We don’t get cable TV anymore, which is mostly a good thing. I wish I could watch Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert before I go to bed and I really miss C-SPAN, but at least I don’t have to look into Wolf Blitzer’s smirking face every night–or have my blood pressure spike when I pass Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly when I’m changing channels. CNN is actually the reason we disconnected. My wife worked there for years and she couldn’t wait to get it out of our house when she quit. The guys came and took the box away Labor Day week, 2001. It wasn’t much later that we didn’t have any TV at all except what we could find on UHF, because we live in Brooklyn and the TV antenna was on top of the World Trade Center, which we used to look at from our living room window.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t been able to watch any of Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory shows. I read about them, of course, and I watched some interviews on line. There was nothing new there for me, but then again, I’m up to my neck in this stuff. I thought the promos were pretty off-putting–too histrionic, too loaded–but some of the interviews were intriguing. Jesse Ventura may be a grandiloquent showman and an egomaniac, but he’s not dumb; if I listen to him long enough, I agree with quite a few of the things he says.
I just went to Amazon to check out the tie-in book that came out this week (it’s #7), and I practically fell out of my chair when I read this five star review from Mark Crispin Miller. Headlined “A Brave and Necessary Book” (click here), Miller doesn’t so much endorse the book’s conclusions (“I doubt that the book’s authors would want anyone just to swallow everything they say (unlike rabble-rousers like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, who do promote ‘conspiracy theories’ without any basis in reality”) so much as he attacks the “mainstream voices, both far-right and ‘liberal'” who would rather that we not even consider them for ourselves.
Miller is a writer I genuinely admire; I wondered if something wasn’t up. So I checked out his own website “News From Underground” and found out. Miller, who has written extensively on Republican election fraud, liked what Ventura and his co-writer said about the subject–and about the rumors that Mike Connell, a Republican cyber-consultant who died in a plane crash shortly after a judge compelled him to testify about vote tampering, might have been murdered. And he was appalled that the Huffington Post had taken down Ventura’s blog about 9/11 Truth the other day, citing their policy against the promotion and promulgation of conspiracy theories.
Clearly, even to question the official story of 9/11 is to engage in “conspiracy theories” (as if the official story weren’t itself a “conspiracy theory,” and a preposterous one at that). Such is always the response of the US mainstream media (the foreign media tends to be more open-minded)–and it’s also the response of our left/liberal media, as this amazing act of censorship makes clear.
Miller posted Ventura’s piece so we can make up our minds for ourselves. I read it and, like I said about the show’s promos, there wasn’t much new there for me and certainly nothing that would change my mind about 9/11 Truth. I am beginning to think of Steven Jones and Richard Gage as grandiloquent showmen too.
If I were a magazine editor I wouldn’t have wanted to pay Ventura for such a tired piece. I’ve posted a few times at Huffington and I know they reserve the right to reject what you write; they moderate comments too. It’s their right–editorial guidelines and censorship aren’t the same thing.
Miller has been debunking the myth of the liberal media since his book Boxed In. The mainstream media is all about consensus, he says, about creating a safe zone for consumerism. Blogs are supposed to be different. I disagree with Miller that Ventura’s piece wasn’t “conspiracy theory,” but blogs are supposed to be quirky and opinionated; if they’re going to be of any interest, they shouldn’t be treated like impersonal magazine copy.
I’m not worried that Jesse Ventura won’t be able to find other venues where he can express his opinions and get paid handsomely for doing so, but I have to admit that I do wish that the Huffington Post hadn’t pulled his piece. I’m not sure that I’m outraged, but I can’t deny that I’m disappointed.