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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"You know what we need? More conspiracy theories."

If you call up the most recent news pieces about Sean Hoare, the dead whistleblower in the Murdoch phone hacking scandal, you'll be constantly reminded that the death is "not suspicious." Suspiciously, no one is saying how or where or under what circumstances the body was discovered, or which person spoke to him last and what was said on that occasion. We are, in short, not getting the details we should expect to get.

Journalists have floated the story that the guy used drugs, but they've also spoken in very general terms about health problems. Remember, the press won't allow themselves to find the deed "suspicious" unless the cops so declare -- even though this is a story about police corruption. And news corruption.

Between this non-suspicious death and the very non-suspicious decision to bury Osama Bin Laden at sea (and not to show any videos of the raid, even though we know that some soldiers wear miniature cameras which relay real-time feed to commanders) -- well, I'm starting to wonder about the people who write the news. It's as though they're trying to create paranoia.

"People haven't been formulating enough conspiracy theories. We need to encourage them. We need to make the job easier."

Let's make it a contest: Try to think up a new event that even the most fiercely non-paranoid writer would find irresistible fodder for conspiracy theorizing. Hmm. How about...

How about a political assassination in which the prime suspect is named Oswald Ray Wilkes? And he commits "suicide" with two bullets, one above each ear? And the police tell us: Nothing suspicious here; move along...

Or how about this: The Chrysler Building suddenly disappears. No explosion: It just vanishes in an instant. The government refuses to acknowledge that such a building ever existed; all photographs and references to it have been erased from the internet. And the news media tell us: Nothing suspicious here; move along...
Comments:
Hmmmm. Philadelphia Experiment, anyone?
 
as of late you became a very suspicious person
 
Floating the health problems reminds me of the immediate aftermath of Lori Klausutis' death, where Scarborough gave false information to news outlets that Klausutis suffered from "health problems." (His press secretary took over when Joe Scar clumsily included "diabetes" amongst the fictitious ailments.) Lori's family furiously blamed the media for "sensationalizing" when, in fact, the press were quoting the congressman himself. Not to mention the facts... her multiple head fractures, a medical examiner who'd been kicked out for fraud, etc... were more sensationalistic than "health problems."
 
At least Martin Hickman, columnist at the Independent, says there's no conspiracy.

He can't write: he says "firstly" and "secondly", etc. Maybe he doesn't know "first" and "second" can be adverbs. Or perhaps he hasn't got the wit to apply Orwell's "cut it out" injunction to morphemes as well as words. But never mind that. Let's assume (don't laugh! I mean what journalist doesn't like a good conspiracy theory?) that Marty-babes means what he says. This courageous man praises the newspaper that employs him and criticises its rivals. Let's assume he would have done it the other way round if he'd honestly thought that was called for. So the question is: how does an anti-conspiracist nutter like him actually think?

There's a clue in the following hilarious paragraph:

True, we do not yet have all the facts

yes yes

but there are many reasons why Mr Hoare's death presents no more of a conspiracy than the failure of Princess Diana to fasten her seatbelt while being driven through the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris in 1997.

Oh yes, many, many.

Here I'd look beyond this jobsworth's problems with writing English, and focus on the verb he uses: "presents".

From the point of view of this creep, and the hordes of commentators who are like him, a "conspiracy" isn't an association of individuals to achieve an aim by means of actions occulted from view. Oh no, fuck that. It's a kind of story or take on something that arises afterwards. Either a conspiracy gets 'presented' or it doesn't. Everything's a fucking story in this postmodern age, right? Never mind that people with the level of carbon monoxide poisoning indicated by Henri Paul's alleged blood sample wouldn't be able to stand up, let alone fucking drive. There are "many" reasons to look in other directions. Like she wasn't wearing a seatbelt, right. Well neither was the guy in the front seat who survived. But hey, are you some kind of conshpirashy theorisht?

I'm not going to let Mart off the hook and conclude that he writes "presents" when he means "indicates". But does his mouth burn when he utters the word "facts"?
 
Thanks for the link, b. What a story! I still think that journalism is (somewhat) better in the U.K. than in the U.S., but there's no denying that Hickman has created a masterpiece of bullshit. And I'll still call it a masterpiece of bullshit even if I am eventually persuaded that Hoare died of due to bad health.
 
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