"It's clear they're doing everything they can to make it a failure so they don't have to renew it," Ventura said when he appeared on The Alex Jones Show's Infowars Nightly News on November 28. The "they" he refers to, as is typical with conspiracy theories, is vaguely defined. "Look at what the facts are," he said on a follow-up appearance last week. "The FEMA show was taken off, after airing only one time... and the TSA show, again... we completed the show and they chose not to air it. Somebody on their end made the decision. They've chosen not to air it. TruTV, the network did. Who influenced truTV to do that, I do not know."
That speculation has a friend in Alex Jones, an affable Texan with a devoted following who believes an elite cabal of globalists (mostly the scions of old British banking families) are using the Federal Reserve to take over the United States, reduce us all to toothless dependency, and will one day trigger a catastrophe that culls the population to a more manageable size. He is a frequent guest on Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, particularly on episodes that concern the U.S. government and seem to point to a grander, more unified conspiracy theory. Ventura doesn't agree with his one-world government ideas, though says that "after doing the show, nothing seems beyond belief."
While the implication of sinister motives for cable-TV programming decisions may be far-fetched, Ventura's right, at least, that some genres of conspiracy investigations are safer, more attractive bets for a TV station than others. The most outlandish ones, like those featuring reptilians or time travel, are neatly and entertainingly debunked or discredited by Ventura's team. Theories that involve government malfeasance are a different breed entirely. Some haven't been so implausible. The fusion centers that skim our data are undeniably creepy. So too was the massive excavation uncovered in the Ozark Mountains during Season Three.
But the more specious government-related theories, like FEMA camps, present a dilemma. Cohen's reference to Timothy McVeigh may seem alarmist, but there's obviously danger involved in propagating extreme views of the government. Ventura, though, thinks the audience is smart enough to separate truth from speculation.
"People should take the show with a grain of salt," he says. "[The way it works] is that someone brings us the conspiracy, and if there's enough meat on the bone, we'll put our team on it, and if someone we interview tells us a lie we can only look into it."
That answer may not always be acceptable to, say, truTV's lawyers who are worried about the network being taken to court for slander. But Ventura's never gotten along all that well with authority. As a professional wrestler he sued his employer, Titan Sports, to retrieve royalties. When he retired he blamed blood clots in his lungs allegedly caused by his wartime exposure to Agent Orange. More recently he's sued the TSA and Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper who accused Ventura of defaming the SEALs.
Yet for all his rabble rousing, Ventura seems sincere. He comes off as genuinely protective of his inner circle and personally afflicted by the canceled episodes. That accusations of censorship get more people talking about—and potentially watching the show—is just a coincidence. Or is it?