Intl. Notebook Dec 2 2010
SILENCED MAJORITY
How do you turn fiction into fact? Leave it to mainstream journalism.


An item came across the wires today that we found quite interesting. Seems Lee Harvey Oswald’s coffin is being auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions of Los Angeles, CA. The reality of the auction certainly shows that there’s nothing that isn’t for sale, especially in America, but that isn’t what caught our eye. We first read about the event thanks to Hugh Collins of AOL News, and double-checked what we read by visiting several other news outlets. The pieces we encountered demonstrated not only the incredible laziness of mainstream journalism, but also the mechanism that keeps a myth in place in spite of fierce pushback from the public at large.

In the AOL article, for instance, Collins doesn’t refer to Oswald as the person arrested for Kennedy’s assassination. That would have been accurate. No, he instead refers to Oswald as the person “believed” to have killed Kennedy. Now, as we pointed out in our recent post on Oswald, the actual truth is that he is believed to have been part of a conspiracy. Depending on which survey you read, up to 81% of Americans think there’s something fishy about the official account of that sad day in Dallas, and that number was 52% in 1963 when Gallup conducted its first poll on the subject just days after the assassination. That means proponents of the official theory have never been in the majority. So how does all that translate in Collins’ mind to Oswald being “believed” to be Kennedy’s killer? Is it possible it’s because this is simply what he believes? Maybe, but more likely, he didn't bother to check what people actually believe and neither did his editors.

The problem here is a reader with doubts about the official assassination story might have read Collins’ piece and had those doubts put to rest, for today at least. They might have thought, “Oh, since I’m in the minority on this one, I guess I’ll just keep my mouth shut so I don’t look like a crackpot.” Are we saying the conspiracy theorists are right? Not at all. What we’re saying is there’s a tipping point at which you have to stop pretending people are crazy, and address the issues involved with intellectual honesty. We’re well past that point with Kennedy. Most people think there’s at least a shovelful or two of bullshit in the official account, and no, they cannot be equated with people who believe in extraterrestrial cow mutilations or the healing power of crystals. Disbelievers of the official Kennedy story are the vast majority, and those without doubts are the tiny minority, so maybe lets start referring to these groups properly, m'kay?

Oh, and nice coffin. Bidding starts at a grand, for those who have a ghoulish bent and some spare cash laying around. But before you bid we gotta be serious for a sec—having said all of the above, if you buy this filthy old box it's very possible that you actually are a crackpot.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
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