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Ed Driscoll

Cognitive Dissonance Strikes Deep

April 21st, 2013 - 11:02 am

But of course: “#FreeJahar Hashtag Hits Twitter as People Sympathize With Boston Terror Suspect Who Allegedly Placed Bomb That Killed 8-Year-Old.”

Despite the mounting evidence against him, there are actually people who believe that Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev is an innocent patsy being framed by the government.

Sure, the FBI reportedly has photo evidence of 19-year-old Jahar placing what is thought to be one of the bombs next to an 8-year-old boy who was later killed. And of course there’s the whole alleged killing of an MIT campus officer and leading police on a 24-hour manhunt during which he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly threw explosives and fired multiple rounds at police officers — but that’s not enough to convince some people that he could even possibly be guilty.

Seemingly spitting in the face of the victims of the Boston bombings and everyone else affected by the senseless attack, several people began using the hashtag #FreeJahar on Twitter. Why? Because he’s all innocent and stuff.

This level of cognitive dissonance is nothing new; as James Piereson wrote seven years ago in Commentary:

There is much about Oswald and the assassination that can now never be known for certain. Of one thing, however, there can be little doubt: there would never have been any serious talk about a conspiracy if President Kennedy had been shot by a right-wing figure whose guilt was established by the same evidence as condemned Oswald. Such an event would have been readily understood in terms of then prevailing assumptions about the dangers from the Right. Kennedy’s assassin, however, bolted onto the historical stage in violation of a script that many people had assimilated as the truth about America. Instead of adjusting their thinking accordingly, they strove to account for the discordance by taking refuge in conspiracy theories.

And as he told Peter Robinson two years later on the Uncommon Knowledge interview sometimes the cognitive dissonance was palpable; immediately after Kennedy’s death, facts and myth shared the same space on the front page of the New York Times:

James Piereson: In the center of the front page of the New York Times that day, in the center column, there’s a long article on Oswald and his communist associations that they have already, within 24 hours of the event. And, all of that has stood out. There have been some additions to it. But the key elements, his defection to the Soviet Union…

Peter Robinson: I had no idea that they knew immediately.

James Piereson: They knew that the defection to the Soviet Union, the return to the United States, working for Fairplay for Cuba in the summer of 1963. And I believe they also had in that article, his attempt to travel to Cuba in the fall of 1963, via the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City. So they have all that very quickly. Adjacent to that however, is the [James] Reston column which suggests that President Kennedy is a victim of a streak of hatred and violence in the nation. So you have this juxtaposition of the fact, President Kennedy is killed by a communist.With the interpretation. President Kennedy is a victim of American culture. These two things did not jive.

Good thing the New York Times learned its lesson and wouldn’t seek the same rush to judgement today. Seven years ago, Karl Rove caused the entire professional left to soil their drawers when he said:

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.

The rush to therapy — and to trutherism — begins anew.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I was a pre-teen when the Warren Report came out but when Oliver Stone's crappy paean to Jim Garrison came out in 1991, I decided to re-read it. It is amazing the amount of physical evidence they had uncovered. There were people on the 5th floor of the Texas Book Depository building looking out the windows and getting hit with pieces of cement from the recoil of the rifle being fired above them. There were others who heard brass shell casings hitting the wooden floor. There is no doubt Oswald shot at General Walker in April 1963 with the same rifle he killed JFK with and there is no doubt he shot patrolman Tippet in the streets of Dallas. There was a solid case against Oswald even before computers and digital processing made possible the excellent recreations and other circumstantial evidence in the last 25 or so years. But yet, if you ask people of my generation who killed JFK, a lot would say "who knows", the Mafia, the CIA, George Bush, etc, etc. Undoubtely few of these ever read the Warren Report which, despite its admitted flaws, is fairly thorough and a damn sight better regarding REAL evidence than any of its critics over the last 50 years. I gotta think you are right - that case would've been a slam dunk if Oswald was a Goldwater supporter. And there would be no crocodile tears AT ALL being shed by the useless newscrappers of the world if the Boston bombers had turned out to be white conservatives as they had hoped. Well, screw them - I hope their last act before bankruptcy is pissing away the last bit of their credibility trying to rewrite the Brothers Tsarnaev as the Brothers Karamozov.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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Mike Church said recently that the internet, with all of its positives, has caused people to become both more stupid and more radical at the same time. Needless to say, that's not a good combination.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Completely off road here, but I wonder if Pierson really wrote "the two things did not jive", or if that was some sort of spell-check thing.

I've heard people use that word like that before, and it is, of course, wrong. The two concepts neither performed musically nor spoke in hipster jargon. He mean "jibe", as in, to come into sync or agreement.

I just point this out out of fear that if not corrected, it could morph into something else, like, say, that utterly appalling word "lede". (Don't get me started.... oops, too late.)
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't be lazy. Look up the interview and check for yourself if what Pierson said was accurately transcribed.

Bing and learn.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't be assumptive. The link leads to a transcript of audio interview, so there is no way to confirm if that word is what he said, or if it was altered in transcription by an editor or machine making exactly the error I mention here. Either way, the point stands.

Bing and learn.... some manners.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember that the ENTIRE purpose of conspiracy freeking is to set oneself not just apart from, but ABOVE everyone else, both intellectually and morally. If facts don't really matter (and reference Nov 6th, 2012 to ask yourself if they do), then all you have to do is proclaim the conspiracy, and immediately you are both smarter than all those "sheeple" who believe "the story", and more moral than same, since YOU would never sign off on such evil schemes, etc etc.

Viola! I am now better than virtually everybody, and quicker than instant coffee. And at the cheap as well. There is NOTHING more to this nonsense than that. So bear in mind that the driving characteristics of your typical conspiracy freek is not stupidity, nor suspicion, but an utterly insufferable arrogance.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was a pre-teen when the Warren Report came out but when Oliver Stone's crappy paean to Jim Garrison came out in 1991, I decided to re-read it. It is amazing the amount of physical evidence they had uncovered. There were people on the 5th floor of the Texas Book Depository building looking out the windows and getting hit with pieces of cement from the recoil of the rifle being fired above them. There were others who heard brass shell casings hitting the wooden floor. There is no doubt Oswald shot at General Walker in April 1963 with the same rifle he killed JFK with and there is no doubt he shot patrolman Tippet in the streets of Dallas. There was a solid case against Oswald even before computers and digital processing made possible the excellent recreations and other circumstantial evidence in the last 25 or so years. But yet, if you ask people of my generation who killed JFK, a lot would say "who knows", the Mafia, the CIA, George Bush, etc, etc. Undoubtely few of these ever read the Warren Report which, despite its admitted flaws, is fairly thorough and a damn sight better regarding REAL evidence than any of its critics over the last 50 years. I gotta think you are right - that case would've been a slam dunk if Oswald was a Goldwater supporter. And there would be no crocodile tears AT ALL being shed by the useless newscrappers of the world if the Boston bombers had turned out to be white conservatives as they had hoped. Well, screw them - I hope their last act before bankruptcy is pissing away the last bit of their credibility trying to rewrite the Brothers Tsarnaev as the Brothers Karamozov.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
One impressive piece of work was done several years back by the Discovery Channel. The investigators decided to take the conspiracy and multiple shooter theories seriously and test them. They isolated the spot where JFK was shot on the Magruder film and then took lasers and tried to see if they could get a clear shot from all of the alternate locations mentioned by the conspiracy theorists (all of this had to take place late at night when there was no traffic). Naturally, all of the alternate locations, when tested, could not yield a shot. All of the areas picked out by the conspiracy theorists were spots, either without a straight shot, or, in the case of the sewer drain, one where a firearm could not be wielded for lack of space.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I affirm your recommendation, Paradigm Lost, that the Warren Report is worthwhile reading. Even casually browsing the report is informative and exposes all those pop-culture conspiracy tales as tissue-thin inventions of crackpots, from Oliver Stone's exploitation flicks on up.

The report is available at the National Archives online or can be obtained from most public and college libraries. Major booksellers carry new copies, there's even a Kindle edition.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
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