The Origin Of Conspiracy Theory.

by Jerry Alatalo

whitekeys4-1

Alphabet Professor of Media Studies at NYU Mark Crispin Miller gave a very interesting talk in the past days at the Left Forum in New York City. He describes how the Central Intelligence Agency in 1967 sent a memo to all of its station chiefs worldwide to use propaganda and media connections to discredit anyone disputing the findings of the Warren Commission on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as a “conspiracy theorist”. This was in response to a number of published books which questioned the “lone gunman theory” and became bestsellers. Before 1967, published media reports rarely used the term “conspiracy theorist”, but after that CIA memo Miller argues the derogatory term has become used to shut down credibility of left critiques or discussions of government misbehavior/crimes.

Professor Miller wonders why the left isn’t talking about 9/11, when there is “copious evidence that the official 9/11 story is preposterous.” He wonders “why aren’t we all talking about this, why aren’t the American people talking about this,  and why hasn’t another (9/11) commission been convened?” He shares a woman’s review of a film he appeared in where she discounts his contribution because he is a “9/11 truther”, although the film had nothing to do with the events of September 11, 2001.

Before 2007 and publication of Mr. Miller’s book “Fooled Again” where he makes the case that the 2004 presidential election victory by Bush/Cheney was stolen, Mark Crispin Miller was a regular on TV and radio talk shows. After the book came out, he says that he was effectively blacked out, and the phone became silent from those who invited him for discussions on-air. A friend helped him prepare advertisements for the book on the local National Public Radio affiliate, only to be told “We’re not going to advertise just any book. We wouldn’t publish Mein Kampf“. Miller was “stunned”, especially since the book was taken by a mainstream publisher, and he associated with the publicist of Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.

The official truth is the truth, everything else is conspiracy theory

Professor Miller describes use of the conspiracy theorist meme as “the most effective propaganda campaign in American history – maybe even the history of the world”.  Unfortunately, the campaign has resulted in a “profound change in the worldview of the American people”, disrupting a centuries-old American tradition of natural, healthy suspicion of actions taken by powerful government officials, the executive branch,  and wealthy elites. The term conspiracy theorist has become weaponized as means to silence dissent, even though time and time again through history intentional provocations (false flags) were used to initiate wars of aggression.

He shares an exchange between American psychiatrist G.M. Gilbert and Nazi leader Hermann Goring at Nuremburg Prison after Goring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity:

Gilbert: “In a democracy, the people have some say through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare war”.

Goring: “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders – that’s easy. All you have to do is tell them that they’re being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country”.

British Prime Minister David Cameron compared conspiracy theorists to ISIS at last year’s United Nations General Assembly meeting. French leader Francois Holland compared conspiracy theorists to the Nazis. Mr. Miller believes some people on the left aren’t really leftist, and pointed out that the founder of the influential democratic politics website Daily Kos was trained at the CIA, and refused to allow any editorial posts suggesting election fraud during the 2004 presidential election. The Nation and Progressive magazines have attacked those questioning the official 9/11 Commission Report, while the Nation, Mother Jones and Salon dismissed the analysis in Mark Crispin Miller’s book “Fooled Again”.

Lance deHaven-Smith invented a term for use instead of conspiracy theory: SCAD – State Crime Against Democracy.

****

“Fooled Again” (2007) by Mark Crispin Miller:

http://www.amazon.com/Fooled-Again-Real-Electoral-Reform

“Conspiracy Theory in America” (2014) by Lance deHaven-Smith:

http://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Theory-America-Discovering

(Thank you to johnmiglietta at YouTube)

Danny Schechter (1942-2015)

by Jerry Alatalo

Galaxy1

Alphabet Danny Schechter died at the age of 72 on Thursday March 19, 2015. He had pancreatic cancer. He was a good and decent man.

Danny Schechter was a writer, author and documentarian whose greatest contribution could have been the communications work/actions he carried out which played a significant role in exposing to the world, then ending, South Africa’s apartheid system. For those increasing numbers of men and women around the world wishing to end the apartheid system in Israel with its decades-long oppression of Palestinians – a situation which according to Bishop Desmond Tutu is many times worse than in South Africa shortly before apartheid ended there – there are great lessons to learn from Danny Schechter.

Mr. Schechter and his fellow anti-apartheid friends helped produce the news program “South Africa Now”, which went on to become broadcasted on over 150 PBS stations in America and seen in some 40 nations around the world. The news program should rightly be remembered as a decisive factor in educating the world’s people about what was really occurring in South Africa, igniting a worldwide awareness and activism, leading to enough pressure on both supporters of apartheid from America and other nations, the South Africa apartheid regime itself, and then the eventual dismantling of the racist system.

Danny Schechter had inside understanding of mainstream corporate media after working in that industry. He spent a short time working on ABC’s “20-20” where he won two Emmys, and at CNN during that network’s beginnings. He left the corporate media industry and went on to write articles and books, as well as produce a number of highly acclaimed documentaries.

The memory which stands out most for this writer about Danny Schechter was his friendly, likeable demeanor. He must have been a lot of fun to spend time with, aside from his admirable, honorable, truthful writing and filmmaking. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the first person greeting him in the afterlife, seeing the good difference Danny Schechter’s efforts made to the lives of the people of South Africa, was Nelson Mandela. Their shared joy upon meeting on the “other side” can only have been immeasurable.

****

From The Progressive Radio Network website prn.fm:

Danny Schechter, host of The News Dissector, passed away March 19th, 2015. We will continue honor his legacy, by broadcasting best of performances of his show at it’s regularly scheduled time.

Danny Schechter is a journalist, author, television producer and independent filmmaker who also writes and speaks about economic and media issues. He is the executive editor of MediaChannel.org, the world’s largest online media issues online network, and recipient of many awards including the Society of Professional Journalists‘ 2001 Award for Excellence in Documentary Journalism. His latest films are “Barack Obama, People’s President (2009), an examination of how Obama won and “IN DEBT WE TRUST:” America Before The Bubble Bursts,” (2007) an investigation of the impact of credit and debt on American society. The film was one of the first to expose subprime lending and warn of an economic crisis. He was a Director on “Viva Madiba,” a feature-length biopic tribute to Nelson Mandela on his 90th Birthday. (2008).

He is the author of ten books including Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books, 2008); Squeezed: America As the Bubble Bursts (ColdType, 2007); “The Death of the Media” (Melville Press); When News Lies: Media Complicity and the Iraq War (Select Books); “Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception: How the Media Failed to Cover the Iraq War” (Prometheus Books, October 2003); “Media Wars: News At A Time of Terror (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); “The More You Watch, The Less You Know” (Seven Stories Press) and “News Dissector: Passions, Pieces and Polemics” (Akashic) Books and Electron Press).

Schechter is co-founder and executive producer of Globalvision, a New York-based television and film production company now in its 21st year. He founded and exec-produced the TV series “South Africa Now” and co-produced the series “Rights & Wrongs: Human Rights Television. He has specialized in investigative reporting and producing programming about the interface between human rights, journalism, popular music and society. His career began as the “News Dissector” at Boston’s leading rock station, WBCN. Later, he moved into television as an on-camera reporter for WGBH (Channel 2) in Boston and then as a producer for WLVI (Channel 56) and WCVB (Channel 5)Schechter then joined the start-up team of CNN and later became a producer for ABC NEWS 20/20. He produced 50 segments for ABC NEWS and won two national Emmys and was nominated or two others.

He has produced and directed many TV specials and documentary films, including WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) on the media coverage of the Iraq War; “Counting on Democracy” about the electoral fiasco in Florida narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; the post 9-11 film We Are Family” (2002) shown at the Sundance Film Festival; “Nkosi: A Voice of Africa’s AIDS Orphans” (2001) narrated by Danny Glover; “A Hero for All: Nelson Mandela’s Farewell” (l999); “Beyond Life: Timothy Leary Lives” (1997); “Sowing Seeds/Reaping Peace: The World of Seeds of Peace” (1996); “Prisoners of Hope: Reunion on Robben Island” (1995, co-directed by Barbara Kopple); “Countdown to Freedom: Ten Days that Changed South Africa” (1994), narrated by James Earl Jones and Alfre Woodard; “Sarajevo Ground Zero” (1993); “The Living Canvas” (1992), narrated by Billy Dee Williams; “Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy” (1992, co-directed by Marc Levin and Barbara Kopple); “Give Peace a Chance” (1991); “Mandela in America” (1990); “The Making of Sun City” (1987); and “Student Power” (1968).

He has spoken at scores of universities—from Harvard to Hamline, from Minnesota to MIT, NYU to Georgia States, Santa Monica to the University of Hawaii, Princeton to Cornell.

A Cornell University graduate, he received his Master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and an honorary doctorate from Fitchburg College. He was a Neiman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard, where he also taught in 1969. After college, he was a full time civil rights worker and then communications director of the Northern Student Movement, and worked as a community organizer in a Saul Alinsky-style War on Poverty program. Then, moving from the streets to the suites, Schechter served as an assistant to the Mayor of Detroit in 1966 on a Ford Foundation grant.

Schechter has reported from 61 countries. He was an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and taught investigative reporting at the New School. Schechter’s writing has appeared in leading newspapers and magazines including the The Nation, Newsday, Boston Globe, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, Detroit Free Press, Village Voice, Tikkun, Z, and many others.

*******

To listen to past editions of Danny Schechter’s radio talk show , please visit: http://thenewsdissector.podbean.com/

(Thank you to democracynow at YouTube)