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News Of Bin Laden's Demise Brings Out The 'Deathers'

This isn't a surprise:

"DNA Tests Not Enough For Bin Laden 'Deathers' " ( The Atlantic Wire).

They think that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden might not really be dead, or that bin Laden had been dead for years and this weekend's raid was some sort of ruse.

The White House is aware that such doubters are out there. Yesterday the president's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said "we are going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden." That could soon include the release of postmortem photographs.

So add "deathers" to a conspiracy theory lexicon that includes the "truthers" (who insist the Sept. 11 attacks were some sort of American or Israeli plot) and the "birthers" (who won't believe President Obama was born in the USA).

And you also might want to note the advice of Paul Thornton on theLos Angeles Times' opinion staff, who suggests that:

"Though skepticism is a fine intellectual trait (and one that serves journalists well), exercising it properly requires a credible factual basis. ... That's the difference between, say, questioning the Bush administration's prewar claims of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program, when other governments and United Nations inspectors raised doubts, and embracing 9/11 'trutherism,' which is informed by a pathological mistrust of all things government, despite all evidence to the contrary. I'd slot 'deatherism' in the latter category."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.