Another tired journalistic/punditocracy cliche, Gary Sick’s “October Surprise” theory is total crap, but no one cares:
One might have expected these findings to be a devastating blow to Sick. Prior to the release of the task force report (but after reportedly accepting $300,000 for the movie rights to October Surprise), Sick himself told Entertainment Weekly, “I’ve really put my professional career on the line with this book.”
Others of lesser notability who took the leap certainly suffered professional consequences. (…)
In contrast, Sick’s career has flourished…
Indeed, while most of those who rallied behind Sick have stopped trumpeting his claims, few have been willing to fully disavow them. Asked in an interview in 2011 whether he still believes the October Surprise allegations, Jimmy Carter replied, “I don’t know the facts … I’ve read Gary Sick’s book and talked to him. I don’t really know.” While acknowledging that Sick’s specific allegations were proven false, political historian Kevin Phillips has, nevertheless, written that the Reagan campaign “probably” cut a deal to delay the release of the hostages.
Historians Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley have even gone a step further by taking this conspiracy theory for granted.