As anyone who has spent any time on ATS will know, that is not an accurate portrayal. To begin with, it uses the word "article" to refer to posts by
members – thereby insinuating that ATS itself is behind the stories referenced, without actually lying.
ATS is a bulletin board style forum. We all know that. And when we see a post about the FBI watching us through the walls, we know that we're taking
it on the word of the poster, that it's not reflective of Official ATS Belief in any way.
Unlike the situation with a tabloid newspaper, incidentally
As to the second question – can and should anything be done to improve the image of ATS in media sources like this – it's something I've been
interested in almost since I joined.
Not because I think we should do anything to change, but because I've become aware of a trend – not only in tabloids, but in main stream sources
like the NYTimes and in academic journals – in discussing online conspiracy sites in general.
I think that the popularity of ATS and of other "alternative viewpoint" information sources has become a threat to the mainstream, that they are
working to define and contain "conspiracy theory" in a new way.
I've said this in other threads, but I think it's worth repeating here: the stereotype of the conspiracy theorist until recently was a benign
eccentric puttering away in his basement with his tin helmet. Odd, but harmless. Maybe even kind of endearing in a way.
What are they trying to sell us now? Psychology journals are wrestling with the paradox that if enough people believe in alien abduction and mind
control, they can no longer label these beliefs as psychologic disorders. Their own definitions would have to change, and they would risk being at
odds with religion – because how can a supposedly objective field of study label hearing aliens in your head as sick but hearing a man/god who's
been dead for 2000 years in your head as healthy?
Mainstream news sources are playing up the "schizophrenic" angle. And now a tabloid is urging its readers to be concerned about a favorite
Being a conspiracy theorist, they're trying to tell us, is no longer a harmless eccentricity – it's a sign of Paranoid Schizophrenia, and perhaps
of Being Taken Advantage Of by unscrupulous internet sites.
I don't think we should change, but I do think we should be aware of the spin control going on, and how it's evolving.