Conspiracy Theory: A “Weaponized” Term?

by Admin on January 22, 2013

“Apparently, “conspiracy stuff” is now shorthand for unspeakable truth.” – Gore Vidal

A new book by Florida State University political science professor Dr. Lance-de-Haven-Smith takes an interesting look at the role of the word “conspiracy theory” in American politics.

Dr. Smith makes the argument that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) played the greatest role in “weaponizing” the term, or using it to describe any attempt that called the agency or the government’s acts into question.

From the assassination of JFK to 9/11, “conspiracy theory” has been used to describe any and all skepticism in political events. A CIA document was released in the 1970s that details the agencies efforts in doing so. The document lays out a “detailed series of actions and techniques for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.”

According to the Memory Hole blog, the document also details how the agency directed its members “[t]o employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

012213_Conspiracy Theorists_Fred vom Jupiter

The document may apply now more than ever, as tragically monumental events like the Sandy Hook massacre are called into question. Conspiracy theorists’ believing the massacre was a hoax are being either shunned by traditional and mainstream media, or ostracized as anti-American. In an age when governmental trust and confidence is at an all time low, giving alternative journalists like Alex Jones at least a listen, may be prudent.

 

Flickr photo courtesy of Fred vom Jupiter

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