New studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile

Is this building falling or exploding? If you say "falling" you need to take your meds
Is this building falling or exploding? If you say “falling” you need to take your meds

 by Kevin Barrett


Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.

The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites.

The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones: “Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist.” In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority.

Perhaps because their supposedly mainstream views no longer represent the majority, the anti-conspiracy commenters often displayed anger and hostility: “The research… showed that people who favoured the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile when trying to persuade their rivals.”

Additionally, it turned out that the anti-conspiracy people were not only hostile, but fanatically attached to their own conspiracy theories as well. According to them, their own theory of 9/11 – a conspiracy theory holding that 19 Arabs, none of whom could fly planes with any proficiency, pulled off the crime of the century under the direction of a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan – was indisputably true. The so-called conspiracists, on the other hand, did not pretend to have a theory that completely explained the events of 9/11: “For people who think 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the focus is not on promoting a specific rival theory, but in trying to debunk the official account.”

In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist – a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory – accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.

Additionally, the study found that so-called conspiracists discuss historical context (such as viewing the JFK assassination as a precedent for 9/11) more than anti-conspiracists. It also found that the so-called conspiracists to not like to be called “conspiracists” or “conspiracy theorists.”

Both of these findings are amplified in the new book Conspiracy Theory in America by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, published earlier this year by the University of Texas Press. Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

In other words, people who use the terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed, historically-real conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination. That campaign, by the way, was completely illegal, and the CIA officers involved were criminals; the CIA is barred from all domestic activities, yet routinely breaks the law to conduct domestic operations ranging from propaganda to assassinations.

DeHaven-Smith also explains why those who doubt official explanations of high crimes are eager to discuss historical context. He points out that a very large number of conspiracy claims have turned out to be true, and that there appear to be strong relationships between many as-yet-unsolved “state crimes against democracy.” An obvious example is the link between the JFK and RFK assassinations, which both paved the way for presidencies that continued the Vietnam War. According to DeHaven-Smith, we should always discuss the “Kennedy assassinations” in the plural, because the two killings appear to have been aspects of the same larger crime.

Psychologist Laurie Manwell of the University of Guelph agrees that the CIA-designed “conspiracy theory” label impedes cognitive function. She points out, in an article published in American Behavioral Scientist (2010), that anti-conspiracy people are unable to think clearly about such apparent state crimes against democracy as 9/11 due to their inability to process information that conflicts with pre-existing belief.

In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” – that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.

The extreme irrationality of those who attack “conspiracy theories” has been ably exposed by Communications professors Ginna Husting and Martin Orr of Boise State University. In a 2007 peer-reviewed article entitled “Dangerous Machinery: ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ as a Transpersonal Strategy of Exclusion,” they wrote:

“If I call you a conspiracy theorist, it matters little whether you have actually claimed that a conspiracy exists or whether you have simply raised an issue that I would rather avoid… By labeling you, I strategically exclude you from the sphere where public speech, debate, and conflict occur.”

But now, thanks to the internet, people who doubt official stories are no longer excluded from public conversation; the CIA’s 44-year-old campaign to stifle debate using the “conspiracy theory” smear is nearly worn-out. In academic studies, as in comments on news articles, pro-conspiracy voices are now more numerous – and more rational – than anti-conspiracy ones.

No wonder the anti-conspiracy people are sounding more and more like a bunch of hostile, paranoid cranks.


  1. The CIA (Cowards In Anonymity) should have been blown into a million pieces and scattered to the winds as JFK wanted to do. Instead he infuriated the power further by transferring and firing personnel, and promoting someone he trusted. He was later set up by the man he out in charge.
    Reality is not too much for those labelled Conspiracy Theorists. It is what separates them from the people in charge of protecting the lies, the facades. The people locking files away for many years in a free and open society, are most logically hiding something. They would be eager to prove their position or their case if the data proved them to be correct. But the data does not which should make all of us thankful for
    those clinging to logic, reasonable summations, and highly probable conclusions. Those conspiracy theorists who lean neither way but the way of the truth and exposing it.
    Hostile, paranoid cranks is exactly right on the money. Although they’ve profited they prostituted their own souls and lost something deep within. Thanks for the thought provoking article, as always.

  2. Everyday in courtrooms across America, prosecutors put forth ‘conspiracy theories’ and juries send defendants to prison based on those theories and the evidence. Prosecutors accuse defendants of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to rob a bank. A conspiracy is two or more people planning to commit an illegal or immoral act. With conspiracies so frequently engaged in by the ‘little people,’ are we to believe people in high government office do not conspire to commit illegal and immoral acts? Anyone who blithely dismisses a conspiracy theory is not thinking rationally, but has a child-like trust in ‘Nanny’ government or ‘ Big Daddy’ corporations. On the other hand, not all conspiracy theories are true or correct. The discerning mind must steer clear of a priori assumptions. Mental viewpoints like ‘the government lies about everything’ or ‘the government would never kill its own citizens’ must be discarded outright. They are not facts, but rather beliefs. All the known facts must be gathered and corroborated to determine their validity. Pseudo facts must be put in a separate box. Something you heard or read, but is not corroborated, is good as a lead but should not be considered a fact. Separating true conspiracy theory from false conspiracy theory is not easy for most people. Unfortunately 9-11, which is empirically shown to be an inside job based on prima facie evidence, has spawned a new ‘Conspiracy Religion’ where every news event is believed by many to be one more part of the overarching, grand government conspiracy. Regular readers of VT are no strangers to the Conspiracy Religion.

  3. Dear Kevin,

    I found an extremely distasteful anti Moslem photo on someone’s FB timeline and reported it to FB. Thought you’d like to see their reply (could care less). They have subjected me to a lot of censorship, so I was surprised that they are “turning the other cheek” on this one.

    Perhaps you could forward this to an Arab American public affairs organization.


    Shalom waSalaam,
    Michael Korn

    Here’s a really good example of why I think FB stinks. I found this photo on the page of a rabid Israel supporter. I think it’s cruel and distasteful to the extreme. It looks like it been photoshopped too. Just ugly provocation.

    I reported it to FB as both porn and racism. Here’s FB’s repsonse to me. (FB is loaded with double standards and hypocrisy. They are creepy gatekeepers trying to turn us all into a mass of dumbed down undiscerning communicators, like a romper room for grown ups!)

    The photo is disgusting:

    FB response to my complaint:

    Status This photo wasn’t removed
    Details Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the photo you reported for annoying and distasteful humor and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.

    • No one would care even if you would buy a one page ad in the New York Times.

      Better use Photoshop to spread the truth, here is how:













  4. Amazing article, Kevin. May I ask you how did these studies get funding? Who would fund such “subversive” research? I thought CIA exerts massive control over university R&D and political discourse?

    • The Wood and Douglas study does not immediately present itself as “subversive.” You have to read and interpret it – as I do here – to flesh out the subversive implications. The other studies cited are by brave professors willing to put their careers and reputations on the line in the cause of truth. There are quite a few such people around, you just have to look for them.

  5. “Is this building falling or exploding? If you say “falling” you need to take your meds”

    I disagree. The problem isn’t that people aren’t taking addictive, psycho-active drugs. Rather, it is that so many of them are doing so, including elementary school kids, who are forced to take speed.

    People are stoned out of their minds, and they don’t even realize it. So-called “mental health” is a mind-kontrol scam.

    • Dr. Barrett, I wasn’t kidding that a typical 4-year old child could easily see that the building is erupting upward like a volcano, so different from the classic controlled demolition. Someone ought to do a videotaped study, having 4-year olds compare photos. 9/11 action photos of WTC 1&2 erupting and WTC 7 controlled demolition, could be compared to photos of: nuke demolitions, normal controlled demolitions, buildings falling in quakes, volcanos erupting. See what the kids say.

    • Apologies, Martin and Dr. Barrett, I screwed up. My comment wasn’t meant to be attached here. Martin, you are correct about the meds. I don’t take any meds, btw, unless you count coffee. Maybe I need a cup.

  6. Excellent article Kevin! I prefer the term “historian.” I’m going to send this out to my regular friends who still cling to the official 9/11 narrative.

  7. Thank you Mr. Barrett for your continuing contributions to the search for truth and peace in the world.

    It has been my personal experience that persons who have invested emotionally in the conventional storyline of issues such as 9/11 react emotionally and tend to blind themselves from evidence based logical arguments to the contrary. My best friend, whom I have shared similar experiences with in the military service, is a intelligent and highly skilled person but bringing him to confront the truth has been an exercise in patience. I will not surrended in the endeavor because he is my friend and deep down I know he suspects something is amiss concerning the official conspiracy theory.

  8. I prefer the term the what really happened theorists.

    Kite plane must hit steel, a what really happened theorist doesn’t believe the selected words happened by coincidence.


    I realize this video doesn’t make the no plane conspiracy theorists happy.

    Were the words chosen by the Mossad or AIPAC? Kite plane equals remote controlled plane.

    • Brian, your first line is brilliant. But let’s capitalize it from now on and maybe it will go viral: The What Really Happened Theorists. Could we get the CIA to help spread it around?

  9. The question posed under the photo above, “Is this building falling or exploding?”

    My answer is, “The building is exploding, but it’s an extraordinary type of explosion. The building is actually erupting like a volcano, straight up.” Furthermore, anyone over the age of 4 could see and articulate the same thing.

    • You mean you don’t think that 900 cubic feet of kerosene arriving at 500 miles an hour could cause the North Tower to explode in every direction?

    • I’d say it’s more like a fly hitting your windshield and causing your car to explode in the driveway six hours later.

      As far as the “hostile” anti-Muslim conspirators (it’s not a “theory” anymore) we all know that intimidation is now the only trick they have left to promote the zionist agenda, their lies just ain’t working anymore.

      Thanks for this piece, KB. Makes me fell a little better. I always knew we’d win, eventually, but it’s good to know that “eventually” is almost here.

    • So, what speed must an aluminium Coke can have to go through steel? What speed must a fly have to make a hole in a fly swatter?

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