On JFK’s murder, New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik parrots the Company line

… whether knowingly or not.


The Big Problem With Calling People “Conspiracy Theorists”
What happens when smart writers choose to simply fall in line?
By Josh Ozersky

Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker’s resident sage and polymath, dilated at some length on the cultural legacy of JFK’s assassination. The piece was uncharacteristically lazy and weak-minded, a rare but complete relaxation of Gopnik’s usually vigorous mind. Gopnik is about as smart as they come, but the piece is dumb, little more than one long scoff. Insofar as it engages in the debate over JFK’s demise at all, it relies on a handful of weak debate points you’ve heard many times before. And there’s a reason you’ve heard them before. They were all originally crafted for public use by the CIA.

Gopnik, like nearly all of his fellow archons in the journalism business, has an unshakable faith in the consensus view of JFK’s assassination. As far as he is concerned, the facts of the case are in plain view and that only “conspiracy theorists” would think otherwise. His breezy, shallow essay urbanely hectors “the world of conspiracy buffs.” No argument on his part is required; these “obsessives” discredit themselves. If they were legit, he seems to think, they would have free run of The New Yorker’s pages, instead of lurking in “assassination forums and chat rooms.” Brilliant though he may be, Gopnik is in this respect every bit as dumb as any hedge fund manager or surly celebrity; like them, he thinks his place at the top is a testimony to his influence, rather than the cause of it. (His two essays in this issue amount to 11 full pages.) Big-bore public intellectuals tend to think of themselves as floating above the fray. But really, they’re no better or worse than the bloggers and cranks they despise. They only think otherwise because, as another, more cynical New Yorker writer, George Trow, put it, “the referee always wins.”

Take JFK’s murder. Gopnik mentions Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartman’s exhaustive study of the assasination, Legacy of Secrecy—a gigantic tome utterly devoid of drama, style, or speculation. The book is rigorous in its research and citation, but Gopnik just just shrugs it off. The fact that Legacy of Secrecy presents a sustained argument supported with hundreds of White House, FBI, and other documents attained via the Freedom of Information Act, not to mention countless interviews of living persons, just doesn’t matter. Waldron and Hartman are “conspiracy theorists,” too, and so not worth paying attention to.

Read more.

One thought on “On JFK’s murder, New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik parrots the Company line”

  1. Adam Gopnik a Polymath? No, he’s just another Lone Nutter. Adam does not understand that real journalists deal in Conspiracy Facts, not Theories. He is ignorant of the JFK facts.

    A polymath? No he must be math challenged, because he does not understand the mathematics of JFK witness deaths that proves a conspiracy – not to mention the overwhelming medical, ballistic, photographic and eyewitness evidence.


    This post is updated for the latest data, analysis and graphics from the JFK Calc Spreadsheet/database of Unnatural and Suspicious Deaths. Mortality rates used for expected deaths and probabilities are from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005124.html.

    There are 118 deaths listed in JFK Calc. Seventy-six (76) were officially unnatural (34 homicides, 14 suicides, 25 accidents, 3 unknown). The other 42 were natural (heart attacks, cancers, other). But many accidents, suicides and natural deaths were very likely homicides. Therefore the number of unnatural deaths has been adjusted to 83 (49 homicides, 7 suicides, 24 accidents, 3 unknown), as shown in the following tables.

    Assuming that 1400+ material witnesses were connected in some way to the assassination, the probability of 83 unnatural deaths from 1964-78 (using the JFK-weighted average unnatural mortality rate) is 3.1E-70 (less than 1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion). Some have questioned the assumption that there were more homicides than officially reported. But the probability is still ZERO (1.2E-58) assuming 76 official unnatural deaths. The JFK-weighted unnatural mortality rate is the product of the national rates applied to 49 homicides, 7 suicides, 24 accidents, 3 unknown.

    To put the magnitude of the probabilities in context, there are approximately one trillion trillion stars in the universe. In other words, the probability of guessing the name of one of 10^24 stars`in the universe is much higher than the probability that there was not a conspiracy to assassinate JFK. These numbers clearly prove a conspiracy beyond any doubt.

    The 1964-78 national average annual homicide rate was 0.000084 (or 8 per 100,000). Therefore, among an estimated 1400+ JFK-related witnesses, only 1.77 = 1400*15*.000084 homicides would normally be expected in the 15 year period. But there were 34 official and 49 adjusted homicides in JFK Calc.

    Furthermore, as shown in the table, a total of 18 natural and unnatural deaths would be expected in a random group of 118 in 15 years. But as there were 118 deaths in this admittedly selected (but very material) group, it is not unreasonable to assume that as many as 100 were homicides.

    These books are highly recommended for detailed information on JFK witnesses:
    Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination by Michael Benson (1400+ names, 95 in JFK Calc)
    Hit List by Richard Belzer and David Wayne (50 suspicious deaths, all in JFK Calc)
    Crossfire by Jim Marrs (103 “convenient” deaths, virtually all in JFK Calc)
    They Killed Our President by Jesse Ventura, Richard Russell and David Wayne (63 reasons)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.