Debunking Conspiracy Theories
Theories are unproven assertions. If empirical evidence is presented then the theory moves to fact. In another realm, allegations are not subject to rigorous examination. There is a strain of thought that embraces beliefs ranging from UFOs in Roswell to who killed JFK to black helicopters. These theories take on an almost theological conviction. If one challenges them that is proof that you are a dupe. In all instances it is a sinister “they” who are behind everything. Self-styled experts appear with websites and in nano seconds jump from speculation to fact. Their “findings” are quickly transmitted. A lot of it is, A happened therefore Y is true. The leaps of logic are breathtaking. 9/11 has spawned the latest cottage industry of theories.
Chip Berlet is an investigative journalist and coordinator of the Building Human Rights Network. His byline has appeared in scores of publications, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Progressive. For many years he served as senior analyst at Political Research Associates.