THOMPSON'S ABUSE OF THE FORUM

              [Editor's note:  I subsequently posted questions
               about the plans for the reprinting of his book
               to Josiah Thompson.  His response, reported and
               analyzed here, convinced me that I had been mis-
               taken to take down my much earlier post from my
               DISINFORMATION page.  Consequently, I have rein-
               stated it, but with ample warnings about of its 
               controversial character and explicit guidance as
               to what I do and do not mean by "disinformation".]


As many of you are aware, I recently posted a set of question for Tink Thompson
regarding the reprinting of his book, SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967).  Although
the questions were politely phrased and reasonable to raise, as Martin White
observed (see below), the responses he provided were incomplete, abusive, and
highly misleading.  They displayed the use of informal fallacies and other
rhetorical techniques to create false, distorted, and misleading impressions
about research on a serious subject, namely:  conspiracy and cover-up in the
assassination of JFK.  In order to analyze his response to my questions, I am
indenting them by using ">" marks to indicate quotations. The place to begin,
no doubt, is the preface and first question of my original post of 17 Feb 2001.

> Three+ Questions for Tink Thompson
>
> Posted by Jim Fetzer  , Sat, Feb 17, 2001, 14:07:57
>
> Some of us remain quite fascinated about new developments you have announced
> involving the reprinting of your book. While I shall ask the questions, I am
> not the only person interested in the answers. The first concerns your
> collaboration with The 6th Floor Museum, while the others concern the book and
> the steps planned to promote it. Do you have a contract for republication?
>
>     (1) THE 6th FLOOR MUSEUM. Since The 6th Floor Museum is a recognized
> anti-conspiracy operation--which even declines to carry ASSASSINATION SCIENCE
> and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA--how > can you reconcile your (heretofore)
> pro-conspiracy work with its anti-conspiracy orientation? How do you justify
> your association, collaboration, and even contributions to its support? Have
> you abandoned your previous views?

>> RE:: Fetzer's fascination.
>>
>> RE:: Three+ Questions for Tink Thompson -- Jim Fetzer
>> Posted by Josiah Thompson  , Sat, Feb 17, 2001, 16:10:54
>>
>> You seem to be just fascinated with this, aren't you?
>>
>> "Since The 6th Floor Museum is a recognized anti-conspiracy operation--
>> which even declines to carry ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and MURDER IN DEALEY
>> PLAZA--how can you reconcile your (heretofore) pro-conspiracy work with
>> its anti-conspiracy orientation?"
>>
>> "Six Seconds in Dallas" will be republished in a strict reprint format in
>> collaboration with the Sixth Floor Museum. Since "Six Seconds" is quite
>> obviously (in your terms) a "pro-conspiracy" book, why would "a recognized
>> anti-conspiracy operation" reprint a "pro-conspiracy" book? Might it not be
>> because the Sixth Floor Museum is neither pro- nor anti-conspiracy but
>> interested primarily in preserving and displaying materials concerning
>> the assassination for later generations?
>>
  It MIGHT be an objectively random statistical phenomenon, because the place
  is run by space aliens who don't know the difference between information and
  disinformation, or because the Museum does not know its ass from its elbow.
  But no one familiar with the history of this case takes such nonsense as he
  is peddling here seriously. (For elaboration, see below.) The lone-nut bias
  of this operation has been noted by many students of the crime over a long
  period of time.  Len Osanic, who run the Fletcher Prouty web site that can
  be found at http://www.prouty.org/ even maintains an archive of statements
  of protest from those who have visited the Museum, which can also be found
  at http://www.prouty.org/boycott.html. (It currently runs 28 pages long.)

> As to why the Sixth Floor Museum doesn't carry your books... I thought Gary
> Mack explained that to you. It had something to do with the quality of
> research... didn't it?
>
  This is a very nice example of special pleading and abusing the man, which
  involves the dissemination of material that he knows to be false or the mis-
  represtation of true facts.  It cannot be an innocent occurrence, where he
  is misrepresenting the situation because he simply knows no better.  There
  are at least three lines of argument that support this conclusion, namely:

  (a) Years ago, when I inquired of Gary Mack why The 6th Floor Museum was not
  carrying ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (1998), I receive an "explanation" from him I
  considered to be completely unfounded.  I therefore replied with a rebuttal
  that took issue with (what I considered to be) his pseudo-rationale for the
  exclusion of this book.  I consider his communication to be on a par with the
  review of the book that appeared in the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL and made
  accessible on my DISINFORMATION page as an example of TYPE FOUR, as follows:
  ______________

  Fourth Type: The fourth level of disinformation appears to occur, not
                when a work (a book or an article) is being written from
                scratch, but in creating a highly biased impression of a
                study by simply IGNORING its most significant, important,
                or relevant features to mislead others about the contents
                of the work, which is another form of SPECIAL PLEADING.
                Notice that someone unfamiliar with the work--which, in
                this instances, is ASSASSINATION SCIENCE--would not be
                in the position to realize that they were being duped.

                     * GO TO the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL review (1 item)

                     * GO TO the Letter to the Editor in response (1 item)

                     * GO TO my critique of Gary Mack's "review" (2 items)

  (Please see:  http://www.assassinationscience.com/disinformation.html.)
  ______________

  This is important in the present context because, given Tink's presumptive
  familiarity with my DISINFORMATION page--which has in the past included a
  post over which Tink launched a massive public relations campaign to have
  removed--he surely knows that Mack's letter and my rebuttal appear there.
  If he knows that, however, then it is disingenious in the extreme to now
  coyly imply that I have something to hide, when I have made an issue of
  Mack's abuse of position as official "archivist" of The 6th Floor Museum.

  (b) He either understands the modus operandi of the archivist and The 6th
  Floor Museum or he does not.  He asserts that ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (1998)
  and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000) are not being carried there because of
  their "quality of research".  But, as I understand it, books that are not
  carried there also include Harold Weisberg, WHITEWASH (1965), Mark Lane,
  RUSH TO JUDGMENT (1966), Sylvia Meager, ACCESSORIES AFTER THE FACT (1967),
  James Hepburn, FAREWELL AMERICA (1968), George O'Toole, THE ASSASSINATION
  TAPES (1975), Gary Shaw, THE COVER-UP (1976), Peter Model and Robert Groden,
  JFK: THE CASE FOR CONSPIRACY (1976), David Lifton, BEST EVIDENCE (1980),
  Jim Garrison, ON THE TRAIL OF THE ASSASSINS (1988), Jim Marrs, CROSSFIRE
  (1989), Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone, HIGH TREASON (1989), Charles
  Crenshaw, JFK: CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE (1992), Harrison Livingstone, HIGH
  TREASON 2 (1992), Robert Groden, THE KILLING OF A PRESIDENT (1993), Stewart
  Galanor, COVER-UP (1997), and Noel Twyman, BLOODY TREASON (1997).  Either
  all of these books--and others unnamed--are deficient in their quality of
  research or The 6th Floor Museum is using such claims as a pretext for the
  systematic exclusion of work that demonstrates conspiracy and cover-up in
  the death of the 35th President of the United States.  There are no more
  deficiencies with the quality of research of these books than there are
  in the case of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA, as Tink
  must know.  Tink is therefore deliberately misleading this audience by
  distorting the actual facts about the policies of The 6th Floor Museum.

  (c) Indeed, that this is the case has been underlined by Jack White, who
  has reported, "It is only fair to say that the 6th Floor bookstore DOES
  stock ONE pro-conspiracy book ... CONSPIRACY by Anthony Summers. I once
  asked one of the attendants why 'no conspiracy books' and was told 'not
  so' and steered to Tony's book. I guess that is the reason they stock it."
  But of course those familiar with CONSPIRACY in its latest edition know
  that Summers position is very weak on the actual occurrence of a conspir-
  acy, which he suggests may have happened but where the case, in his view,
  remained inconclusive.  If SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967) is now going to
  join it, then there has to be a reason, which, I would suggest, could be
  to create the impression that it represents the latest work on the film,
  which, of course, is a gross misrepresentation of the facts in this case.

> And, by the way, while we're talking about quality of research... Are you
> going to remove from subsequent editions or reprintings of your latest
> effort, the ill-fated Moorman-in-the-street material?
>
  Here Thompson practices one of his specialities in begging the question by
  taking for granted an important issue, namely, the precisely location of
  Moorman when her photograph was taken.  I have stated on the forum before
  that, should Jack and David and I become convinced that a mistake has been
  made in the book, then--as in the case of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (1998) and
  already for MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000), where corrections have been made
  to the 2nd printing, which is now available--we will correct them.  It not
  only qualifies as logically fallacious to presume he is right when there
  remains so much debate over the issue--as ongoing discussion on the forum
  clearly reflects--but also psychologically abusive of everyone who takes
  these questions (of evidence and hypothesis) more seriously than does he.
  He once again deliberately misrepresents the available relevant evidence.

  He ends his response with a nasty remark that implies that I am "smearing"
  him by raising these questions about the odd republication of his book:

>> Let me close with a piece of advice. I don't think any of the members of
>> the Forum really want to follow a resumption of the war between us.
>> Accordingly, instead of sniffing around for smear material on me, why
>> don't you try to deal with evidentiary matters? Or is that too much of
>> an intellectual stretch for you?
>>
>> Josiah Thompson
>>

  All things considered, this is a remarkable finale, which does nothing
  to respond to the issues I have raised other than by way of distraction.
  Some readers may not have noticed how Thompson finessed the very first
  question that I asked above, "Do you have a contract for republication?",
  perhaps because, unlike the others, it was not numbered.  But virtually
  ever reader should observe that he does not answer the following three:

>     (2) THE ZAPRUDER FILM. One major shortcoming with your book was its
> reliance upon diagrams in lieu of photographs. We all know the story of
> your valiant efforts to use the original frames, which was defeated by
> LIFE. Now that the copyright is under the control of The 6th Floor Museum,
> are you planning on using the original frames in lieu of drawings? Have you
> reached an agreement with Mack about using them? If not, why not? Wouldn't
> that be a good thing to do?
>
>     (3) A PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN. Are you planning to participate in a
> nation-wide campaign to promote the book that might involve television
> appearances, book-signings, and other events across the country? Has this
> been discussed with your publisher and is there any chance that you and
> Gary Mack might be making joint appearances--perhaps something on the order
> of what was done for CASE CLOSED by Gerald Posner?
>
>     (+) AND BY THE WAY: In the interests of scholarly integrity--in order
> to avoid creating the appearance that this book represents the latest work
> on the Zapruder film, for example--are you planning on acknowledging the
> extensive debate over its authenticity, which, as you know, has been raging
> at least since 1996? Are you planning on citing ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and
> MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA as resources for serious studies and evidence
> supporting its lack of authenticity?
>
  Indeed, in a response to another post a day later, he now reports, "Real
  Zapruder photos will replce the drawings in the reprinting of SIX SECONDS
  which should be available by the end of the year."  This is a remarkable
  reversal of position, where he had previously affirmed just the day before
  that it would be "republished in a strict reprint format", which would not
  entail any changes or alteration to the book.  This development led Martin
  White to make the following observation with an additional inquiry, namely:

> RE:: Six Second Reprint
>
> RE:: RE:: Six Second Reprint -- Josiah Thompson
> Posted by Martin White  , Sun, Feb 18, 2001, 09:01:34
>
> You have very graciously answered the question which was posed; why could
> you not answer the same questionin the same manner when Jim Fetzer asked it?
> The questions were politely phrased, and were reasonable questions to ask.
>
> Was the text of the book based upon analysis of the actual photos, but
> drawings included for illustration? Is this correct? If not, perhaps an
> extension of Jim's original question; will the text (which analysed the
> drawings in the original version) be revised to reflect analysis of the
> photos which you are now using?
>
  This is a fascinating and extremely important question, because it asks
  for the basis of the analysis presented in the text.  It might have an
  obvious answer, namely:  that since the original analyses were based on
  the photos rather than the diagrams, their substitution can take place
  without the necessity for revising the analysis.  But it is striking he
  has not answered this simple inquiry Martin has posed as of this date.

  Perhaps even more important are the other answers he does not provide,
  especially in response to (+).  Rather than dealing with the question,
  he remarks, "instead of sniffing around for smear material on me, why
  don't you try to deal with evidentiary matters? Or is that too much of
  an intellectual stretch for you?"  But dealing with "evidentiary matters"
  is precisely what I am doing here, since it appears to me that this guy
  is going to present an antiquated book, whose findings had already been
  superceded just three years later by work of Richard Sprague published
  in COMPUTERS AND AUTOMATION (May 1970), as though it were the latest or
  the best work ever undertaken on the Zapruder film.  His non-response to
  (+) thus raises the following extremely disturbing possibilities, namely:

  (i) that he is NOT planning on acknowledging the extensive debate over the
  over the authenticity of the film, which he fallaciously takes for granted,
  even though it has been raging at least since 1997, as he knows very well;

  (ii) that he is NOT planning on citing ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and MURDER
  IN DEALEY PLAZA--or any other works, for that matter--as resources for
  serious studies and evidence supporting the film's lack of authenticity.

  I find it a bit much, therefore, that he should be offering me "advice"
  about "sniffing around for smear material" instead of trying to deal with
  evidentiary material when he refuses to answer elementary questions about
  the scholarly integrity of his own undertaking, which just happens to be
  the subject of these posts.  Could it be that he cannot answer them with-
  out making explicit the tacit assumptions that drive the enterprise, one
  that appears to be assuming dimensions of misrepresentation rivaling THE
  WARREN REPORT (1964) itself, but now exclusively in relation to the film?

  Creating the appearance that this book represents the latest work on the
  Zapruder film, for example, would be an outrageous misrepresentation that
  no one could mistake for a case of misinformation.  As Martin White, for
  example, once explained in a post he put up on 3 February 2001 as follows:

> With regard to the dis/mis information debate, I think we all agree that
> differences of opinion will occur. This may be the result of someone being
> MISinformed, which is (normally) an innocent occurance, but which may in
> turn be the result of DISinformation; the deliberate dissemination of
> knowingly false material, or the misrepresentation of true facts.

  It is very difficult to resist the conclusion that Thompson is engaged
  in disinformation, which has nothing to do with his specific motivation
  or whether he is working for the CIA, the NSA, or the FBI.  Indeed, in
  relation to the question of the authenticity of the film, some members
  of this forum are having a difficult time reconciling Tink's strenous
  objections to my depiction of him as not the person he pretends to be--
  an honent, open, seeker after truth--with his efforts to undermine the
  study of the film's authenticity, which those members of this forum can
  GUARANTEE has been massively edited BECAUSE THEY HAVE SEEN THE ORIGINAL.

>> Let me close with a piece of advice. I don't think any of the members of
>> the Forum really want to follow a resumption of the war between us. . . .
>>
>> Josiah Thompson
>>
   While I have no interest in resurrecting the debate between us, I cannot
   stand idly by and allow the dissemination of disinformation on this forum
   to transpire unopposed. In using this word, I am not implying that he is
   working for the CIA, the NSA, or the FBI, a misrepresentation that he has
   milked to death without justification.  He is once again acting AS IF he
   were an agent of disinformation and is certainly not conducting himself as
   a gentleman or a scholar.  The evidence is clear and it is compelling.  I
   believe that this man has abused this forum all too long.  Let it now end.




 

Home
Books
Challenge
Posner
Disinformation

Video
Special Cases
Terrorism
Social Issues
Order