Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Rise of "Truth" How did 9/11 conspiracism enter the mainstream?

By Jeremy Stahl
Updated Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, at 7:01 AM ET
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, conspiracists started to create and spread what would ultimately become the foundational mythology of the 9/11 conspiracy movement: In order to suppress civil liberties and benefit their allies in the oil and gas industry, hawkish neoconservatives in the Bush administration—along with their partners in the CIA and FBI, of course—orchestrated a massive terror attack that killed 2,977 innocent civilians and mobilized the American populace behind otherwise unsupportable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is no consistent polling about the popularity of this theory. But in the early years of the decade, at least, it was relegated to the far reaches of the American political spectrum, a place memorably described in Richard Hofstadter's Paranoid Style in American Politics. In May 2002, with Bush's approval rating still well over 70 percent, fewer than one in 10 Americans in a CBS News poll said that the Bush administration was lying about what it knew regarding possible terror attacks prior to 9/11. By April 2004, 16 percent of respondents in a CBS News poll said that the Bush administration was "mostly lying" about what it knew about possible terrorist attacks against the United States prior to 9/11, while 56 percent said it was telling the truth but hiding something and 24 percent said it was telling the entire truth. By the five-year anniversary of the attacks, one in three Americans would tell pollsters that it was likely that the government either had a hand in the attacks of 9/11 or allowed them to happen in order to go to war in the Middle East.

What caused these ideas, by the middle of the decade, to enter the political mainstream? It's hard to say whether widespread discontent and mistrust makes people more willing to listen to ideas they previously considered absurd. But it seems plausible. And there can be little doubt that by the middle of 2006, 9/11 conspiracy theorists had a new base to draw from. That base was general unhappiness with the war in Iraq and a small but deep strain of Bush hatred.

The 9/11 conspiracy theories got a hearing in Europe and among liberal intellectuals like Gore Vidal before they rose in popularity in America. French author Thierry Meyssan's 9/11: The Big Lie, which postulated that the Pentagon was not struck by a jetliner but by a smaller military aircraft or a missile, was the No. 1 best-selling book in France for six weeks in the spring of 2002. By October, Vidal was seriously exploring a wide range of conspiracy theories that the Bush administration had been complicit in 9/11 for geostrategic reasons in an essay in Britain's Observer.

At home, such talk remained on the fringes of political life even as the war got under way. But fueled in part by anger over the deceptions of the war, the lack of accountability or disclosure on the part of the Bush administration with respect to the 9/11 Commission, and civil liberties abuses in the aftermath of the attacks, the popularity of conspiracy theories was steadily growing in 2003 and 2004.

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Ted Amadeus said...

"Conspiracy theories": Newspeak (Jewspeak?) for what happens when the "official (bullshit) story" does not square with the facts.
The Khazakh-Papist cabal/Establishment expects everyone to swallow their half-baked excuses whole without thinking. This is known as "taking it on faith" - because, of course, the world will come to an end/you'll go to hell if you don't. To "god's chosen people" and "the one, true cult", it is very much a case of Believe It Or Else.

texlahoma said...

Ted - Only the dumbest and most narrow minded people believe the official 9-11 story.
When you watch the Evening news you can see that they pretend everyone fits into the dumb, narrow minded category. I get so tired of the pretense, all the smarter people that know that 9/11 was an inside job have been nice to the poor little morons long enough.

We need to call them out on it whenever we hear someone that believes the 9/11 lies. They obviously don't know jack shit about it, we could easily destroy them with a few well placed questions to point out their ignorance. Like "What made building 7 fall at free fall speed into it's own footprint?"
We've been nice to these idiots for far to long.

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