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Jim Fetzer's Campaign of Disinformation

Comments? Please email: Clint Bradford

Here's a sampling of email messages I have received regarding the esteemed Dr. Fetzer.

Careful, though...some are ugly...

By 1996, I had lost all faith in [Fetzer's] integrity. He is a parasite, not a researcher. He tried to ride the medical evidence to fame, but was frustrated by his inability to use Harrison Livingstone. He went on to find others more easily manipulated, and picked Zapruder alteration as his new "cause."

For all of his talk of science, he told one researcher that he begins by deciding what is the truth, and then marshals evidence (selectively) to support that "truth." This is the opposite of scientific method. In my opinion, Fetzer is clearly a quack, using the language of his field to advance fraudulent premises.

Whether his motives go beyond his own inflated ego, I don't know, but he has done considerable damage by his glory-seeking con-artist parody of JFK research.

I would think a serious researcher of the case would be embarrassed NOT to be on Fetzer's "disinformation" list.

Fetzer is a playground bully, using his academic credentials and his aggressive approach to intimidate those who question his "expertise." Like a bully, he responds with assaults, then cowardice when someone refuses to be intimidated, and demolishes his absurd claims.

[Fetzer] seems to have convinced a growing core of people that "he may have something," using his usual smoke and mirrors, and the phony pretense of science. Insane? No. I believe he is an unscrupulous opportunist, a sociopath unconcerned about what damage he does.

Fetzer's article - "Signs of Disinformation" - is a perfect example of Fetzer's tactics:

1) He provides the reader with the Fetzer definition of disinformation, without regard to any form of reality.

2) He avoids direct accusation, but seeks to tar his critics with vague smears: "who may or may not be gainfully employed by some 'shadowy government agency'."

3) He reports their claims are "too strong to be true." In other words, if a position (like "Fetzer is peddling nonsense") is stated strongly, that is a "sign of disinformation." How convenient. You are only NOT a disinformationalist if you are as vague and slippery as Fetzer, apparently.

4) An "unrelentingly negative" review seems to be another "sign of disinformation." If something is crap, an unrelentingly negative review seems like a reasonable response.

5) He describes "The Innocent Man Script" (which I've never heard of) and his own book (without mentioning it is his) as "fascinating works, in my view, that contribute considerably to illuminating" the case...

6) Josiah Thompson's criticism of Murder in Dealey Plaza is characterized as "trashing."

7) He associates himself with the idea of a rear exit wound, as though a great many of his critics don't also believe this, and then adds his own phony conclusions as though they were natural consequences of the first premise: that the brain "cannot be the brain of JFK, and the X-rays from the autopsy must have been fabricated." These are things which don't necessarily follow, but he presents them as though they are inevitable. He then ignores all previous work, and attrubutes all this to his earlier book, Assassination Science (again not identifying it as his own book).

8) He then states triumphantly that "the former has nine contributors, the latter eleven," as though the number of contributors has the slightest thing to do with the credibility of the two books. He compounds this nonsense by asking "How likely is it that noe of the work of these contributors is meritorious, save for that of someone with whom he associates?" In fact, association with Fetzer may be an indicator of "lack or meritorious" work, though he does mix in some good work with the amazing crap. He later addresses this approach as though it were something being done by others, not him. In reality, if ten people write junk articles, and they are collected in a book, the fact there are ten of them has nothing to do with the quality of book. It is still junk.

9) He then says "Consider the source," but proceeds not to talk about any source. Presumably he means the reader to dismiss Josiah Thompson, the "source" previously mentioned.

10) He states that "the object so disinformation is less to convince anyone of the false than it is to create a set of conditions under which everything can be believed but nothing can be known." Fetzer has accused me in the past, after I had stated a string of things that I indicated very definitely could be known, of arguing that "nothing could be known." It had no relation to what I had said, but fitted his image of his critics, so it didn't matter whether I had said anything that supported the claim - he knew it must be true, so he stated it as a fact. It is, in fact, people like Fetzer who are sowing confusion about what can be known, by tossing out cascades of red herrings, resuscitating discredited theories like the Bill Cooper "Greer shot JFK," and manufacturing new nonsense to add to the confusion.

11) He then targets Posner - none easier - and it gives him a chance to imply that all of his critics are "Posners," ... even though most of us dismantled Posner long before Fetzer did.

12) He indicates the need to go back to the basic evidence, but then argues that the basic evidence has been forged. His stated intent is to "reconstruct the case from the bottom up." Without the basic evidence, of course, we are to begin by going back to the basic evidence and throwing it out.

13) He again praises his own books without mentioning they are his books, and proceeds to greatly inflate their importance. They "are threatening to those who oppose the discovery of truth because they take us back to the basics in order to sort out what evidence is authentic and what is not." NOT, it seems, includes the films, photographs and autopsy evidence pretty much in toto." They thereby enable us to know what is credible and worthy of belief" (Fetzer certified) "and what is not" (inconvenient to Fetzer's claims).

14) Although Peter Dale Scott has raised no objection to the name of Walt Brown's journal, Fetzer has the effrontery to do so in Peter's behalf. The journal is critical of Fetzer, and thus tarnishes "the name of Peter Dale Scott."

15) "Notice....." what Fetzer wants you to think. "Notice....." how Fetzer wants you to assume what he's saying has a sinister connotation, such as Tink praising Gary Mack (who Fetzer's crowd wants to paint as an evil tool of The Sixth Floor Museum "crowd") or something by Todd Vaughan (who has done some good work, though we disagree on many things) or encourages Walt Brown (whom Fetzer has already "explained" is peddling disinformation).

16) He then throws out four other names without any details, saying they have "an axe to grind." Notice that, he says. That would be Clint, myself, Barb and Pamela Brown (apparently he doesn't like her exposure of Doug Weldon's sloppy work on the limo). Anyone who doesn't buy his crap has "an axe to grind."

17) "Notice when claims are too strong to be true." After saying disinformation seeks to create "a state of confusion," he now says anyone making a strong claim should be suspected of disinformation. "too strong to be true"? What exactly does that mean? To quote a song, "Absolutely nothing." Fetzer uses a lot of those phrases that sound profound and mean nothing. Something learned in the academic wars, one would assume.

18) "Notice," he says, when "sources are not cited" - an easy way to discredit newsgroup postings, and sources are often not cited - one needs only to apply the criticism to the posts with which one disagrees. If sources ARE cited, Fetzer just ignores them, thus having it both ways.

19) "Notice when....quotations are taken out of context" (as defined by Fetzer) "edited selectively" (ditto) "or words removed" (note that he imples any removal of words is suspicious, though often words are removed to shorten something WITHOUT altering the meaning of what is cited, merely to remove extraneous material). "These are signs," he tells us.

20) Then he backtracks. Wouldn't want anyone to think he was making a libelous allegation: "I am not suggesting that any of them works for the NSA, the CIA for the FBI" and "I have no idea why they are doing what they are doing." They couldn't be criticizing Fetzer because he is totally full of shit, because that's not within the range of acceptable possibilities for him. After all, he's "revealing the truth." If the subject matter were different, this would be a religious cult.

21) Then some more obfuscatory phrasing: "there are ample grounds based on past experience eo believe they are abusing logic and language to mislead and deceive others about the state of research on the death of JFK." What grounds? Whose past experience? Any sources cited? Nope, though failure to cite sources is one of Fetzer's proclaimed "signs of disinformation." Of course, if he cites sources, he has to make specific allegations against people, and perhaps open himself to legal action, something he's careful to avoid. He says only "On the basis of my experience with them, I believe this is deliberate." That must the the "past experience" he mentioned--experience being criticized by the folks mentioned. "Their function appears to me to be obfuscation"--again the careful phrasing, "appears to me to be." No libel there, just an opinion.

22) His next paragraph implies that all of those cited are conspiring against him. "They seem to have a lot of interaction." His evidence? Bradford cited Thompson on his website.

23) Then another wild and spurious accusation: "It repeats the absurd suggestion that those who are most qualified have no more to contribute than those who are least qualified." This claim, previously made on the newsgroups, takes a lot of chutzpah--it is, after all, Fetzer who is making the ridiculous claim that David Mantik (a physician) is "the world authority on the Zapruder film," elevating Jack White (with a background in advertising) to the position of expert photo analyst, and making other such bizarre claims, while dismissing authentic experts like Roland Zavada as lacking in credibility. Taking this baloney as proven simply by being stated, he goes on to draw conclusions from it, and tie it in to the tactics (his own) which he is projecting onto others.

24) "If the least simpleton should be taken as seriously as the most distinguished scholar" (close to Fetzer's own work) "then there is nothing for them to fear." In fact, it is Fetzer who is fleeing from real expertise, and elevating people with llittle or no background in the fields where he proclaims them "leading authorities," with the exception of Robert Livingston. He says "Even the most important discoveries" (presumably the junk science he is championing) "can be readily discounted merely by denial" (a nice way to avoid confronting the fact those claims have been blasted to scrap by the evidence).

25) He then adds the non-sequiter: "But perhaps that's what we ought to expect from someone who graduated from Yale." This is another sleazy Fetzerism. To those who know many CIA people are Yalies, he is impying that Thompson is "one of them."

26) "There is a serious disinformation movement afoot." Yep, he's leading it, and the best defense is a good offense.

27) His ego then soars again, "one that finds the work of those they attack to be to good to ignore." Please.

28) He then cites Tink as "perhaps the best" example of disinformation.

29) He closes with a call to arms against his critics: "Let us all do our best to expose and combat it" (criticism of Fetzer and his claims, that is). "The cause of justice demands no less." Of course it does, Jim. How can "justice" prevail if his bullshit isn't accepted as the received wisdom of the case?

I read your Dr. Mantik stuff last night...Very good... Thanks for putting all that up...I'll keep checking back for more...

As a student at the Johannes Gutenberg University, it was a pleasure to read Mantik's post. One thing is for sure, there are no excuses for wrong footnotes! Footnotes are basic...if mistakes are made in the footnotes, the evaluation was performed by wrong supposition.

I think that Fetzer is in complete denial. His ego is so fragile that for him to admit to even the slightest error would send him over the edge. He simply can not admit mistakes.

Good work.

Good work Clint. I think Fetzer is just another under informed buff. He may be sincere and may delude himself that his "I love me credentials wall" makes him more right than real researchers, but in the end we can all see right through him.

I think Tony Marsh's latest is an almost comical exposure of Dr. Fetzer's lack of real understanding of this historical case.

Your posts are really hard hitting and impressive.

Mr. Fetzer,

Remove me from you mailing list immediately and do not send any further e-mail to me.

You are a most astonishing combination of lunacy and arrogant pomposity and I am sorry that you hold an academic position which may cause some gullible youths to listen to you.

You only demonstrate that adherence to absurd theories is not the sole province of the uneducated.

FROM FRANCE: I visited this site and liked it, particularly the exchange between you and the authors of the book, "Assassination Science".

FETZER: Neither David nor I think that the alleged(1) problems he raises are serious or consequential(2). In our view, he is making a mountain out of a molehill...Clint Bradford is acting unethically in this matter(3).

[1] - Mantik spoke for himself, of course, and admitted the errors.
[2] - Mantik thought they were important enough to be corrected for future printings.
[3] - By posting what I had permission to post, I am unethical...

JACK WHITE: I am under no obligation to Mr.Bradford or anyone else to jump when they say hop. To say I refuse only means that I declined to answer Mr. Bradford's bullying demands. I do not have time to perform every request made of me, even some of the polite ones.

I said several times that I have viewed this tape [Groden's THE ASSASSINATION FILMS] several times. I have never had time to make a detailed study of it and compare various copies. My interest is in studying individual frames (still photos), which I have told Mr. Bradford several times, but he will not accept this.

I am not obligated to perform any such tests for anyone, even if it were a polite suggestion.

Geeze...first I'm "unethical" - now I'm a "bully."

I am frankly puzzled by the book, and his reaction to this thread; your logic sounds really viable and up front to me.

I believe the Nix, Zapruder and Muchmore films were acquired by the government very early on, and that a major issue was altering those films---probably working in 35 mm format, and then reducing back down.

Poor Jack White, though. I really feel more and more like he's been duped by someone. He absolutely refuses to acknowledge the fact that none of his "anomalies" appear in the many copies of the Zapruder film on Groden's videotape and the new MPI Home Video release.

"Bradford Unethical" a good laugh from that.


We only grow in this endeavor when we honestly (emphasis) dialogue with one another, and avoid such fractious marginalism as has been the case for all too long now; knowing David Mantik as I do, I have no doubt he would second your efforts all the way...So we grow from exchanges...keep up the good work!!

Good job on the Web site, including the Mantik exchange...

FETZER: You are persisting in grossly exaggering [sic] the nature and the significance of the relatively minor points you have made within the context of this exchange. I certainly feel an obligation as editor to correct those exaggerations, which appear to me to be deliberate.

Wow..."grossly exaggerating" and "deliberate exaggerations." Yet the AUTHOR agreed with me...

MANTIK: Regarding the limo stop, I have never insisted on a full stop, either in my talks or in the book, although that is probably very close to what happened. I have always been quite content to accept a dramatic deceleration as being grossly in conflict with the extant Z film.

FETZER: The motion he [Mantik] has always had in mind is a slowing of the vehicle that is significantly greater than anything that can be seen on the [Zapruder] film - indeed, a slowing that was considered to be a complete stop by a large number of eyewitnesses. (See Vince Palamra, "47 Witnesses: Delay on Elm Street", THE THIRD DECADE (January/March 1992), for example, and the quotations from witnesses provided there.

Now FETZER mis-states Palamara's work...14 witnesses stated "stopped" and 19 (if I recollect properly) stated "slowed down" in Vince's article. We will be posting Vince Palamara's study here soon.

FETZER: [Clint,] I should have observed in relation to your claim that you see "rationality and continuity" in the film that rationality is a property of persons, not of inanimate objects, such as film, and therefore your claim not only cannot be true but commits what is known as A CATEGORY MISTAKE (like describing a rock as "honest")...

Get a better dictionary, James. "Reasonableness" is an appropriate synonym in Webster's...

FETZER: Those who distort the standards involved here are ignorant of those standards themselves or else are deliberately attempting to smear others for reasons of their own.

Nope. I just want accuracy and meticulous detail in what I read. Assassination Science's Editor obviously doesn't demand such high standards.

FETZER: There are good reasons for me, as an expert on critical thinking, to respond to lapses in your reasoning...

Gee, this guy is relentless. My "lapses in reasoning" are admitted errors by one of Fetzer's authors. -I- certainly did not invent them...

MANTIK: Regarding the images I used in my analysis, I have made it very clear that I have used only those published by the Warren Commission. I also added that I had available superior black and white prints of these (obtained from Josiah Thompson).

MANTIK: Whether a movement [Greer's head turns] is too fast cannot be assessed quantitatively merely by looking at a film or video. This definitely requires a more detailed analysis, of which frame by frame analysis is critical. If we cannot agree on this issue, we are oceans apart on proper methods of analysis, and will no doubt disagree on much more.

FETZER: Until the authenticity of the film was called into question, it [defining the heritage of what copy/version/rendition of the Zapruder film is being studied] was not usually regarded as important, since it was assumed that there was one film and that it showed the same scenes. Tracing the record has now become important. Why not go back to earlier works and see whether they have traced their sources? I doubt that very much. Of course, now that it has become an issue, it is something that ought to be expected of students of the film in relation to future studies.

Sure wish this was important enough for the Editor of Assassination Science to take into account...a book that was just published in 1997.

FETZER: [Another author...] has made corrections to his work for subsequent printings of the book, and we shall do so regarding other matters as they arise. But your points certainly do not warrant an "Errata" page.

Dr. Mantik desires his mitakes to be corrected in future printings, and thought an Errata page on Fetzer's Web site was a good idea. Noel Twyman made sure we all received an Errata page as his book was sold last November...

FETZER: A book of 480 pages on any technical or complex subject is unlikely to be flawless.

Then get better Editors.

FETZER: To the best of my knowledge, you have no experience editing books or journals in any field, so I do not understand your basis of opinion.

Anyone else see flaws in this logic??? By the way, I edit texts on a weekly basis professionally. And even edited a published book...on critiquing moral arguments (how ironic, eh?)

FETZER: The standards of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE are completely appropriate and far above the norm for work in this area, in my judgment. (I edit books and journals professionally.)

Possibly so...maybe you should tighten up your Author Submission Criteria, then, to demand accuracy...

FETZER: So I imagine that it was our discoveries of evidence of alteration that motivated Debra [JFK/Lancer] to impose such a condition [making it mandatory that authors who write on the Zapruder DEFINE the exact heritage of what they are analyzing], which seems to be appropriate.

He thinks too highly of himself...JFK/Lancer made this announcement AFTER the publication of Assassination Science...when people started to question out loud, "What in the world are these authors looking at?" as Assassination Science authors claimed, "tampering."

FETZER: ...I am bothered by your apparent campaign against work that is in every appropriate respect highly accurate, complete, and competent.

FETZER, REFUSING TO POST AN ERRATA PAGE ON HIS SITE: Let serious students of the assassination read ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and arrive at their own evaluations of the quality of our work...I regularly pass judgment on scholarly research and have the responsiblity for implementing appropriate standards of research. There is no reasonable standard for works in a complex and contentious area of this kind that our book does not meet. I make that assertion as a professional scholar and as the author and as the editor of many books, who is frequently called upon to evaluate book manuscripts and articles in draft for publication by many different journals and publishers. Unlike some of those who have criticized our work, my profession involves work of this kind.

FETZER: So you should discontinue your misrepresentation of me as an interloper. I intervened when it became apparent that you were distorting the nature and significance of the relatively minor mistakes you had discovered and trashing the work as a whole for its alleged lack of meeting appropriate scholarly standards.

FETZER: [Discussing an ERRATA Page on the Assassination Web site] David [Mantik] and I have discussed it and do not find justification for something of this kind. You have simply been carried away with your minor discovery, which suggests to us - and to others who have had exchanges with you - that you are just very inexperienced in matters of research.

FETZER: I would have thought you would have appreciated the publicity...[by posting my works on Fetzer's Assassination Science site].

Talk about missing the point entirely...I'm not in this for "publicity." I simply want accuracy and attention paid to the details.

FETZER: No contributor to the book supports such an idea. [an Errata page]

FETZER: appears you are completely possessed with the pursuit of minutiae. This is not only obsessive, but actually borders on the bizarre. I suggest that whatever point you have had to make has been made many times over - far beyond its intrinsic significance, which is scant - and that you and I and the rest of the world should get on with our lives. There are simply too many important matters to do otherwise.

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