From David Ray Griffin:
It’s good to have the Huffington Post’s policy on “conspiracy theories” in black and white.
So now someone needs to inform them that they cannot accept any posts that state, or imply, that al-Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, for that is a conspiracy theory.
That has been acknowledged by Cass Sunstein, the Chicago-and-then-Harvard professor of law who was tapped by President Obama to direct OIRA, the executive branch’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (which is under the Office of Management and Budget).
In a 2009 article entitled “Conspiracy Theories,” he and his Harvard co-author wrote:
“The theory that Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 is . . . a . . . conspiracy theory.”
(The complete statement is: “The theory that Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 is thus a justified and true conspiracy theory.”) See Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” Journal of Political Philosophy, 17/2 (June 2009), 202-27, at 208.
In pointing out that there are true as well as false conspiracy theories, Sunstein refers readers to philosopher Charles Pigden, who gave this definition: “”[A] conspiracy theory is simply a theory that posits a conspiracy – a secret plan on the part of some group to influence events by partly secret means.” (Charles Pigden, “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom,” Episteme, 4 (2007), 219-32, Sect. 2.)
So, in telling us that the 9/11 attacks resulted from a conspiracy between Osama bin Laden and 19 members of his al-Qaeda organization, Bush and Cheney clearly articulated a conspiracy theory. They and Sunstein, of course, call it a true theory; but all conspiracy theorists claim that their theories are true.
In any case, the HP did not say that it accepted true conspiracy theories and excluded only false ones (and to do this, they would need to do an enormous amount of research). They said they avoid “lending credibility to any conspiracy theories.”
This means, for example, that they cannot allow President Obama say that we are in Afghanistan to “get the people who attacked us on 9/11,” because he’s thereby endorsing the Bush-Cheney conspiracy theory about 9/11.
What the HP policy amounts to is excluding any allegations that our own government has orchestrated any conspiracy. So they would have had to exclude all allegations about Tonkin Gulf being a hoax; ditto about the Watergate break in; ditto for WMD in Iraq (recall “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”?); ditto for the claim that Saddam helped al-Qaeda with the 9/11 attacks; and so on.
One would hope that the people at HP, being reasonable people, will see that they need to rethink their policy. Reading Charles Pigden’s essay would be an excellent place to start.
David Ray Griffin
Santa Barbara, CA
16 Comments to “HuffPost’s absurd stand on “conspiracy theories” (David Ray Griffin)”
“While We Were Sleeping”
Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD
About News From Underground
News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.
If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:
Help News From Underground!
Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."
Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- How NYU squeezes billions from its students—and where that money goes
- US cops snatch hundreds of millions—legally—from motorists who’ve done no wrong
- Koch fiends in Wisconsin Senate poised to scrap 48-hour wait before handgun purchase
- Comcast throws in the towel, won’t eat Time Warner after all
- “Why Obama Should Pardon Don Siegelman” (Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker!)
- Don’t buy these products from Koch Industries! on
- Wisconsin to buy “all new voting machines”—and Koch/Walker will go on “winning” there FOREVER! on
- Please SIGN Elizabeth Warren’s petition to halt “fast track” of TPP! on
- 2nd Amendment was devised to keep Americans in chains on
- Update on the strange death of Nancy Schaefer on
- NY Fed moving to Chicago, Feds stocking up on ammo, NORAD hunkering down: What's up?
- Don't buy these products from Koch Industries!
- Where the money goes at NYU
- Forbidden Bookshelf
- The strange death of Nancy Schaefer (two items)
- Democratic Undergroud
- William Betz
- Talking Points Memo
- Evil GOP Bastards
- The Rude Pudit
- History Unfolding
- t r u t h o u t
- Writers Voice
- Words of Power
- The Ostroy Report
- Citizens for Legitimate Government
- Early America
- alias Bruce
- Thom Hartmann
- Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
- Barry Gordon
Need a bigger font size?
- Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.