How Many Americans Believe a Conspiracy Killed JFK?

Lucy van Pelt, acting alone, pulled away the football.Charles M. SchulzAs we approach the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death, Karlyn Bowman and Andrew Rugg of the American Enterprise Institute have pulled together a very useful paper on the popularity of various conspiracy theories over the last five decades. The authors assembled every poll they could find since 1963 on the JFK, RFK, and MLK assassinations, the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks, Roswell, Oklahoma City, and more -- all sorts of conspiracy stories, from the plausible (a Waco cover-up, Iraq war lies) to the loopy (Holocaust denial, moon landing denial). For many of the topics, several polls have been conducted over the years, allowing the reader to track a theory's popularity over time.

It's a great resource, and it includes several surveys I've never seen before. (I wish I'd had it at hand when I was writing my book about America's conspiracy folklore.) It is also refreshingly reluctant to draw sweeping conclusions about conspiracy believers. "We don't find compelling evidence from the data in this document that particular demographic groups are susceptible to a belief in conspiracy theories," Bowman and Rugg write. "It depends on the theory. Middle-aged Americans are more likely to believe in the JFK assassination conspiracy than older or younger ones. Young people and Democrats are most likely to subscribe to conspiracy theories about 9/11. Women are more likely to believe foul play was involved in Princess Diana's death. While the demographic data presented here are by no means exhaustive, we're hesitant to endorse what much of the literature concludes -- that the young and less educated are more prone to conspiratorial instincts."

The institute also produced a short video to release alongside the paper. I have a few cameos in it:

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  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The CIA, in the book depository, with a magic bullet.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And I just thought - you remember how in Clue, if you make a false accusation you're immediately out of the game? They should inject some realism and give you a promotion instead.

  • Almanian!||

    That's what they want you to believe, Eduard. THEY. WANT. you to believe.

    Believe...

  • Almanian!||

    Also, fuck fucking JFK and all the books about JFK and all the reports about JFK and all the Facefuckingbook posts about JFK and all the Twits about JFK. A useless, drug-addled, reckless dolt who (thankfully, in many ways) added little to the Presidency, or anything at all, for that matter.

    Enough.

    That is all.

  • RBS||

    How do you really feel?

  • Restoras||

    But what about all the books about Lincoln!?!?!?

  • RBS||

    Fuck him too, and his godamn War of Northern Agression.

  • Almanian!||

    ditto

  • Restoras||

    +1 Sherman Necktie

  • Almanian!||

    now I'm getting all choked up...

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Fuck him too, and his godamn War of Northern Agression.

    I prefer The War of the Yankees Against the Americans.

  • Swiss Servator, I got nothing.||

    I am not going to sugarcoat it. Almanian! holds JFK in less than high regard.

    BTW - "How Many Americans Believe a Conspiracy Killed JFK?" Who #$%&ing; cares.

  • Winston||

    "How Many Americans Believe a Conspiracy Killed JFK?" Who #$%&ing; cares.

    LRC? FFF?

  • jester||

    You could have said fuck fucking John Fucking Kennedy and got another fuck in there. Here,here!

  • Tim||

    How many nut jobs have accused Jesse of being "in on it?"

  • Andrew S.||

    JFK was killed by RFK and MLK. RFK and MLK were later killed by the Illuminati to make sure they'd never talk.

  • Winston||

    Can't tell if serious.

  • Andrew S.||

    Completely serious. But I have to be silent. They're watching me. I'm afraid that if I say any more, they're going to come and take me aw

  • Almanian!||

    ut up, shay....

    /A Friend

  • Winston||

    Heh. There are libertarians who would have similar beliefs.

  • jester||

    Mamma Cass was killed by BLT.

  • jester||

    I thought the connection was that JFK,RFK and MLK all fucked the same MILF.

  • Brett L||

    "Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Whitman, where did these killers learn to shoot?"

    "Sir! The Marine Corps, Sir!"

  • Andrew S.||

    From the book suppository building?

  • WTF||

    "Outstanding! That shows you what a motivated Marine and his rifle can do!"

  • Almanian!||

    "Pyle, I think we've found something that you're good at!"

  • ||

    LBJ hired the Comedian to pop JFK from the grassy knoll.

  • Restoras||

    Conspiracy? I thought it was a bullet that split his head open that killed him.

  • ||

    "Back, and to the left."

  • RBS||

    That is one magic loogie.

  • RBS||

    This is what someone today actually said......PLEEEEEEASE GOD tell me the majority of people out there are not this BLIND and IGNORANT please go educate yourselves!!!

    GMO foods are actually better for the environment because you don't have to use as many pesticides and tons of nitrates. There's also no scientific evidence that eating a GMO food is any different than eating hybrids, which is what most of our favorite fruits are...hybrids, not from anything nature did, but from humans.

  • The Other Kevin||

    I would feel much better about the world if those two comments were in reverse order.

  • ||

    Link?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Hey, this is a no wake zone!"

  • Tim||

    The Apollo landings were done by Irwin Allen with left over sets from Lost in Space.

  • Restoras||

    Duh, everyone knows that.

  • Winston||

    More like Irving Allen with sets left over from Matt Helm movies.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wait, I thought Kubrick did those using the same special effects techniques he was developing for 2001.

  • Almanian!||

    He developed those WAY before 2001. It was for some movie he made in 1968...

  • ||

    NASA built the special low light lenses that he used in Barry Lyndon specifically to fake the moon landing! Also, faking the Mars landing in Capricorn One! Wait, I'm getting confused here...

  • Almanian!||

    Mister Redmond BARRY....

    /sneer

  • Hugh Akston||

    So if you're linking to the Wikipædia entries for movies instead of imdb in response to one of my comments, does that make me complicit in your idiocy?

  • ||

    Wiki movie links are superior and contain a link to imdb for people like you.

  • Tim||

    And JFK was taken out by a giant man carrot.

  • Aresen||

    JFK wasn't assassinated, he was abducted by Space Aliens to took him to Planet Xerox to breed a race of superhumans with Marilyn Monroe, who was abducted previously.

    Everything was staged to make it look as if they'd died.

    Same with Princess Diana later on.

    John Denver, otoh, really did die. The Space Aliens hated Rocky Mountain High.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    John Denver was born in Roswell, NM. He WAS a Space Alien.

  • From the Tundra||

    Certainly would explain the shitty music.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A useless, drug-addled, reckless dolt who (thankfully, in many ways) added little to the Presidency, or anything at all, for that matter.

    If only we could find a similarly qualified candidate for '16.

  • Restoras||

    If only Gillespie had used that line as well.

  • Winston||

    Wouldn't that make JFK the most libertarian president ever?

  • Almanian!||

    Better dead than Team Red, amirite?

  • Aresen||

    Wouldn't that make JFK the most libertarian president ever?


    No.

    Libertarians are people who aspire to enjoy the rights enjoyed by the Boss Class.
  • Winston||

    You means there is more to libertarianism then being high?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "He'll take drugs off the streets - and put them up his nose!"

    Wait, that was a Marion Barry joke.

    "No drug-fueled orgies that he was sober enough to remember!"

    Wait, that's the mayor of Toronto.

  • Almanian!||

    OTOH, you know what's the opposite of "a conspiracy"? The Shat. The Shat is purity. Truth. Fulfillment. Truth, again. Beauty. Splendor. Perfection. And Truth, once more.

    The Shat. A ray of hope and light in a sea of derpitude.

  • Almanian!||

    THIS JUST IN: LOU REED IS STILL DEAD.

    Please resume your normal activities.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Waitaminnit!

    Lou Reed is dead?

    Nobody tells me anything.

  • Virginian||

    The new Stephen Hunter book, The Third Bullet, is about the JFK assassination. It's good, as are all of his books.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Anyone notice the percentages of those believing certain conspiracies is directly proportional to the left's desire for it to be true/false.

    Left has no desire for 9/11 to be an internal conspiracy due to Clinton's close connection.

    They certainly don't want to believe anything bad about FDR, he didn't have warning.

    However, they love JFK (who honestly did about 4 things, most very bad - like getting us into Vietnam, then died) and MLK (a truly great individual fighting for freedom) so they're much more certain it wasn't what "we've been told".

    & note too - this is the same thinking that got us Obamacare....

  • Canman||

  • jimpeel||

    The theories that have been hoisted on the Kennedy assassination are these:

    The Mob did it;
    The CIA did it;
    Castro did it;
    The Russians did it;
    Lyndon Johnson did it;
    The Federal Reserve did it.

    In every one of the first five there is absolutely nothing tangible that you can point to as possible evidence in their complicity in the assassination.

    However ...

    There is a piece of possible evidence that one can actually hold in their hand that does point to the possibility, not necessarily the probability, of the FED being involved. You can at least say "Hmmmmm ...."

    That evidence is the 1963 United States Note. VIEW PICTURE HERE http://www.ebay.com/bhp/united.....ollar-1963

    They had a red seal and said "UNITED STATES NOTE" across the top instead of "FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE" (or FRNs as the conspiracy nuts call them).

    It seems that Kennedy was going to dismantle the FED and return to minting money under the auspices of the Congress as called for by the Constitution. (We can discuss the gold and silver vs paper thing some other time)

    Kennedy pissed off people who have more money than God so they may have offed his ass. Production of the new bills had already begun. They exist.

    To this day, the red seal notes that make it back to the FED are immediately destroyed. They can still be found on the collector market for about 1 1/2 - 10 times face value depending on condition.

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