Monday, May 23, 2011

Jonathan Kay, Neo-Con Flack

You know, it seems that I can sniff out a neo-con zealot even when I'm minding my own business and hardly paying attention.  Yesterday I was listening online to some recent programs of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR as I was assembling my new workbench.  One of them was an interview with a Jonathan Kay, the author of the new book, Among the Truthers, on the issue of conspiracy theories.

He talked about all kinds of conspiracy theories, but it seemed to me that he was focused mostly on the 9/11 'truthers' and also the 'birthers', who dispute Obama's U.S. birth.  He tried to psychologically analyze conspiracy theorists, stating that these folks and their theories arise during traumatic times.  Also, at one point, he stated that since most conspiracy theorists are men, he connected the phenomenon to their mid-life crises, using as an example the 'conversion' of architest Richard Gage to 9/11 Truth movement when he was 50.  (Gage has lost his family and his career as a result of his commitment to advocating for the 9/11 movement).

And of course, Kay blamed the internet for the upsurge in conspiracy theories, because before the internet developed, the main stream media kept such things under control.  He seemed to have a yearning for those controlled days again.

Having listened carefully to Kay's argument, something sounded quite fishy to me.  Here was a man who was adamant about ridiculing 'conspiracy theorists' and making the case that they are either midlife crazies, solitary internet fantasists, or severely traumatized extremists.  In other words, they can be safely ignored, at best, and at worst, should be put away or silenced to protect society from their ravings.   

So who is this man Jonathan Kay?  Well, it turns out that he is the editorial page editor for a right-wing newspaper in Canada, the National Post, owned originally by Conrad Black, Canada's version of Rupert Murdock (of FOX News fame).  This would be the equivalent in the U.S. of the Washington Times or the New York Post, pushing neo-conservative or right-wing perspectives in opposition to the actual 'main stream media' like the Washington Post or the New York Times.  Here's a quote from the Wikipedia article on the National Post:
Black established the Post to provide a voice for Canadian conservatives and to combat what he and many Canadian conservatives considered to be a liberal bias in Canadian newspapers.
Also, Kay is a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a D.C. organization which is described by Wikipedia this way:
It is a neoconservative think tank that claims to conduct "research and education on international terrorism—the most serious security threat to the United States and other free, democratic nations....The foundation's president is Clifford D. May and its executive director is Mark Dubowitz. Its Leadership Council is composed of prominent thinkers and leaders from the defense, intelligence, and policy communities including Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Bill Kristol, Louis J. Freeh, Joseph Lieberman, Newt Gingrich, Max Kampelman, Robert McFarlane and James Woolsey.
Have you ever seen so many neo-cons and right-wing types gathered in one place?  This is same group of people who successfully pushed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and are pushing now for the bombardment of Iran.  Surprise, surprise.

So, far from being some kind of psychologist or objective researcher on the topic of conspiracy theories, it turns out that Jonathan Kay is just really primarily a right-wing, neo-con flack.  I just wish Diane Rehm, whose programs I enjoy, had been a little more perspicacious about someone like this.  But unfortunately at times, she comes across to me as rather naive.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that.
    I also can smell bullshit coming from a mile out as well.
    I am actually a Truther. I was appalled to hear this man being interviewed on British Radio 4 only this morning. The "Today" program is a flag ship British radio news program and I expect better than this from them.