The release of the Kennedy assassination papers revealed no smoking gun. But that will not silence the conspiracy theorists. That's because, Jonathan Freedland writes, we live in a Conspiracy-Post Truth Age:
Superficially, conspiracy theory and post-truth might look different. The conspiracists insist that they are bent on uncovering the real truth, while post-truthers shrug their shoulders, suggesting such truth doesn’t really exist, can never be known and doesn’t really matter anyway. But what both have in common is an indifference to facts and evidence. The conspiracist brushes off inconvenient facts as bogus, while the post-truther says they have “alternative facts” of their own. But both end up in the same place, dismissing the hard, established evidence that is the basis of reason.
They share too a supposedly defiant attitude to the establishment and the powers that be, casting themselves as heroic truth-tellers who have broken free of the credulous herd – lions among sheeple. They have favoured targets in common too. Both the JFK obsessives and a post-truther such as Donald Trump – who, let us not forget, offered his own addition to the Kennedy conspiracy canon with an evidence-free claim that the father of his Republican primary opponent, Ted Cruz, was involved in the assassination – perennially cast the FBI and the CIA as the key tools of dark, unseen forces.
In the end, it all leads to a pervasive cynicism:
In this view, elections are a sham; politicians are mere puppets; the real masters are hidden and lurk in the shadows, pulling the strings. Which is why, incidentally, so many conspiracy theorists, like so many post-truth merchants of the populist hard right, end up reaching the terminus of antisemitism. For antisemitism is itself often rooted in conspiracy theory: the belief that the secret hand behind world events, manipulating each and every development, belongs to the Rothschilds or George Soros or, when no euphemism is required, the Jews.
Antisemitism is alive and well -- and it makes it even harder to tell the truth about Israel's occupation of Gaza. Gaza is an open prison. And anyone who points that out is accused of being an Anti-Semite.
The current president is selling the notion that there is a conspiracy to do him in. His own incompetence has nothing to do with those who oppose him. It's becoming more and more difficult to see the truth behind the smoke and conspiracy theories.