In an article called The Truth About Denial for Newsweek, Sharon Begley reports:
Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.
Draw your own conclusions about the truth or falsehood of global warming. The move to "Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate" as Mulder once put it on the X-Files is what concerns me.
It's not limited to the global warming debate. Of late, and yeah it may make me sound paranoid, I've detected an agenda in seemingly random comments in the Web 2.0 world, on blogs and op-eds, not in the immediate blog circle but in the blogosphere at large.
Never mind the topics. You can probably figure out the issues I follow by a browse through the archives, but specifics are irrelevant.
If it's happening on one issue, it's happening on others. Commenters with a particular point of view seem to converge on blogs, espousing similar ideas, just like a politician with a couple of talking points.
I guess the consistency of a message is the best way to recognize a questionable ripple in the pond.
It all seems a little more murky than whichever bias you believe the media might hold. Media outlets recently fired a lot of reporters when disclosures revealed they had contributed to candidates of any stripe.
Pulling at the ethics thread
Journalism in general has a high code of ethics. Higher than most professions. Lawyers after all are often in the business of constructing believable fiction which becomes real to the blind eyes of justice if the fiction is sold to the party of 12 in the jury box. Junk science doesn't have to hold up to peer review if 12 laymen accept it. (Addendum: Perhaps this is an oversimplification of how the legal system and lawyers work, but my thought is that it's more about selling hypotheses to a jury than dealing with empirical data.)
The blogosphere, however, hasn't developed a similar code for citizen journalists. The perspective of many blogs is obvious, yet there's definitely no code random commenters who might be averge Joes or Jolenes or marketing shills.
We have access to more information than ever, yet the truth is more elusive than ever before.
There are liars, and I think there are more damned liars out there than ever before. What a shame they're littering the information super highway.