By Matt Rooney
The Internet and conspiracy theories go together like peanut butter and jelly, Save Jerseyans. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. So when Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday, Hollywood-level Epstein murder theories were inevitable.
Personally? I always assume incompetence before conspiracy (especially where the government is concerned). But I was with a large group of gents on Saturday night – whose political views were all over the map – and the verdict was unanimous: Epstein was “suicided.” The only question was (1) how and (2) at whose hand.
The Internet mirrored my in-person conversations. Again, the only real dispute appeared to be #ClintonBodyCount vs. #TrumpBodyCount. The Trumpster even retweeted a not-at-all-veiled indictment of the Clintons from a leading proponent of the former theory.
That’s not to say there wasn’t some push back from the Left and the Right, too:
Scrutiny of how #Epstein was able to commit suicide is warranted
But the immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone on the “other side” of partisan divide having him killed illustrates why our society is so vulnerable to foreign disinformation & influence efforts
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 10, 2019
You can guess where the Media came down…
— Bill Spadea (@BillSpadea) August 11, 2019
The real story here isn’t a dead billionaire pedophile or the other powerful and rich pedophiles he *might* have outed had he survived to trial.
Nope. The real story is the reason WHY Internet opinion finds itself unusually unified on Epstein: confidence in our government, the Media, and the ‘beautiful people’ (elites) is hitting a new low. For good reason, of course, but many Americans are responding by not just doubting the official story they’re being told concerning Epstein’s mysterious death – a death that’s dearth of verifiable details is tailor-made for abuse by runaway imaginations – but by assuming their own facts not necessarily in evidence. Electing their own reality.
As Joe Biden himself recently said on the stump in Iowa, “[w]e choose truth over facts.“
Uncle Joe said more than he knew.
If your “truth” is that the country is being steered over a cliff by a liberal cabal? You have a pre-made villain that you can make fit the facts of any scandal.
If your “truth” is that America is imperiled by a bunch of rich, white, conservative Putinphiles? You made up your mind about who’d kill Epstein long before he was arrested.
What the facts ultimately say (or don’t say) doesn’t matter. The ideological, political, cultural “truth” of the debate’s individual combatants is all that matters. .
That’s the real story. The real question:
Who/what can restore Americans’ faith in their institutions? Including the importance of due process and facts-based decision-making? Before it’s too late for us all?
MATT ROONEY is Save Jersey’s Founder and Blogger-in-Chief and a nationally-noted and respected New Jersey political commentator. When he’s not on-line, radio or television advocating for conservative reform and challenging N.J. power-brokers, Matt is a practicing attorney at the law firm of DeMichele & DeMichele in Haddon Heights (Camden County).