It's that time of year again - time to list the top conspiracy theories from the year that's past.
For those of you new to this annual feature, the full rules are here, but the gist is basically this: every December, I list the conspiracy theories that made the biggest headlines during the past year. To qualify, they need to have an air of the bizarre, and not be the kind of thing proven true (as in an actual criminal conspiracy - of which, this year, thanks to the financial crisis, we certainly have plenty). Rather, these are the fanciful stories that have captured acclaim and started rumors, with no real basis of fact in evidence.
Naturally, as one might expect, with a new party taking office this year, most of the top conspiracies for 2009 now come from the right (as opposed to from the left, as they have for the past several years).
And now, without further ado, let's have a drum roll....and get to our list.
10. The mob killed JFK. Perhaps one of the most enduring conspiracies of all time, this one breathed new life this year with new books and a TV show on Frontline resurrecting one of Oliver Stone's favorite memes.
9. Sarah Palin's "dollar coin" conspiracy was perhaps notable not as much for its wide attention as for it's laughably typical Palin foible: the grand conspiracy plot she refers to (moving "In God We Trust" to the side of the coin) was actually approved in 2005 by George Bush.
8. Did you know that the CIA is following you on Twitter? So that explains all those annoying DM's.
7. Call the fake Obama birth certificate the conspiracy that wouldn't die. Though we reported this one last year, this year even a District Judge was tempted to side with the conspiracy theorists.
6. ACORN this year became the organization that conservatives loved to hate...and so the nutty conspiracy theories flourished. We have the campaign finance law violation conspiracies, the growing "I lost my local election because of ACORN" conspiracies, the tax evasion conspiracy, the ACORN/Obama federal grants conspiracy, the ACORN hooker conspiracy, a lovely little ACORN gun conspiracy, the ACORN stole the Presidential election conspiracy (what else?), and perhaps my favorite, that ACORN caused the financial crisis. At least no one's blamed them yet for the weather.
5. Speaking of conspiracies no one would have expected, who would have expected a swine flu conspiracy this year? So many villains to go around that really, the whole list of them deserve to be condensed into one.
4. Naturally, one would not expect a review of 2009 conspiracies to end without some kind of communist plot making the top of the list. So I nominate Glenn Beck's Apollo Alliance Manchurian Candidate White Board Conspiracy to take the spot.
3. I love the writings and assorted ramblings of Matt Taibbi. And I think his Goldman Sachs vampire squid conspiracy really has to take the cake as the second runner-up for this year's top conspiracy. After all, who didn't want to take a swing at the fat cats at Goldman this year?
2. Coming in second for this year's top conspiracy: global warming has been faked by scientists. Even the UN is investigating this hot conspiracy. I tell you, when a conspiracy is breaking news at the UN, you'd better pay attention.
1. But even that didn't surpass this year's top conspiracy: The Obama Health Care Death Panel conspiracy. When the U.S. Congress gets into the business of spinning conspiracy theories, even the President has to respond.