilled so Stern could identify it by touch. Others think a corner of the envelope was bent for the same purpose. But no one has ever proved anything.
  5. Conspiracy theories are big business. Alex Jones is an Austin, Texas-based talk radio host with millions of listeners over the airwaves and on the Internet who peddles apocalyptic tales of doom. He believes the U.S. government was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombings. As Jones spouts his dire warnings, his main advertising sponsor is a gold company called Midas Resources, which benefits from such hysteria as people seek out the traditional financial safety of precious metals. Midas Resources is owned by Ted Anderson, who also owns Genesis Communications — the network that carries Jones.

[Read about their other five choices at the Chicago Tribune]

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  • Eric

    “To continue reading this story you must be a Digital Plus subscriber”…fuck that noise.

  • SamOKC

    LOL – “Conspiracy Theories are big business. Alex Jones…” but the Chicago Tribune, totally trustworthy and not interested in money. What a relief to have such honorable people looking out for me.

    • titaniumforest

      So they can’t be correct?

  • echar

    It’s certainly bent on domination of book lists

    Yeah right… buy my book to find out why this is an absurd claim.

  • mcubik

    disinfo does disinfo

    again

    peace

    • Matt Staggs

      THIS COMMENT IS A FALSE FLAG!

      • Andrew

        That’s what you want us to think.

        • InfvoCuernos

          lizard people made you say that.

    • Photons

      For me disinfo is a place to explore all kinds of differing and contradicting view points. From what I’ve garnered many of the articles or topics are posted as more of an expose rather than “Look at this, this is the truth.” It’s a place to explore the many sides of the information war. Reading people’s views, perceptions, beliefs, about events, themselves, and others. it’s about broadening my understanding and exposure to the worldviews of others, not to determine some sole correct view.

      To me conspiracy theories are an untamed landscape of ideas about the unknown truth. They arise where there is no information or insufficient information. Sometimes these thought forms are substantiated, like mass surveillance. Sometimes the thought forms seem more like projections of personal fears, or are misunderstood subconscious metaphors reflecting unknown forces at work in the world, like parasitic reptilian aliens. Certain running concepts may yet prove to be true, but the details may very well be misleading.

      In the end the impression I get is that we don’t really know what’s going on, but there are lots of issues that need sorting out none the less. We’re all trying to find our way through this, and learning to sort through the bull-craft will be a vital skill. One I don’t know if I will ever get to stop developing and be done with.

      Peace be with you.

      • Punctuated Colon

        Wa aleikum salaam

      • Thomas Didymus

        I love your reasonable yet open-minded response. I agree with you that you can learn a lot through disinfo if you know how to read it. Disinformation is usually between 60-90% “true”. Or better said, effective disinformation must weave fact with fiction in order to do what it is meant to do which is to confuse the public. If you know how to spot the “changeover” point in an article it is fairly easy to know when the truth of an disinfo article stops and the bullshit begins. This is a skill I have been mastering the past few years ever since my reality was blown wide open when I discovered firsthand that a lot of these “conspiracy theories” where to some degree real. Keep up the rational and balanced approach to understanding these bizarre things that we are all going through.

  • mcubik

    argument by ridicule

    a cheap shot that does nothing

    to address the real false flags that have

    been documented and the future false flags

    that will undoubtedly occur

    sooner than later

    laugh while you can monkey boy

    now that s funny

    peace

    • Matt Staggs

      <– Infowars is that way.

    • Calypso_1

      CH23 73593 FN47KD03284B

  • http://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/ polfilmblog

    I have yet to see a MSM article about “conspiracy theories” that was worth reading. Conspiracy?

  • Aipeed Teaitchse

    Majority of these are essentially b.s. and then you get to number 5 which is yet another attack on Alex Jones who has been taking more and more of the MSM audience. Thanks to the contributors of disinfo we can verify there is a coordinated effort by basically every mainstream outlet to discredit infowars – seems to be an average of two a month. Has Alex Jones ever run with a story lead that turned out not to be true? You bet. Could anything on the main page of the site right now be proven false? Seriously I’m interested. And have the media outlets pointing a finger at him committed errors themselves? You bet. 6 weeks ago several sources reported a photoshopped picture of Obama meeting with a pirate as a legitimate story. Most apologized via twitter. So we’ve established that we should be questioning everything from every source which good. Yet as they defend themselves and attack alternative media, newspaper subscriptions continue to decline and infowars readers continue to climb. The people running these msm outlets are paranoid that the public will want to even consider whether or not to question the official stories of 9/11 or political assassinations, because it delegitimizes official narratives and thereby the core of their existence.

    • Woobniggurath

      Mwomp mwomp mwomp waah. Wah wah mowm wap mwom. Mwomp Wom.

      • Aipeed Teaitchse

        When the drugs wear off I’d be interested to hear a translation of whatever that was about

        • Tuna Ghost

          The people running these msm outlets are paranoid that the public will want to even consider whether or not to question the official stories of 9/11 or political assassinations, because it delegitimizes official narratives and thereby the core of their existence.

          They’re really not. Mainly because a.) no one ever took Truthers seriously, and that has never been more true than now, and b.) when was the last political assassination that anyone gave a shit about? Or that would have any relevance on today’s American quest to make the rest of the world its vassal state?

          • Aipeed Teaitchse

            Well I suppose it depends what your definition of ‘anyone’ amounts to but off the top of my head I would say Benezir Bhutto (or the prosecutor investigating her case), Osama bin Laden, and Muamar Gadaffi would qualify as recent ones although there are Many others. Nevertheless, the main reason the media is addressing the issue of conspiracy theories at the moment is because we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination and over 75% of Americans believe the official story is bullshit.
            Now if you want to go around believing nobody gives a shit about real history because you don’t and you think everyone shares your worldview, that’s fine, but the fact is people do give a shit. And if you think being conscious of anything that happened before last week is pointless in light of your own sense of powerlessness keep it to yourself just in case you might sway anyone else reading this that could offer something worth contributing to society.

          • Tuna Ghost

            It’s pretty simple to see if anyone gives a shit about Truthers. Ask yourself “what changes have they made, who of importance have they convinced to change their mind”. The answer is nothing and no one. That’s not an opinion; that’s what actually they have accomplished since 9/11 and the Truth movement. I challenge you to provide evidence to the contrary.

            None of those assassinations–if you can call Ghadaffi’s death an assassination, I mean there was a goddam revolution happening at the time–have had any relevance on America’s march toward domination. All of those people could be alive right now and it wouldn’t make any difference.

            Powerless! I don’t feel powerless. I’m an educated white male from the US. We’re kind of writing the script, if you haven’t noticed. I wish people like me had less power.

          • Aipeed Teaitchse

            How would you define an individual’s importance? If you’re referring to engineers, scholars, politicians, and possibly even celebrities, there’s a laundry list of them who have at least been convinced that the official story of 9/11 is flawed and should be re-opened. Perhaps it is one of those things we can’t do anything about, but the argument that it’s strictly an opinion of some lunatic fringe is nonsense. Contemporary wisdom can cloud judgement and hindsight is 20:20. Nearly 60 years went by before it became common knowledge that the Reichstag fire was started by the Nazis but until then it was the source of many heated arguments (pun intended) because the official story went along with the world war narrative and enough “people of importance” agreed it was an act of communist terrorism. Some day people might look back at the people who dismissed arguments to the official 9/11 story and laugh. The contradictory evidence isn’t theoretical, but even if the official story was true it would still qualify as a conspiracy.
            And whether it’s in the midst of a revolution or not, an assassination is what it is. Also getting rid of Ghadaffi and creating chaos in Libya was a major step for the American/EU/Israeli hegemony in the middle east which essentially just became a huge gold heist.
            One final note; if it were true that the media is content with letting people believe what they want about the JFK assassination, why is Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Kennedy” movie being pumped out of the idiot box along with week-long JFK specials from NBC CNN etc… and a flood of articles from msm sources on the eve of the 50th anniversary regurgitating the official story all in the interest of convincing the public not to believe anything else?
            It’s hard to discern whether you fail to see how such things are relevant or if you just enjoy sitting back and following the script. In any case, what is not irrelevant is your opinion because everyone’s opinion is of importance.

          • Tuna Ghost

            One final note; if it were true that the media is content with letting people believe what they want about the JFK assassination, why is Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Kennedy” movie being pumped out of the idiot box along with week-long JFK specials from NBC CNN etc… and a flood of articles from msm sources on the eve of the 50th anniversary regurgitating the official story all in the interest of convincing the public not to believe anything else?

            Seriously? Because it gets ratings. Because it’s trading on the nostalgia of its core audience, which happens to be people that were alive when JFK was killed. That is literally the only reason. No one broadcasting that stuff gives a flying fuck about what really happened or what people think really happened beyond what it means to their bottom line.

            If you’re referring to engineers, scholars, politicians, and possibly even celebrities, there’s a laundry list of them who have at least been convinced that the official story of 9/11 is flawed and should be re-opened.

            No. I’m not referring to the Truthers’s list, which is actually significantly smaller than they claim. The one time a scholarly article on an alternate theory of 9/11 got published in a Dutch scientific journal, it was immediately discredited and the editor resigned in disgrace for accidentally allowing it to be published, because it was shit science and obviously politically motivated. This is an example of what I’m talking about–they’ve not convinced anyone that matters even a little bit, and when they do get a voice they fuck it up.

            It’s really easy to say “in the future, my opinion will be vindicated”. That does fuck all for what’s happening right now, though.

            Also getting rid of Ghadaffi and creating chaos in Libya was a major step for the American/EU/Israeli hegemony in the middle east which essentially just became a huge gold heist.

            It didn’t affect the US/Israeli hegemony very much at all, and the US didn’t create that chaos in the first place. It just waited to take advantage of what was left after the Arab spring died down, just like in Egypt.

          • Tuna Ghost

            But back to my primary point: regardless of whether or not they should be, no one is paranoid that the American public will start/is currently questioning the official narratives of either 9/11 or the Kennedy assassination. Why would they be? The people arguing the former are not taken seriously, and people have been doing the latter for decades with pretty much no effect on the direction the country has been going since WWII.

  • http://skadhiblog.wordpress.com/ skadhithjassisdottir

    “Researchers at the University of Kent in England found that survey respondents who believed that Osama bin Laden died long before the U.S. Navy SEAL attack in May 2011 were actually more likely to also agree with the theory that he was still alive.”

    As much as I have contempt for conspiracy nuts, this looks like a smear to make critics of the American regime seem irrational. I can imagine they are open to believing both, out of distrust for their government, but not actually believe contradictory statements.

    If I were to doubt the official JFK assassination narrative, many would assume me to be a conspiracy nut though there exist suspicious circumstances round the assasination (ie. JFKs brain was taken) and the nature of the conspiracy claim do not require a stretch of credibility. People are fine with accepting that the equivalents of the CIA might assassinate their countries leader in developing countries, or with reading about similar attempts in the history books.

    But just by the stigmatisation of conspiracy claims, people react as though the questions over JFKs assassination are equivalent to claims involving UFOs or other implausibilities.

    • Tuna Ghost

      The point is, they’re willing to believe two completely opposite realities with opposite short term goals over an official story, which basically negates any objectivity they ever had claim to. You can’t say “well, it could x for y reasons, or it could be the complete opposite of that, but I do know it can’t possibly be whatever those people say it is” and still be credited with an objective, rational viewpoint.

    • Thomas Didymus

      Time to wake up my friend. Being irrational can exist on both ends of deductive reasoning process. You can believe too much or you can believe too little. They are both irrational. If these conspiracies theories are implausibilities then what is the plausible explanation to them?

  • Ben Yerzich

    What happened disinfo.com …is front page advertising not enough to fill your pockets these days? You guys are getting mainstream. Pity.

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