* Operation Northwoods, a conspiracy to fake attacks on US soil by “Cuba” to generate a pretext for an invasion. Approved by the head of the JCS, rejected by Kennedy. Would have had us invade Cuba.
* Tonkin Gulf. Got us into Vietnam.
* Babies in Incubators. Got us into Gulf War 1. (NPR did a great piece on this, a comfortable 30 years after the fact. It turns out that news organizations CAN expose conspiracy theories-turned-truth, but only long, unthreatening time afterwards.)
* WMD in Iraq. Got us into Gulf War 2.
* Office Fire Destroys Skyscraper. Helped get us to pass the Patriot Act, widespread spying on Americans, and also got us into Afghanistan.
Oh sure, that last one hasn’t moved from theory into fact yet. But I’m sure, like Tonkin Gulf, everyone will accept it as fact maybe 20 years from now, and NPR will do a nice piece on how Office Fires Can’t Destroy Skyscrapers After All. (Duh!)
* “Syrian Government Chemical Attacks” which led to missile strikes
* Maduro is a Really Bad Man – which appears to be leading to an invasion of Venezuela and Regime Change, a failed state, and a Libya/Syria-like flood of refugees pouring into neighboring countries.
If you haven’t noticed the trend yet, I’ll lay it out for you.
If it leads to bombing some other country, the mainstream press is for it. Every single one of our wars has been A-OKed by the press. Arguments against said wars were labeled as conspiracy theories at the time. It took 20-50 years for them to become acknowledged as fact. I didn’t realize this at the time, but now? I’d be an idiot to ignore the pattern.
I’d like a checkbox item for Newsguard. “Did the organization largely approve any of following past stories that led the nation into war?” Weight that at 50%. War and peace are probably the most critical stories to get right, after all. If they added this checkbox, most news outlets would get failing grades.
So yeah. I read conspiracy sites. A lot of what they say is full of crap, but they also – guaranteed – are telling the truth about some events that it will take 50 years for the mainstream press to be able to acknowledge as fact.
And people like you will say, in 50 years, “well gosh, sure they got that one old story about the skyscraper wrong…but they certainly don’t do that anymore.”