chapter  5
37 Pages

Culture of Conspiracy

Confusion and speculation about details of John F. Kennedy’sassassination began spreading across America just minutes after gunshots echoed through Dealey Plaza. Officials eager to promote calm and reporters frantic to get the biggest story of their careers unwittingly took the first steps in creating the contested ground that has surrounded Kennedy’s death for almost fifty years. What seemed to be true at one moment later shifted to reveal errors and gaps in the narrative. As unsettled citizens waded through a disorderly mix of truth and rumor, their brains filtered data through their own memory banks’ concept of violence, which sprang from American legend, television, films, and other forms of popular culture. The spark of conspiracy belief flared and made an almostinstant mark on contemporary American culture, opening the public to the mythos of Oliver Stone and many lesser storytellers.