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The Lidle Crash "Conspiracy" By: Jon Sanders
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alex Jones dishes out mad conspiracy stew and the paranoiacs (even college professors) lap it up. But the formula is simple, and somebody is going to profit off these poor fools: everything that happens is orchestrated by a Grand Conspiracy, which can be determined post hoc — and any facts that don't fit the conspiracy, well, the Grand Conspiracy was so clever, it even knew to plant those red herrings! It is the ultimate Procrustean bed.

I have had my encounters with Alex Jones and his ilk. After my FrontPage Magazine article criticized one college professor for her course preaching the 9/11 Bush/Zionist plot, I was inundated with the most bizarre, angry, vicious, and paranoid e-mails from the conspiracymongers put onto my column by Jones — whose web sites and videos were used by the professor as her primary sources. Jones even invited me on his radio program, and immediately before he introduced me to his audience, he made a remark about being "CIA funded, like some of these writers are." Not being CIA funded, I know firsthand how Jones makes up wild stories to continue to feed his audience conspiratorial red meat.

Breaking through the conspiracymonger's mindset is a nearly impossible job, because a Grand Conspiracy theory almost always insulates itself from any self-test or falsifiability. When all events are assumed to be orchestrated, then each single event counter to the theory is invariably assumed to be hoaxed to put the diligent "truth-seeker" off the scent. I have tried, with some success, in personal communication with honestly seeking 9/11 doubters to communicate the tools for proper skepticism and how they must also be used on the theories themselves.


I have also tried to illustrate before the fact how a conspiracy theorist might react to events. Furthermore, a recurring theme in the 9/11 and other Grand Conspiracy theories is that "Eyewitnesses said X but the government and the controlled media are saying Y — obviously they're trying to hide the truth, which is X." I have tried to point out in new events how eyewitness accounts to a sudden, surprising catastrophe are often conflicted, erroneous, and wildly variable in the confusion that immediately follows.


So, was the Lidle crash a government psy-op?


Yesterday, following the tragic plane crash in New York City that claimed the life of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, I wrote about the inevitable conflicting reports and how a conspiracymonger might treat them. I wrote:


It's been a few hours since this accident hit the news reports, but Fox News notes this: "The Federal Aviation Administration said that the small aircraft was fixed wing, but earlier reports indicated that it may have been a small helicopter."


Hot Air has basically live-blogged the catastrophe; you can read how many reports have come in that have later proven to be erroneous. As I've pointed out before, there will always be confusing and conflicting details from people on the scene when something like this happens. But conspiracymongers make no allowance for initial confusion during an event — in fact, they exploit that confusion to build a case after the fact for government (or whomever) "suppressing the truth."


So in this instance, should it become a cause célèbre in kookdom, the tinfoil hats would start churning out bug-eyed rants about "The FAA is LYING about 10/11! Eyewitnesses report seeing black helicopters hitting the buildings! We're living in a wag-the-dog police state! It's time to panic!"


I couldn't resist checking, and sure enough, Alex Jones had already started in on a  governmental conspiracy angle. In an article entitled "Manhattan Plane Crash Simple Accident Or Suspicious Psy-op?," Jones and co-author Paul Joseph Watson had speculated in the first paragraph,


Is this a government psy-op intended to invoke memories of 9/11 as the mid-term elections approach?


Shortly after my post, the news broke about Lidle. I wondered what Jones et al. would have to say about that. Would they suggest that Lidle was in on the plot? Would they propose that the late Yankees pitcher was a tool of the Neo-Cons, or would they suggest that he's perhaps alive and well in a Secret Government Bunker sharing drinks with the 9/11 hijackers, and Elvis and Amelia Earhart, too?


No, what Jones and Watson did was even more hilarious. They changed the article, wiping out all traces of their immediate thoughts that it could be a government psy-op campaign to influence the mid-term election. The new article instead accused others of "hysterical reactions" — to wit,


Fox News' Neil Cavuto … bizarrely put the pilot error of the Yankees' Cory Lidle into the context of how it would affect the upcoming mid-term elections.


Yes, what Fox News (you realize, of course, that Fox is the medium of the supposed Bush/Zionist plot) put "in the context" of how it would affect the elections, Jones and Watson had put in a blaring headline as a potential "government psy-op" campaign. Which they later tried to put down the Internet memory hole.


Unfortunately for them, in their original reworking of the article, they had forgotten to change the lead paragraph. So while the new headline said "Fox News Spins Plane Accident; Says It Could Affect Election," their second sentence still spun the plane accident: "Is this a government psy-op intended to invoke memories of 9/11 as the mid-term elections approach?"


That is what I happened upon shortly after my original post, and it's what I took a screenshot of, figuring that Jones and Watson would later discover their mistake. I took another screenshot this morning of the rewritten article. I highlighted the "hysterical" portions of each.


The article before its complete revision:



The article after revision:



I hope the 9/11 "truth" profs and their acolytes see this and realize. This is your truth guru at work.


I expect, however, that any reaction will be either along the lines of "The Zionists in charge of the CIA had Sanders make this up in a feeble effort to derail Jones and the 9/11 truth movement" or "Jones is controlled opposition; the ultimate tool of the regime." Well, I suppose it could be both, too.


Also, with regard to my initial prediction, I see there's already an article on Jones' site bearing the headline "Some Eyewitnesses Claim Crash Was Helicopter."


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Jon Sanders (jsanders@johnlocke.org) is a research editor at the John Locke Foundation.

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