The TODAY SHOW [Editor's Note: On 9 August 2001, NBC's TODAY SHOW, extending its theme of "Truth or Conspiracy?", featured an interview with Gerald Posner, the author of CASE CLOSED. It was a brilliant piece of work, down to its title, which implies conspiracy theories are never true!] ____________________________________________________________________________ In the annals of disinformation, this interview ranks as a classic and will no doubt receive many accolades, which it richly deserves. It began with a conventional exchange between Katie Couric, adorable hostess, and Gerald Posner, assassination expert. In response to Katie's initial inquiry about enduring interest in the assassination, Posner noted that it involved (1) the murder of a President, (2) the murder of a young, charismatic President, and (3) that it was massively covered on televison, including (4) the murder of the asassin as well, which was captured live as it happened. That Oswald could not have been indicted much less convicted on the basis of the available evidence was noted no more than the absence of the word "alleged" to qualify the word "assassin". Katie asked if Posner were suprised that more than 68% of Americans do not think that Oswald acted alone. Posner gamely replied that he was surprised it was not as high as 90% because (1) the official inquiry by a "blue ribbon panel" was conducted in secrecy and (2) produced a report with (a) no motive, (b) no mob connections, and no exploration of cover-ups by either (c) the FBI or (d) the CIA. This was already terrific stuff, since it implies only innocent reasons for the failure of the American people to take THE WARREN REPORT seriously, nothing like the deliberate framing of a patsy based upon evidence that can readily be shown to have been manufactured, nor the fabrication of medical evidence to conceal the causes of death, nor the editing of the Zapruder film. But, at this point, Posner was only warming up. The best was yet to come. He elaborated on why only 68% is surprising, since in the past 38 years, he claims, more than 2,000 books promoting conspiracy have appeared plus a $15 million movie, Oliver Stone's "JFK". There are only 227 books listed on Amazon.com for "John F. Kennedy/Assassination", but no doubt we should forgive his enthusaism. Posner does not trade in truths, only plausibilities, which are intended to dupe the unwary. Indeed, he fails to observe that the HSCA inquiry actually concluded that JFK was probably the victim of a conspiracy, which would undermine the program's theme by implying that some official body has concluded that at least one conspiracy has taken place in this nation's history. But it also ignored that Posner alone has received 100 times more major media coverage than all the Commission's critics combined! Katie fawned over Posner, remarking that, in arriving at his conclusion that Oswald acted alone, he must have done "tons and tons" of research, which Posner did not actually confirm but deflected by observing that, at one point in time, there were piles upon piles of papers and documents littering their apartment. Those who know that Posner appropriated most of his material from Failure Analysis, Associates, of San Francisco, and falsely claimed to have conducted interviews with the autopsy pathologists, for example, must have had a difficult time controlling their gag reflex. But Posner was far from done. He added that the Commission left lots of questions unanswered, especially related to the mob, but that he had searched and searched to find more, but a bigger story--perhaps the biggest of them all!--just wasn't there. Katie asked about reports that the autopsy photographs and the autopsy report had been faked, that there had been mysterious events, that JFK had been hit in the back of the head but also in the throat. Posner replied that she had put her finger on the problem, because it boils down to what people take to be "evidence". With respect to the autopsy X-rays, for example, he observed, "I look at them and think they are conclusive, while others look at them and think they are faked". He thereby implies (in the spirit of Josiah Thompson) that all opinions are on a par, as though those of a lawyer should count as much as those of a Board Certified Radiation Oncologist with a Ph.D. in physics who actually subjected those X-rays to scientific experiments. He added that a growing number of conspiracy advocates even think that the Zapruder film has been faked. Katie, slightly alarmed at the prospect, asked how it is possible to cope with such claims. Posner had to admit that it was difficult to do so, in an ever so exasperated tone of voice. Katie asked about the reasons the critics had for maintaining this, to which Posner replied by talking about SCIENCE! According to him, science can answer questions today that could not be answered in the past, but that that may not satisfy the conspiracy theorists, when THE ANSWERS THAT SCIENCE PROVIDES ARE NOT THE ANSWERS THAT THEY WOULD LIKE! This was a master-stroke, implying that science supports the government and that, for conspiracy theorists, its conspiracy at all costs--even at the cost of truth! Katie asked what they offered by way of explanation for their opinions, to which Posner replied that they had "shadows" that were not where they were supposed to be, as in the case of the moon landing. He remarked that there are answers to all of these questions but that they can sound plausible to those who do not know them. He said that it was like all the discussion about the new records that were going to be released. Now that they are all released, you don't hear any more discussion about them. Why? Because they don't support conspiracy! So conspiracy supporters now claim that the key records must have been destroyed! He admits there are many reasons to be suspicous of authority, such as the deaths of JFK, RFK, and MLK, Wategate, and Vietnam, which represented our "loss of innocence". He thus simultaneously exaggerated the extent to which records have been released, misrepresented the content of those that have been released, and belittled conspiracy research! It was a truly bravado performance, especially for those who do not know about such ARRB releases as that Gerald Ford had the description of the back wound changed to fit the single bullet theory, that there were two brain examinations with two different brains, that the autopsy photos were reshot, and that the Zapruder film was in the hands of the CIA already the weekend of the assassination. It was on a par with those who held that there were three and only three shots, which were fired from the sixth floor of the TSBD! It was that bold and that imposing. No one should ever underestimate this man as a supreme master of disinformation. It was a magnificent performance! If NBC did not know enough to understand that what he was saying was 180 degrees opposite the truth, then it was not competent enough to have featured him; and if NBC knew enough to understand that what he was saying was 180 degrees opposite to the truth, then it was complicit and corrupt. But either NBC knew enough or it did not. Thus, either NBC was not competent enough to have featured him or it was complicit and corrupt. I probably do not need to suggest where the weight of the evidence appears to lie. It was a sad day for those who care about truth, a sad day for American journalism, and a sad day for the cause of justice. ____________________________________________________________________________ Anyone who doubts what I have had to say here should consult ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (1998) and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000) to appreciate the extent to which this program succeeded in twisting and distorting the truth.