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Jewish World Review April 24, 2002/ 13 Iyar, 5762

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

Conspiracy theories laughable

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Just because you don't think you have a mind-control chip in your brain doesn't necessarily mean that at this precise moment 10 white men aren't seated at a round table in an ice palace 500 miles beneath the Arctic Circle controlling your every thought. I mean, they could be.

And George W. Bush could have orchestrated the events of 9-11. And an American man jailed in Canada, ostensibly on credit-card fraud charges, could really be a former intelligence officer who warned jail guards last August of the planned "terrorist" attacks.

And Osama bin Laden could have met with a CIA official in a Dubai hospital while being treated for kidney disease. And, and, and Elvis might still be alive. Actually, he's one of the 10 white men at the Arctic table. You just knew it, didn't you?

Excepting the part about Elvis, these are just a handful of the many 9-11 conspiracy theories circulating out yonder. One couldn't begin to list them all, much less address their basis in fact, in a column. Suffice it to say, there's something for everybody out there and, unfortunately, some politicians who've gotten enough attention lately are contributing to their longevity for reasons that escape logic.

Is there any truth to any of it? Did Bush orchestrate the events of 9-11, as some claim? Did he know in advance about the attacks and do nothing so that his oil friends could get rich, as others have suggested?

Dozens of Web sites offer a smorgasbord of news snippets and individual conjecture to make a case for Bush's collusion in the event or at least in covering up the real perpetrators. One theory includes a timeline that supposedly "proves" that the U.S. government knew of the attacks but did nothing. Another suggests that the hijacked planes were flown by remote control, possibly by a nation such as Saudi Arabia.

Two thoughts: Americans have too much time on their hands; the Internet is the new asylum.

The question that burns, second only to "Why do they hate us?" is "Why are so many Americans willing to believe such irrational conspiracy theories?"

Social psychologists who study such phenomena offer this profile of the people who create and embrace conspiracy theories: They tend to feel marginalized, fearful and helpless. After perusing many of these sites, I offer another characteristic - bored. It's pure entertainment to participate in conspiracy theories, gathering with like-minded e-pals trying to fit puzzle pieces together.

Without trying to refute each piece of conspiracy-theory "evidence" - it is after all impossible to prove a negative - anyone who's ever stood in line for a driver's license knows instinctively that the U.S. government isn't capable of pulling off the events of 9-11. Such a deed would require long-term planning, massive cooperation, blood trust, utmost secrecy and - important detail here - no leaks.

Washington can't take a shower without an APB being issued. But George Bush - the same Bush, remember, who's considered a "not too bright" bungler - managed to kill thousands of Americans under the guise of radical Islamic terrorists so that he can build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan?

Sorry, sheeples, but you can't have it both ways: t'backy-chewin' moron or junior genius Dr. Know? Pick one.

Most amusing of all the conspiracy theories is the one suggesting that The Media are some monolithic purveyor of disinformation underwritten by the Arctic Big Ten or their equivalent. I'm told, for instance, that I'm paid by the right-wing propaganda machine, given my support of most Bush policies in the wake of 9-11 and my rejection of current conspiracy theories.

"You're being paid to lie to the American people," wrote one of my new fans.

Here's the truth: I know of no reporter, editor or columnist in the Western hemisphere who wouldn't sell his mother's honeymoon pictures for a good story, no matter whose life gets ruined. No one, especially not a president, is off limits when Truth is at stake, not to mention Pulitzers.

The notion that we're all on the same team is laughable. Nobody does schadenfreude with as much glee as reporters, who shamelessly scour media gossip pages looking for their peers' failures and embarrassments. Don't ask how I know.

The idea, meanwhile, that columnists are highly paid by ANYone is good for a chuckle, but, frankly, it isn't helping my headache, which as a matter of fact started on Sept. 11. I was minding my own business when all of a sudden, I found myself in an underground ice palace, and there were these 10 white guys.


JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

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