One of the most interesting and creative justifications in the alternative vision of reality proposed by conspiracy theorists, both regarding the Moon landings and other historical events, is the so-called whistleblower theory.
Sooner or later the conspiracy theorist has to deal with the fact that there are, paradoxically, just too many apparently revealing mistakes in his reconstruction of the events. If this was supposed to be a colossal deception, organized by the highest levels of government, with access to vast funding and resources and top experts in fakery, and if the nation’s reputation was at stake, why is the resulting conspiracy riddled with blatant blunders and amateurish mistakes?
A typical answer to this conundrum is to explain away the missing stars and fluttering flags by arguing that these flubs were left in intentionally by the perpetrators of the conspiracy. They were ashamed of the deception into which they had been forced and so they tried to warn people through these mistakes. Astute observers and true free thinkers would detect these coded messages and reveal the truth to the world.
The logical flaw of this explanation is that it uses a totally unproven conspiracy theory to prop up another conspiracy theory and it implies that the organizers of the fakery were so dumb that they didn’t notice the telltale mistakes that had been left in by the whistleblowers. It is rather difficult to believe that nobody along the chain of command of the conspiracy would notice, for example, a letter “C” left conspicuously on a rock or the crosshairs drawn behind objects.
This conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy theory also entails assuming that all the experts in the science fields touched by the Apollo missions are blind and incompetent: today’s astronauts, aerospace engineers, astronomers, including those of countries that don’t exactly hold the United States in high regard, would all have to be so dumb that they fail systematically to notice the alleged intentional errors that conspiracy enthusiasts, despite knowing little or nothing about spaceflight or astronomy, claim to find so easily.
Unfortunately, the kind of person who is convinced that he or she is the only one who has the insight and the intelligence to grasp the truth that is hidden to others usually is unable to abandon this pathological world view and will resort often to an ever-expanding web of conspiracies to hold on to that view. In such cases, arguing over details is pointless: the problem is not in the Moon landings, but in the denialist’s overall mindset.