One thing about Jesse Ventura is that you always know you are going to get 100 percent from him. From his earlier days as a Navy Seal to pro wrestler to actor to governor of Minnesota and now to investigative journalist, Jesse attacks everything with passion and commitment. As his record-breaking series Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura begins its second season tonight on truTV at 10 p.m. ET/PT, you can expect even more of that impassioned truth-digging.
This season, he and his band of investigators look into the JFK assassination, the BP oil spill in the Gulf, Area 51 and other controversial hush-hush topics. Being fascinated with all of these subjects, you can bet your sweet bippy I was more than excited to speak with the Governor about Conspiracy Theory. (All photos courtesy truTV)
Celebrity Extra: I just want to tell you that I am thrilled to interview you. Not just as a journalist, but my husband and I are huge, huge fans of your show.
Jesse Ventura: Thank you. We got eight more of them that are going to be better this year than they were last year. I think this season’s even better. From the production side it’s better, because whenever you do the first year of a show, you kind of fly by the seat of your pants on what works and what doesn’t work. The second year you have a much better idea of where you’re going and the direction you need to go and what you want to achieve. So, I think this year’s shows are going to be even better as far as editing and things like that go.
CE: And the first season too you were just breaking records all over the place for truTV so they must be thrilled to have you back for a second season as well.
JV: Remember this is a bottom-line business. If you’re not successful at it you’re certainly not going to be back. But you know what? I give truTV a lot of credit. They’re showing a great deal of courage for putting these shows on television. In fact, I won a Stony award this year, which is given out by High Times magazine — you know, the marijuana magazine?
CE: Oh yeah.
JV: That’s why it’s called a Stony. In fact, they hold the formal thing at the Ford Theater in L.A., and Cheech and Chong are the hosts. They gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award this year. They gave it to me because they felt my show should get a Lifetime Achievement Award because of the fact that I was able to even get it on TV.
CE: How did the whole idea even come about to do Conspiracy Theory in the first place?
JV: Well, it came about one day when I was with the people I work with in L.A., my agent and all the people out there. We were talking one day and somehow we got on to the assassination of President Kennedy, about which I’ve read every book I can get my hands on for the past 25 years. And I started passionately talking about a bunch of the stuff that I knew, and my agent looked around the room and he said, “People, this is a TV show waiting to happen.”
We just kind of put our heads together and decided what we wanted to do and started shopping it. We had initial interest with another network, but they didn’t seem to have the money to get the job done. Then truTV found out, I don’t know exactly how, but they came on board with both guns blazing and said: “We’ll take care of this show. We want to have this show.” I’ve been there ever since, and I have to tell you that I couldn’t be happier because like I said, it takes a lot of courage to do what they’re doing.
CE: I’m sure a lot of the subjects you are going to cover this season are just astounding, but can you think of some jaw-dropping, what-the-heck kind of moments that stick out for you that'll really surprise the viewer?
JV: Well, you know, naturally the confession, we have a confession to the John F. Kennedy murder. First time ever you’ll hear it on television and see it. It's a deathbed confession from father to son. That’s pretty dynamic for me because I’ve been studying it for 25 years. The people who I thought did it, did it.
The other one that really got to me is the conspiracy on our fresh drinking water. They are privatizing water and they are going to control people in countries by drinking water, because there is only so much on the planet. International corporations are taking it over, and it's something you need to survive. It’s like the Native American Indian chief that I talk to in the show. He looked me right in the eye and he says: “Governor, remember this, as hard as it is to realize, we can live without oil. We cannot live without water.”
They are calling it "blue gold" right now. In fact, we heard that the Bush family has diversified out of oil and is now investing in water.
CE: What I like too is that you don’t mince words. When you say something you aren’t afraid of what to say. This must really only help serve you to ferret out the truth, because people are just really trying to hide everything from you.
JV: Well, the difficult thing for me is that most of the conspiracies deal with our government. The problem there is that you cannot get the government to even respond to you. We, as citizen, who pay their salaries with our tax dollars, if you go to the government to get a question answered about something controversial, you won’t get an answer. In fact, they won’t even entertain your question. You can’t even talk to anyone about it.
Every time we’ve tried to talk to somebody about 9/11 all they do is refer us to the 9/11 Commission Report. We’ve read that. We all know what kind of fraudulent crap is in that. What good is that going to do? That’s one of the things that troubles me is the fact that we are the taxpayers, yet the government feels that they don’t owe us any explanation for how they spend our money.
I had a guy this morning on Howard Stern tell me to get out of the country and called me a traitor. All because I question 9/11. I felt bad, because I should have quoted Einstein to him. You know what Albert Einstein said? “A foolish faith in authority is the enemy of the truth.” Albert Einstein ain’t who he is cause he’s dumb. That is what we have in this country now: a foolish faith in authority.
CE: Now, have you been threatened to put the kibosh on a story because you learned too much or it was too controversial?
JV: Nope. I have not been threatened at all not directly or indirectly that I know of.
CE: That’s good, because I know you are covering a lot of dangerous subjects that tend to scare most people. They just don’t want to get involved with it. Like you said before, the JFK assassination, Area 51 stuff, the Bilderberg Group. I’m eager to hear if you have an opinion on the apparent heart attack of Matt Simmons, the outspoken critic and expert of the BP oil spill who was basically saying that our government is hiding the severity of the whole spill.
JV: Well, they certainly are. We do a show on the BP oil spill, and it’s worse than that. I will tell you this, in probably 75 percent of the conspiracies that deal with our government that I have now investigated — 15 of them — I would tell you in at least half of those, at some point in time our intelligence and our gathering of facts led us to Halliburton. Halliburton seems to come up all the time. Interesting isn’t it? Halliburton is deeply involved in the oil spill. They bought out the cleanup people, Boots and Coots, three weeks prior. Now, is that circumstantial? Is that something that just happened?
The other thing we learned is the BP executives two to three weeks prior to the oil spill dumped the majority of their stock in their own company. But yet no one looks into that, do they? I look into it.
CE: I read something where you compare the Democrat and Republican parties to pro wrestling with all the posturing and all of that, and how it’s just a show because they're basically the same. Yet you also don’t support a third party. I was wondering why that is and what you think we can do to help? Are we broken beyond repair?
JV: Well, first of all, I don’t support the third party movement anymore. And the reason is, this the system that the Democrats and Republicans have created is so corrupt right now that the only way a third party will be able to compete is to corrupt themselves like the Democrats and Republicans have. So, we already have a two-headed monster; why would you want a three-headed one?
I now advocate the abolishment of all political parties. And I have good backing: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and especially John Adams. In fact, John Adams was quoted as saying, “The downfall of America would not come from the outside, it would come from the within when political parties take over the government.” I think we’re there.
CE: As you learn more and more about our government’s involvement with different conspiracies, and just how it’s operating in general, does it make you happy that you are out of it or does it make you want to return and clean some stuff up?
JV: No, it makes me happy I do what I do in exposing them, because I really couldn’t clean anything up. What can I do? Governors and even presidents can’t pass one law. Congress has to and the Legislature. So, unless they do it, you as Governor can’t do nothing. You can only veto. And then of course if they get two-thirds, they can override your veto. But as a governor, you can’t create a law. And as president, you can do certain things by executive order, which has been abused. So, certainly as president, I guess, you can probably be more of a dictator. But not that much.
Look what happened to President Obama. Obama ran on change. He said he’d get us out of Gitmo and he said he’d end the wars. Well, we’re not out of Gitmo and we’re further into the wars. Somebody must have taken him to the woodshed and told him that he doesn’t really run the country. Because that’s my true belief. I think the President’s just a figurehead.
I think I cause more damage doing what I do now.
CE: Exactly. You bring clarity to people who don’t even know where to look. A lot of stuff that you covered last season I wouldn’t have even thought to think that it even existed, let alone know to investigate it.
JV: Well, always remember, you’re not going to learn anything from mainstream media. Mainstream media is controlled today. They are only going to tell you what the government wants you to know. And they are going to put the government’s spin on it. There’s already, I think, a hundred and something CIA agents in mainstream media. They’re the spin.
CE: And your show reaches a broader audience than, say, Alex Jones or Jon Ronson and people like that, so what do you hope the American people are going to take away from it when they do watch your show?
JV: Well, I hope that they will wake up and realize that everything isn’t what it seems to be. And that when they are told something on the nightly news, always question it. Because there are two sides to every story. Probably more than two in some cases. But we only mange to get one side of the story.
Actually, I should go on the record with you also and state that I actually owe mainstream media a thank you. I want to say thank you to mainstream media, because if they were doing their job than me, my production crew and all of us would be out of a job. See, we cover the stuff they won’t touch, so that keeps us working. If they did their job, there would be no place for me to do it.
They can continue to report on which sports athlete cheats on his wife. They can continue to report on the death of Anna Nicole Smith, which they spent a month on and she still comes up occasionally. They can continue to report on the mosque in New York, which the Constitution allows, so that should be the end of the story. You can’t bend the Constitution according to popularity. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are there to protect the unpopular things, not the popular things. Popular things don’t need protection. But yet, we seem to want to bend the Constitution to stop a community center from being built. But mainstream media, isn’t that what they cover?
What you have today with the media, the news media, is entertainment. And you know what the downfall was? The show 60 Minutes, and I’ll tell you why. 60 Minutes is a great show; don’t get me wrong. But up until that point in time, all networks wrote the news-office business laws, and they made up for it in their entertainment department. Then all of a sudden came the show 60 Minutes. And 60 Minutes cracked the top 10 and many times was No. 1. Well, all of a sudden the lights went on with the bean counters and they said, “Wow, you mean we can make money with the news?” And that is what you have now. You have the news creating the news to make money. And that is a dangerous precedent when the media starts to create the news.
CE: What do you personally get out of doing Conspiracy Theory?
JV: First and foremost, I get to work with my son. He’s one of the producers and directors on the show, and I find that very personally fulfilling to watch my son grow up and get better and achieve his success with the business that he loves. It isn’t every father who can work with his son unless he owns the business. So that part of it is great.
The other part of it is that it’s a passion for me now. I have so much distrust of my government today that I feel the only way I can fight them is to expose them. So, I’ve taken it on as more of a life’s mission at this point in my life to expose as much of the government as I possibly can for their fraudulent behavior.
And third of all, I’d be lying if I didn’t say you get paid well too. You know, what the hell? It’s a job. My shows are not documentary; they’re entertainment. Rather than having a scriptwriter, we take people who’ve lived the event, and we turn them into actors acting with me in the show. They don’t need scriptwriters, because all they have to do is tell what they experienced and know.
CE: Plus it’s more entertaining than many documentaries.
JV: I hope so. We try to make it that way, although I have to hold back for TV now and then. Like when they tell me I’m being chased by the Coast Guard. I was not being chased — I told them we were simply under observation. If they were chasing us, they certainly would have caught us. The Coast Guard can catch any fishing boat. That’s their job. So, I have to hold them back every now and then, because some of the producers try to get a little over-creative, and I have to bring them back to reality again occasionally and say: “Look, we have to tell the truth. We can not veer from that.” So, no, I was not being chased by the Coast Guard. I was merely under surveillance by them.