Mysterious Murder Makes Media Mock Conspiracy Theories

A prosecutor is killed by a bullet to the head and the media, rather than investigate, prefers to mock conspiracy theories.


As far as I can tell, this New York Times article assumes that the rational response to a murder mystery is to mock people for speculation about who is responsible for the killing. The headline lets you know that we are supposed to be entertained by the fact that people are dealing with an unknown killer: “Whodunit? In Obsessed Nation, Question Becomes Who Didn’t.”

The president did it. No, it was the Argentine spymaster plotting against her. Maybe it really was a suicide, the tragic fall of a man whose case was coming undone. Or was it Iran, the Israeli Mossad, the C.I.A.? And what about the lingering influence of the Nazis who fled here after World War II?

Ever since the fatal shooting of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of conspiring with Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing of a Jewish community center, this country has been awash in theories about who pulled the trigger, and why.

Whether in hushed conversations in cafes, at corner news stalls, or at a lonely beach town hot-dog stand, much of Argentina seems to have an idea about how Mr. Nisman ended up on his apartment floor with a gunshot wound to the head — the night before he was scheduled to testify about his accusations to lawmakers.

This is truly amazing. Here we have a violent death inflicted by person or persons unknown and, to the New York Times, the desperation of people who wonder who is responsible is the real story, rather than the question of who is responsible.

[See also, “Man Brings Cat to Animal Shelter; Gets Killed by Cops.”]

It is possible that Nisman committed suicide, but there has been no such ruling yet. Of course people are going to wonder who did it. Why doesn’t the New York Times staff devote their resources and their alleged journalistic expertise to finding out who did the shooting, rather than waste space mocking the poor South American rubes who are trying to guess about the shooter?

The story gets bizarre:

The remains of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, were recently exhumed to figure out whether he died of cancer or foul play shortly after the coup in 1973. Investigators recently disinterred João Goulart, a Brazilian president deposed in a 1964 coup supported by the C.I.A., to see if he was poisoned by spies while in exile in Argentina.

And in a particularly dramatic event, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela had the sarcophagus of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century aristocrat who freed much of South America from Spain, opened on national television to determine whether he died of arsenic poisoning instead of tuberculosis in 1830, as historians had long accepted.

In each of these cases, investigators failed to find evidence of foul play in the deaths.

Okay, but the issue today is a man who died of a bullet in the head, right? So there is no question in this case that there was foul play. How is telling us that other people died in their beds of natural causes help us understand a man who died of a gunshot wound?

This perspective and “reporting” doesn’t help us understand the death of Nisman. All it does is demonstrate that, no matter how extreme the circumstances, the mainstream media loves to mock conspiracy theories.