Garrett Graff : "Bungling" is a more likely explanation for government conspiracy theories

Marin B

Active Member
This week's This American Life had a segment titled "Master of Her Domain... Name" about the Clinton email scandal. The guest, Garrett Graff, a reporter who has spent 10 years covering politics, discusses what he learned from reading ~250 pages of FBI summaries of the email investigation. In the last minute or two of the segment the host commented on conversations he had with his guest:

Then you hear Garrett Graff say:

Podcast link here and summary is below:
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Then you hear Garrett Graff say:

Content from external source This scandal underscores to me so much of what I have experienced in covering politics and national security for a decade which is whenever you hear a government conspiracy theory, the almost universal truth is that the explanation is more likely either bureaucratic bungling or outright incompetence.

He's likely think of "Hanlon's razor"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor
The idea has quite an old history, predating "conspiracy theory".

 

deirdre

Senior Member.
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think this is a realization that many people come to as they get older. When you are young you've got this idea that the "adults" are very competent, and are know what they are doing. This is certainly true when you are a child, and continue to be true as a young adult. But as you eventually surpass those people in age you realize that they are really just normal people, like you.

I also think this is relates to why people believe in conspiracy theories - and why young people believe in them more than anyone. It's a simplistic view of the "grown-ups" controlling the world.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The interviews “depict less a sinister and carefully calculated effort to avoid transparency than a busy and uninterested executive
i think the "uninterested" factor is also something many conspiracy theorists can't seem to wrap their heads around. They think if something is important to them, it must be important to others.

Like the footage of the police stopping the reporters in the woods at Sandy Hook. The police stopped and questioned many people that day, why would any official care to go out of their way to give specific details about a couple of reporters sneaking in to get a look? Why would TPTB who were busy with a real investigation even be aware there was video footage of that 'scene'? It's like they think the cops all went back to the office that night and poured over TV footage or checked out Youtube to see what the conspiracy theorists were saying. And even if they were aware of tv footage re the reporters, why would they care?

Why would first selectman Lodra care where the State Police got the check in sign from or who ordered the Porta Potties? But if noone in Newtown goes out of their way to get answers these CT questions (because noone cares), it's a big coverup.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
View attachment 22492

Some, not most, people think the same thing about teachers. I thought about that as I graded midterms at 5:00 am today.
 
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