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.
March 23
2011—Elizabeth Taylor Dies
American actress Elizabeth Taylor, whose career began at age 12 when she starred in National Velvet, and who would eventually be nominated for five Academy Awards as best actress and win for Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, dies of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles. During her life she had been hospitalized more than 70 times.
March 22
1963—Profumo Denies Affair
In England, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, denies any impropriety with showgirl Christine Keeler and threatens to sue anyone repeating the allegations. The accusations involve not just infidelity, but the possibility acquaintances of Keeler might be trying to ply Profumo for nuclear secrets. In June, Profumo finally resigns from the government after confessing his sexual involvement with Keeler and admitting he lied to parliament.
1978—Karl Wallenda Falls to His Death
World famous German daredevil and high-wire walker Karl Wallenda, founder of the acrobatic troupe The Flying Wallendas, falls to his death attempting to walk on a cable strung between the two towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wallenda is seventy-three years old at the time, but it is a 30 mph wind, rather than age, that is generally blamed for sending him from the wire.
2006—Swedish Spy Stig Wennerstrom Dies
Swedish air force colonel Stig Wennerström, who had been convicted in the 1970s of passing Swedish, U.S. and NATO secrets to the Soviet Union over the course of fifteen years, dies in an old age home at the age of ninety-nine. The Wennerström affair, as some called it, was at the time one of the biggest scandals of the Cold War.
March 21
1963—Alcatraz Closes
The federal penitentiary located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay closes. The island had been home to a lighthouse, a military fortification, and a military prison over the years. In 1972, it would become a national recreation area open to tourists, and it would receive national landmark designations in 1976 and 1986.
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