Truth Is Duller Than Fiction
One of those near and dear to me in my adopted hometown of Bloomington feels I’m betraying the journalists’ code of curiosity when I dismiss 9/11 Truthers and other conspiracy theorists.
The other day I wrote about the discovery of a piece of the landing gear wedged in between a couple of high-rises several blocks away from New York City’s Ground Zero. It’s believed to have come from one of the two planes that slammed into the World Trade Center towers. I typed: “Gear up, Truthers!”
This pal of mine happens to be a crackerjack news reporter and takes the journalists’ creed and vocation seriously. The old City News Bureau motto — If your mother says she loves you, check it out — could be her personal mantra.
All that said, she’s all wet.
At least in this case.
- The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (you know about this so I don’t have to explain it)
- Operation Northwoods (a proposed series of terrorist attacks on US soil that could be blamed on Castro’s Cuba, thereby galvanizing public support behind an invasion of that island nation)
- The Nayirah Testimony (some little brat daughter of a Kuwaiti oil sheik testified that Saddam Hussein’s army was brutal as part of the propaganda lead-up to Gulf War I)
- Operation Paperclip (the US imported German rocket scientists to work on our space program after the Nazis had been defeated in World War II)
- MK-Ultra (the CIA experimented with hallucinogens, hypnosis, subliminal messaging, and other methods to determine their efficacy in “mind control” as well as in cracking captured Soviet spies.
The idea being, if your federal government could do these things, why couldn’t it blow up several structures vitally important to global finance, killing thousands, and creating a byzantine cover story just so that it could…, um, y’know, do something or another.
The Plot In Action
If “conspiracy” means anything the government does that is criminal or abusive, then yes, there are “conspiracies.” The funny thing is one of these “true conspiracies” never even happened; the author of the piece admits Operation Northwoods was nixed out of hand. That’s a strange way to prove the existence of “conspiracies.”
The word “conspiracy,” of course, implies a secret, nefarious plot carried out to fool the rest of us — save the wise and perceptive souls who’ve sussed the whole thing out. Operation Paperclip was so secret that Werner von Braun, the top Nazi rocket scientist, held a press conference upon surrendering to American soldiers, pledging loyalty to the US. A little more than a year later, a national magazine ran an article revealing that some of the hundreds of German emigre scientists were having a tough time getting used to American cooking.
If you’re beginning to think US authorities and the ex-Nazis themselves were awful at keeping their secret, conspiracy theorists have a ready response: Conspirators love to parade their “secrets” in the open; it’s the best way to keep them, well, secret.
That, as much as anything, illustrates the fascinating thought processes of conspiracy theorists.
My guess is the CTs (I’m tired of typing conspiracy theorist) will be falling all over themselves to create wilder stories than ever about this hunk of landing gear discovered a dozen years after the fact.
The Landing Gear & Its Resting Place (Inset)
I suppose it’s exciting to think of the White House and the Kremlin and a hundred other seats of sovereign power being packed to the point of bursting with archcriminals and mad scientists who sit around tables conjuring evil plans to take over the planet. A geo-political world that’s the setting for the mother of all grand spy/mystery/apocalypse novels would be, no doubt, entertaining. The real world in which national leaders countenance mass rape as a military strategy and multi-national corporations work tirelessly behind the scenes to purchase political sway is simultaneously repulsive and yawn-inducing.
Dig Matt Taibbi’s take on the Truthers (from The Great Derangement, Speigel & Grau, 2009):
In 9/11 Truth lore, the people who staff the White House, the security agencies, the Pentagon and groups like PNAC and the Council on Foreign Relations are imagined to be a monolithic, united class of dastardly, swash-buckling risk-takers with permanent hard-ons for Bourne Supremacy-style “false flag” and “black bag” operations, instead of the mundanely greedy, risk-averse, backstabbing, lawn-tending, half-clever suburban golfers they are in real life.
Wait, there’s more:
The people who really run America don’t send the likes of George Bush and Dick Cheney to the White House to cook up boat-rocking, maniacal, world-domination plans and commit massive criminal conspiracies on live national television; they send them there to repeal PUHCA and dole out funds for the F-22 and pass energy bills with $14 billion tax breaks and slash fuel-efficiency standards and do all the other shit that never makes the newspapers but keeps Wall Street and the country’s corporate boardrooms happy.
In other words, Hannah Arendt was right: the truest and most insidious evil is the most banal.
And that’s no fun.
This is the second post in a row in which I’ve quoted Matt Taibbi. Long-time readers of this column know I go gaga over Taibbi.
A contributing editor for Rolling Stone, Taibbi has penned the most incisive, righteously angry stories about the financial meltdown of 2007-08 to be found in any news outlet. He redefined the term vampire squid to describe the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs in its historic role in America’s bubble economy.
Goldman Sachs Boss Lloyd Blankfein Relaxes In His Pool
He just may be my fave journalist working today.
So, I figure I’ll give you my full rundown of excellent journalists at work today. You’ll note not a single one comes from the corporate media establishment. That’s because the people working for those profit-driven infotainment, news-as-soap-opera, bootlicking, obfuscating PR firms for the power elite are neither journalists nor excellent. As an example, Washingtonian magazine, the journal of the DC fecal-matter-encrusted ruling class, has named ABC’s George Stephanopoulos as one of the top 50 journalists in the nation. Stephanopoulos, you may recall, had his lips surgically removed from Bill Clinton’s posterior and went on to become one of the brightest lights in the phony-assed, professional wrestling inspired, faux two-sides-to-every-issue Sunday morning talk show world.
It’s like naming Psy one of the greatest musicians of the 21st Century.
Here, then, are the good reporters:
Klein, Ehrenreich & Taibbi
None of these people, as far as I know, attended last night’s White House Correspondents Dinner, an annual affair wherein corporate news media toadies are invited to laugh at the sitting president’s tepid jokes and breathe a rarified air reserved for only the best of America’s courtiers.
As Chris Hedges says, if you’re a journalist making $5 million a year, you should start to worry. Problem is, the “journalists” who make that kind of dough think their worries are over.