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Originally posted by hotpinkurinalmint
I have noticed that many conspiracy theorists have a knee-jerk distrust of anything that appears in the mainstream media, government reports, and other sources many outside of conspiracy circles would consider highly credible. At the same time, they seem to be willing to openly embrace any piece of information that is put out there by any Tom, Dick, or Harry with a website and a matching world view.
Does this hamper debate between conspiracy theorists and the rest of the world? How can any meaningful debate occur if the debaters are unable to agree on certain factual premises?
I am not saying that any source is always going to be 100% accurate and unbiased. The most reputable newspapers run retractions and have editorial biases. Scientists who publish articles in peer reviewed journals have been known to falsify data. People make honest mistakes when trying to tabulate a figure, especially when they are not working with good data. This does not mean, however, that we should automatically disregard every fact, as opposed to opinion or conclusion, that appears in mainstream media. Perhaps conspiracy theorist would be better suited by attacking conclusions and opinions drawn from facts rather than calling people liars.
To give an example, let us say mainstream media outlets parrot a recent study in a reputable scientific journal that a particular blockbuster drug is "safe." The study was funded by the makers of the drug. If one reads the articles, they may read that the study looked at 2000 men who took the drug and found no increase in the rate of prostate cancer compared with 2000 similar men.
Is is perfectly logical to question the conclusion in the headline that the drug is safe. We may even question the bias of the study or the methodology of the study. Just because the drug does not cause prostate cancer in men it does not mean it can cause other illnesses or affect woman.
It would, however, be counterproductive to throw our hands up and say the whole study is a hoax because some guy in Ohio said on his website the drug gave him prostate cancer. It would be more productive for conspiracy theorists to state that the particular study found no increase in prostate cancer, but that does not mean the drug does not cause other illnesses or could cause prostate cancer in conditions not examined by the study.