The University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences and Political Science Department held what was likely the world’s first official academic Conference on Conspiracy Theories from March 12th to 14th. The event was attended by 45 social scientists, historians and philosophers, including this author, who was initially uncertain whether he had been invited as a colleague or specimen.
The estrangement and doubt toward the conspiratorial by many attendees was evident in some paper titles, such as, “Anti-Science Conspiracy Theories of the Right and Left,” “Telling the Truth About Believing the Lies,” and “Conspiracy Beliefs and Personal Beliefs: Exploring the Linkage between a Person’s Value System and his/her Conspiratorial Ideas.” One overarching assumption in the social scientific research was evident in three conspiracy bugaboos: “climate change denial,” “vaccination denial,” and questioning President Obama’s genealogy. Other sources of what certain academic vernaculars term “conspiracy ideation” or “conspiracy belief” included 9/11, the JFK assassination, and the crash of TWA 800.
No controversy ensued when Williams and NBC colleague Tom Brokaw repeatedly upheld the Warren Commission’s “lone assassin” conspiracy theory on November 22, 2013
By James F. Tracy
NBC suspended Brian Williams for six months on February 10. The fashionable anchor admitted to lying about a being involved in a life-threatening combat situation while reporting in Iraq over a decade ago. Yet a survey of Williams’ career indicates that this isn’t the first time he’s been dishonest with the American people.
On this week’s edition of Real Politik we are joined by Kris Millegan, publisher of that modest yet significant book imprint, TrineDay. Millegan discusses how in the late 1960s his father, a veteran OSS and CIA operative, explained to him that the world’s major institutions were greatly influenced by “secret societies.”
Talk show host, comedian, attorney, and political analyst Lionel is this week’s guest on Real Politik. He discusses his participation in the origins of contemporary talk radio, a long fascination with political conspiracies, the decline of broadcast journalism, the return of Howard Beale, how courtrooms can resemble comedy clubs, and much more.
In 2008 media studies scholar Jack Bratich introduced the concept of conspiracy panics to interpret powerful government and media reactions to the “collective intelligence” activities enacted by laypersons and evident within broader forms of popular culture.
On August 13 James Tracy’s new program, Real Politik, debuted on the Truth Frequency Radio network. The hour-long interview show will be broadcast each Wednesday at 6:00PM Eastern Standard Time, and mp3 files of the program may be downloaded at TFR’s Real Politik page here following its initial airing.
An infirmity once characterizing the past century’s most severe totalitarian regimes has now taken root in Western public discourse and practice, a process akin to Orwellian “double think” acting as a form of de facto censorship preempting consideration of major issues and events. This mindset is obliquely shared by a majority of professional journalists, academics, and public office holders—in short, those who represent and lead public opinion. Their collective publicity of the unsaid preserves and perpetuates existing belief systems and power relations. To be sure, there are self-evident injunctions for those straying from such unspoken protocols, including expulsion from this professional class.