reply to post by MajorDisaster
Whether or not he sells products is not a positive indicator that he's lying, nor is it an indicator of the truth when someone provides information
or material for free. What selling products does do, however, is introduce the taint of bias into his rhetoric - because it provides an incentive for
increased audience. How does one increase their audience? Well, there's basically two ways. You can be accurate and responsible in your reporting, in
which case people will turn to you as a trusted source. This can be quite time consuming and expensive as you generally need correspondents in the
field working multiple angles for contrast and context, research teams doing fact checking, taking time out of your program to offer retractions or
Or you could do it the cheap way. Cater to a specific audience type, give only one side of the story, fudge the facts, and inject boisterous personal
opinion in place of thorough and objective research. Finish it off with the "attention grabber" of your choice - sex, celebrity, or imminent
personal harm - insinuating that something horrible will happen to you if you're not listening to the latest updates (to name a few).
In this regard, I see no difference between Alex Jones and Bill O'Reilly.
Now we have to ask... how is this incentive fullfilled? Who signs the paycheck? For political pundits on TV, it's the advertisers. So whatever they
have to report must be within their advertisers discretion in mind. Otherwise, they may loose that revenue if they pull from the network/television
block. In Alex Jones's case - YOU (whoever watches/listens) sign his paycheck by buying materials from him or through his retail outlet. He's not
going to give you the truth, only what you want to hear. While his theatrics, fear mongering rhetoric, and poor research will ensure his listener base
remains niche, it's a surer bet for an independent operation than competing against the major media outlets. Further, as stated above - he knows a
substantial portion of his listeners will not thoroughly research the stories, or will merely contrast his reports against similarly bias and
speculative sources. As PT Barnum used to say, "There's a sucker born every minute". I made the ringmaster analogy earlier, and I still contend it
is accurate. He is a PT Barnum character putting on a show for you, and you... you're his sucker.
To my mind, I feel the best indicator of whether or not a source is trustworthy initially is their willingness to cover all angles of a story
neutrally, wherein the reporters coax discussion to wider ranges of concerns and topics - rather than narrowly injecting personal opinion, show no
concern for logical fallacy, or display a willingness to affix or deflect blame without all due consideration to the evidence and events. When you
find a few of these sites, contrast their stories against each other to look for similarities and differences. Then seek out news sources which
portray contrary views or opinions on the matter. It's a bit of legwork, yes, but well worth it if you really care about the truth of the matter.
It's interesting to note that generally, those who get their news and information online are generally equally (or even less) well informed or hold
more misconceptions that those who simply watch mainstream media... because people tend to gravitate to those news sources and blogs which cater to
their pre-existing political/moral/ideological worldviews. Even when and event or a revelation causes one to shift their worldview, they will
immediately gravitate to their new source of "trusted" information.
"If you want truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease." ~
This doesn't mean you can't hold your own opinions or views on a matter, stuck forever in moral or ideological agnosticism. It mean that before
choosing which side you take in an argument - step outside of the argument to survey all angles, evidence, opinions, and perspectives that are
applicable... then use that new insight to reassess your original position.
Alex Jones personifies entrenchment into fixed and inmalleable trenches on one side of the struggle between "For" and "Against". While I will
occasionally listen to him to gain his perspective, nothing he has said has thus far shown me that he gives the slightest damn about the truth.