Jul 17 2012

Among The Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground

Rebroadcast of an interview that aired on June 8, 2011

The internet has been abuzz for some weeks now about a NASA coverup of a prediction that in 2012 the sun will erupt in a solar flare so dangerous, that it could destroy the Earth. While Solar astronomers have assured the public that our sun is a very stable star, incapable of generating a flare strong enough to engulf the earth, it has done little to assuage the online hysteria that such stories often generate. In fact, the internet has played a significant role in the past decade or so of helping to proliferate all manner of conspiracy theories about various incidents and events, chief among them the September 11th conspiracy, and the Obama birth certificate conspiracy. A new book by blogger and journalist Jonathan Kay, paints a complex, and deeply revealing portrait of today’s conspiracy movements, particularly the so-called “Truthers,” and “Birthers.” Jonathan Kay spent two years attending conventions, perusing chat rooms, websites, and Facebook groups, and interviewing key members of conspiracy movements. His book, “Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground,” makes the connection between the general distrust that a majority of Americans have of their government, and the real and documented crimes and coverups in history that provide fodder for conspiracies. Kay also takes issue with his own profession and the mainstream media’s failure to respond to accusations of pro-government bias. He approaches conspiracy theories connected to both ends of the political spectrum from his self-described position of political centrism.

GUEST: Jonathan Kay, author of Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground, managing editor, columnist, and blogger, at Canada’s National Post newspaper. His freelance articles have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, the New York Times, Harpers Magazine, Commentary, Salon, Reader’s Digest, and Salon.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Among The Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground”

  1. Marilyn O'kaneon 17 Jul 2012 at 9:19 am

    I found the Jonathan Kay interview fascinating and I shall look for his book. It was a bit surprising to see here the cheerful looking cover of a book about a subject I find a bit frightening.

  2. Marilyn O'kaneon 17 Jul 2012 at 9:23 am

    Can I give the Jonathan Kay article a 5?
    M O’Kane

  3. tony brigantion 17 Jul 2012 at 9:59 am

    dear moderator,
    this (7-17-12), entire program “among the birthers…” w/author johnathan kay, became so interesting that i found myself my son and some of his friends (all male … i must add) have been severely duped by such unproven so-called “conspiracies”.

    next, along with the airing of amy goodman’s show (Democracy Now) “war on whistleblowers” following your Uprising Radio presentation, i then question the whistleblower conspiracy of many questioning the faulty science used with extreme radiation-based colonoscopies being done.

    or what next?…what’s up with julian asange and his release of pvt. brad manning’s numerous diplomatic wire exposure accounts via wikileaks, and its subsequent shut down by our cia attempts to quiet the storm and its end-run inditement of both persons as well as their sources on the basis of “nationlal security”. what does your author think of all of this?

    or if he (johnathan kay) isn’t available, what are your feelings about the nervous or paranoid anti-conspiracy hunting cia, usa-national security, as well as other governments who may have lost credibility with the public’s concern???
    this stuff needs public address just as did all “911-truther” questions by our leadership. when not addressed …publicly!!!!

  4. The Veganon 17 Jul 2012 at 10:23 am

    I disagree with you Another Marilyn. I find Sonali very pleasant to listen to. You may believe what you are saying but clearly it comes from anger over the broadcast you heard today. Otherwise you could have given your supposed constructive criticism at another time.

  5. Chris Burnetton 17 Jul 2012 at 10:52 am

    I just left a long comment about the 911 issue. I do hope it gets approved by the moderator.

    But, I couldn’t help to comment on the solar flare issue. I guess National Geographic magazine is also involved in a conspiracy, since they just dedicated their entire issue of June 2012 to Sun storms and the effects of what a repeat of the 1859 solar storm would have on modern life.

    Here is a recent article from their site:


    I have no idea what “online hysteria” Sonali is referring to, but the science behind this phenomenon, and it’s potential effect on modern infrastructure, has nothing to do with any conspiracy, but it sure sounds hysterical when you frame it as yet another “crazy conspiracy”, doesn’t it?

    Chris Burnett
    Indymedia On Air, KPFK

  6. Chris Burnetton 17 Jul 2012 at 11:04 am

    (Ok, I guess my post was held due to length, I am assuming. Trying to post in two parts)


    I believe this show is a repeat from last year.

    Nonetheless, Sonali should be taken to task for airing such a reckless and irresponsible interview (again) with a neo-conservative (Read this: http://bit.ly/O87zwX . Jonathan Kay is also listed on prominent neo-con websites) who clearly has an agenda in attacking and discrediting anyone that questions the official conspiracy theory of 911.

    If you listen carefully to this interview, it never once addresses ANY facts about the destruction of the WTC buildings, never discusses the fact that nearly 2000 accredited professionals (scientists, engineers, architects, etc), including people like Lynn Margulis who was the recipient of the US National Medal of Science, are on record as challenging the official explanation of 911. Anyone actually interested in facts, in what is actually being challenged by these professionals, please watch this:


    This is the best evidence for the fraud of 911. One of the best sections is the psychologists explanation for why most people have a hard time accepting the fact that the state engages in terrorism against it’s own citizens. Sonali and Kay included. Although, in Kay’s case, he clearly has an ideological agenda based on his neo-con background.

  7. Michael Scotton 17 Jul 2012 at 11:08 am

    I have heard Mr. Kay speak on numerous occasions. I am coming to the conclusion that his purpose is not to engage in debate or understand the opposition — but moreover is determined to undermine, deligitimize, and slander the reputation of those who disagree with his understanding of 9/11.

    What sense does it make that if 19 men from Saudi Arabia have the capability, manpower, funding, and technolgy to coordinate such an attack, as Mr. Kay claims — that the US government would be incapable of doing so?

    Does Mr. Kay posit that 19 Saudi Arabians have more (money, training, manpower, access to weapons etc) than does the US government?

    I was going to write out an entire response but I’m at my job (which I have yet to forfeit to the obsession of conspiracy, as Mr. Kay claims is the inevitable result of being compelled by the evidence of demolition of 9/11) and I have found someone featured in the book who responded beautifully to Mr. Kay’s argument (and I use that word loosely). This analysis translates to the content of the interview as well.


  8. Chris Burnetton 17 Jul 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Here is the full version of AE911TRUTH’s documentary cut from 2011 on Youtube:


    There is a more recent version listed above, but this is the full length version. It has interviews with dozens of experts in the field of architecture, engineering, building design, explosive experts, and scientists.

    If you can get past the somewhat cheesy music, it’s very good. Once you watch this, I think it’s pretty clear that Jonathan Kay isn’t interested in pursuing fact, but only interested in spreading slanderous propaganda, myth, and creating a climate of fear for those that ask honest and difficult questions about state terrorism.

  9. katrinon 17 Jul 2012 at 1:47 pm

    The interview with Mr. Kay was very interesting with respect to the conspiracy aka truthers POV on various events and within different political camps. However, more interesting was his observation and opinion of ‘truthers’. He makes excellent observations on the zeal, intensity with which truthers approach tragic, high profile historic events, yet, he clearly drops his conclusions in the safety net of ‘his’ logical deductions. Humans are naturally curious and generally prone to experience a certain dose of suspicion (it’s kept us alive for centuries). Logic and curiousity can co-exist-this has been evidenced by contributions to human evolution by some of the greatest minds. Not every outstanding historical event is simply an innocent ‘mash-up’ of a chain of human ineptitude and cunning-some are actually expertly planned.

  10. BrianWoodburyon 17 Jul 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks for having Jonathan Kay on. It was an enlightening interview and a fascinating program. His argument is an important corrective: Delusion is distraction.

  11. BenjaminDoveron 18 Jul 2012 at 7:28 am

    I really liked this interview because I’ve read a book called “culture of conspiracy” for a sociology class, and it just made me look into the theories that people come out and it’s just crazy how they come up with it out of the blue. I remember reading books like Bill Cooper’s “Behold a Pale Horse” and it was so Horrible and incoherent, I couldn’t read it without getting a headache, and there were so many outlandish claims from this, almost, 600 page book. Then there’s that book”the Biggest Secret” by David Icke that talks about, get this, a reptilian race that lives in Area 51, LOL…I mean I had to laugh at that because it was just too unbelievable. David is notorious for coming up with conspiracy theories on his own, as is Alex Jones…and they are laughable becuase of how serious they are. They are only doing it to make money, and Alex Jones takes the cakes when it comes to his claims. I remember the “Obama Deception” lol….I’m sorry, but I couldn’t believe a word that he was saying. Anyways, I am going to buy the book. thanks again for the interview Sonali…love your program, :)

  12. Another Marilynon 18 Jul 2012 at 10:50 am

    I have lost an enormous amount of respect for you, Sonali, given your low-ball, wide-eyed, koolaid-drinking interview with this man who paints with such a broad brush that he doesn’t make a distinction between, realists and people with delusions, ignorance and mental illnesses. Where was your healthy skepticism? Why didn’t you stand up for the very kind of people you interview credibly on your own program on a daily basis? I turned your program off today and then periodically came back to it to see if you got your progressive brain back, but alas, it kept on being a forum for this man who put people who see political prosecutions and actual conspiracies in the same category as birthers. You were very dangerous, Sonali. Some right-wing tool who would have happened across your program today would have found confirmation of his capitalistic, non-humanitarian “moral” view of the world. Jonathon Kay dissed the very idealists and visionaries who populate KPFK programming. You should do an editorial about how you blew it, and you should apologize to your loyal listeners and the people who DONATE money because you support our progressive ideals. I’m not saying we all pursue the same issues or that all “conspiratory theorists” are on the right track, but many ARE, and you didn’t stand up for them. How many whistleblowers have been called crazy until so much information is leaked that the corrupt power mongers have little basis left for denial???

  13. Tarik Oplausan-ELon 25 Jul 2012 at 1:11 am

    Here Ms Sonali,
    That is some bassackwards mind set to let this dbletalking, dogmatic MegaloMedia Trickster Spew his ignorant venom on the KPFK Morning listeners, when right after your show on DEMONCRAZY
    NOW, the first 2 reports are on the ongoing CON Piracy OF THE Banksters in the LIBOR scandal and some other breaking story of CON trol and CON PIRACY! CENTRISM MORE LIKE CONt-rism maiking the marganlaized the problem and labling, sounds like well paid Provacatuerism to me.
    So what is the purpose of this, activism?, Research?, I mean, I say, LEFT IN FORM, RIGHT in ACTION, Typical Bornstein Fokkery that split the Labor Movement and Whose actions and funding sources really call into question:: whose agenda and mission are you on??
    You might spend an hour or two cking out some of these clips and documentaries and learn a thing or 3 about the Real WAR being waged against the people of the planet since the 1898 US MILITARYCoup!! CONspiracy THAT!! The very policy of this country pursued since 1979 at the end of the Carter Administration, penned by Zibignew Bryzinski a devoted Zionist and put into practice by the US Military and its’ 27 DIA agencies. But that is just Conspiracy theories, huh??
    Maybe Christl Meyer is a CONspiracy Nut with her latest revalations with Scientific Proof on the A.I.D.S. HOAX, which we have known and battled against for over 25 years, only to be drowned out by the HOLLYWIERDERS and the North Howllywood LEFT in form but really uninformed and way unlearned about Anatomy and Physiology=how the body works!
    Tarik Opalusan-EL
    Aboriginal Elder
    Con Piracy


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  14. Dave Lebowitzon 04 Aug 2014 at 2:27 am

    When Jonathan Kay speaks of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, he is quite correct. It was indeed a Czarist hoax that was debunked as early as the 1920s. When he talks about the “maddening” experience of talking and debating with 9/11 truthers, I have to wonder exactly whom he spoke to. Yes, there are truthers who don’t really know too much, and are seeking answers, but there are also people in the “truth” movement who could give him much better answers. I get the sense that he was not really interested in any of the copious facts nor overwhelming evidence surrounding the events of 9/11. He’d much rather simply dismiss all these facts as “conspiracy theory” rather than take the time to look at the actual facts.

    What is a conspiracy anyway? The legal definition of “conspiracy” is: a secret agreement between two or more people to do something illegal or harmful. If all conspiracies are fairy tales, as Kay would have us believe, then why are there laws on the books against conspiracy? Why are people tried and convicted of conspiracy, and why are so many people sitting in jail for conspiracy?

    What is a theory? According to a phD at Kaiser Permanente, whom I have spoken with often, a “theory” is an explanation of a phenomenon.

    How do you know if a conspiracy theory is true or not unless you look into it? Neither Kay nor Sonali really bother to try to get to the bottom of these theories. They simply assume that they’re “fairy tales.”

    For example, Kay complains that he can’t get any truther to tell him what happened. Then he tries to debunk Alex Jones. I listen to Alex Jones whenever I get a chance, and I disagree with some of his opinions, but Alex generally gets his facts right, and backs up what he says with videos and/or newspaper articles from the NY Times and other periodicals, or other documentation that can be verified thru independent research.

    Kay says that truthers blame the U.S. government for 9/11. Look, it was not the entire U.S. Government, but the evidence points to a fifth column of high officials within the government including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest levels of the FBI, so-called Vice-President Dick Cheney, and others who did in fact make the 9/11 attacks possible. Look; how many trillions of dollars have the American People spent on defense? Yet the U.S. military couldn’t be bothered to defend the WTC nor the Pentagon?? It’s funny how when schools fail, the funding is cut. When defense failed, funding was massively increased! Who benefits? Well, the defense contractors sure did. So did the oil companies, and so did the mega-banks from which the U.S. borrows hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the increased defense budget and the ensuing wars.
    As for the neo-cons, they formed a think tank called the Project for a New American Century. Prior to Bush, Jr. taking office as “President,” PNAC published a manifesto called “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” It was signed by Cheney, Jeb Bush, et al. and expressed the need for 9/11 to happen in order to accelerate popular acceptance of their geo-strategic goals of taking over Central Asia for its resources. Zbigniew Brzesinki, in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard, also expounded upon the need for a catalytic catastrophic event [such as 9/11] to hasten America’s ability to take over the Caspian Sea region and surrounding areas. That book and the PNAC document are practically signed confessions!

    As for vaccines, you don’t need to look for a conspiracy theory. Just look at the ingredients of whatever vaccine you or your children are going to take. Do you really want your children to be injected with mercury, aluminum, and other poisons, when the vaccines have not been proven to be effective against disease? Note also that Congress passed a law at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry, that if you or your child are, in fact, harmed by a vaccine, you are prohibited from suing the manufacturer of the vaccine. I don’t know about you but that give me pause.

    With all the factual evidence and eyewitness accounts surrounding 9/11 and all the other “conspiracy theories” that Kay pooh poohs, Kay seems to have some kind of pathological religious belief that whatever the government and mainstream news tell us is the truth, and that we should pay no attention to anyone who can demonstrate otherwise.

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