'Self-regarding Blather' - A History of Alexander Cockburn vs Conspiracy Nuts
As it turns out, this most recent, almost 'out of the blue' frontal attack on those who are working to expose the unanswered questions of 9/11 has a history. Cockburn's unfortunate behavior has been examined in the excerpt of the below article. The wannabe radical can't bear the thought of being humiliated into printing anything by the internet geek conspiracy theorists, the same as all those 'conspiracy nuts' who wondered why the laws of physics were defied so that Kennedy could be assassinated. Don't ask, don't publish.
Most recent attack on the 'conspiracy nuts' :
November 20 / 21, 2004
Sapping the Empire
The Poisoned Chalice
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
"The truly bad news is the 9/11 nuts have relocated to Stolen Election. My inbox is awash with their ravings. People who have spent the last three years sending me screeds establishing to their own satisfaction that George Bush personally ordered the attacks on the towers and that Dick Cheney vectored the planes in are now pummeling me with data on the time people spent on line waiting to vote in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, and how the Diebold machines are all jimmied. As usual, the conspiracy nuts think that plans of inconceivable complexity worked at 100 per cent efficiency, that Murphy's law was once again in suspense, and that 10,000 co-conspirators are all going to keep their mouths shut."
History of attacks on the 'conspiracy nuts' :
Alexander Cockburn and Noam Chomsky vs. JFK: A Study in Misinformation
In early 1992, after the release of Oliver Stone's film JFK a media thundercloud erupted.
After early attacks in mainstream media like the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post, many other alternative media of both the left and right began to run articles on the film including outlets like "The Village Voice", for which Alexander Cockburn used to write. To the surprise of many, when some of these supposed leftist media organs did chime in, they savaged the film as wildly as the mainstream press did. These outlets were, specifically, The Progressive, Z magazine, and The Nation. The writers were, respectively, the late Erwin Knoll, Noam Chomsky, and Alexander Cockburn. Chomsky then wrote a book, Rethinking Camelot to specifically attack one of the main theses of JFK, namely that Kennedy had intended to withdraw from Vietnam by 1965.
But of the three, by far the most bitter and vicious polemics about the film were by Cockburn in three pieces in The Nation dated January 6/13, March 9, and May 18, 1992. The first piece was entitled "J.F.K. and JFK" in which he attacked not only the film, but the publishers of the book by Jim Garrison on which it was based, author Peter Dale Scott_who originated the Kennedy withdrawal thesis_and John Kennedy himself.
The next two issues cited were Cockburn's response to several of scores of letters The Nation received in response to the original article. Cockburns's response to the first group of letters was less than detached and academic. He said that Scott and author John Newman ("JFK and Vietnam" and an advisor on the film) suffered from "fantasies" and that Scott's letter was basically "silly" and showed "evidence of a rather pathetic persecution mania"(P. 319).
But perhaps the worst performance by Cockburn was in the last round of letters. He responded to correspondence by Oliver Stone, John Newman and Philip Green. He accused Stone of being a fascist (p. 678), said Newman's letter was a "confession of defeat" and called him "a very bad historian" (p. 678)_even though in the earlier issue he had called his tome "a serious book" (January 6/13 p. 7). He called Green's letter "the silliest of the lot" and full of "self-regarding blather" (p. 678). He concluded by accusing Garrisonand his publisher, and Stone and his producer, of being in it for the money. Not satisfied, he even stated that his colleague at The Nation, Chris Hitchens, of liking the film solely because he wanted to sell a script to Stone (p. 320). We should also add here that he characterized the Warren Commission critics as mostly "conspiracy mongers" who were either "imbeciles or mountebanks" and that the Warren Commission members and staff came to conclusions "more plausible and soundly based than is commonly supposed." Cockburn's trust of the Warren Commission was exhibited when he gave assistant counsel Wesley Liebeler a nearly three page interview in the March issue to defend the Commission's main conclusions.
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