“Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.
Conspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to
liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the
“New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely
played the greatest role in effectively “weaponizing” the term. READ MORE