From tales of a crashed extraterrestrial aircraft at Roswell, New Mexico, to historical assertions linking the modern Federal Reserve to wealthy, power-hungry elitists whose families still govern the major financial institutions in America today, our culture is rife with belief in conspiracies, secret societies and dark dealings for which the truth remains conveniently hidden away from the public at large. Arguably, in spite of the multitude of reports of illicit activity that involve various factions of the U.S. government and other secret operations occurring throughout history, no conspiracy theories have remained at the forefront of the public interest more than those involving the assassination of the thirty fifth American President, John F. Kennedy.

In fact, it has long been said that many, if not all modern conspiracy theories have their basis in the skepticism that was aroused in people after the release of official explanations for Kennedy’s murder, as supported by the famous Warren Commission. For many, the assassination of JFK represented a loss of innocence among the American public; something even the horrors of two World Wars in the preceding decades hadn’t managed to achieve. Naturally, public outcry and distrust for governing bodies would begin to stem from official claims involving the assassination that, over time, failed to hold up to closer scrutiny–most notably the “lone gunman theory” implicating Lee Harvey Oswald as the sole conspirator. Thus, since Kennedy’s tragic death, more and more people have continued to question events and circumstances in America and abroad that involve political and social upheaval, including the terrorist attacks of September 2001, among others.

A wealth of information has already been available pertaining to Kennedy’s assassination for a number of years, including the majority of that which was featured on last night’s installment of the popular TruTV program Conspiracy Theory. However, the show, which stars former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, still managed to capture what is, perhaps, the most cohesive presentation of those facts to-date.

The program centered around an exclusive deathbed admission made by E. Howard Hunt, one of President Richard Nixon’s infamous “White House Plumbers,” who burglarized the Watergate Hotel on May 28 and June 17, 1972 (hence drawing parallels between the JFK assassination and the later Watergate scandal). Hunt’s admission of involvement as a “bench warmer” in what is presumed to have been the assassination of Kennedy was, however, public knowledge already, and has been since a 2007 piece that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine detailing the confession he made to his son prior to passing away. Other claims Hunt made at the time (recorded by his son) included allegations that Kennedy’s predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson, had helped “orchestrate” the plot along with the help of CIA members; arguably, Hunt himself had been one of these CIA operatives. In fact, controversy still surrounds a number of images taken in Dallas the day of the assassination, which purportedly show Hunt wearing a fedora (many assert he was likely one of the so-called “three tramps” that were being escorted away by police). Further allegations that Hunt had been involved in an assassination plot appeared in 1976 in The Spotlight magazine, after which Hunt sued them for libel.

True, the information implicating Hunt in the JFK assassination has been widely known for some time. However, Ventura provides a cohesive new presentation that is, while mildly sensational at times, a repository for many facts generally only discussed among historians and those with direct interest in the JFK conspiracy theories. Here, they are brought together in a bold, prime-time television format that is arguably one of Ventura’s best programs in the series. Additionally, with its inclusion of experts the likes of Jim Marrs and several others, it managed to bring together the most well-respected voices on the matter in a thorough, focused presentation.

But perhaps best of all, Ventura’s expose’ on the JFK assassination effectively illuminates the dirt that surrounds the general wrongdoings associated with official organizations and government over the years. Hopefully, this sort of programming will continue to encourage people’s way of thinking, and rather than steering it toward blind belief, it may help invoke a sense of curiosity that is both relentless and discriminating when it comes to making judgment calls. Bottom line: things certainly aren’t as they seem, and little, if anything we’re told by media outlets today can be taken at face value. On the other hand, Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory manages to bring together a variety of factual assertions, and thus, when armed with the truth, there is little left to be called a conspiracy “theory.”

Image by Cory Barnes via Flickr.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

One Reply to “JFK, Jesse, and the Roots of the Modern Conspiracy Theory”

  1. What is the year when the government is supposed to release all its restricted files re. the Kennedy assassination? 2020?

    Will people care about Kennedy by then?

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