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— updated 2001-04-25

Herbalist Review, Issue 2001 #1: Overcoming the Trickster: media wars of the 21st century

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.

Common techniques of propaganda and disinformation are outlined and explored, counterstrategies recommended.

Subtopics on this page…


Overcoming the Trickster: media wars of the 21st century

After the last issue of Herbalist Review ("Health fads from hell: margarine, canola oil, soy foods, green and black tea"), the RMHI staff debated the reasons that people are so easily fooled by erroneous and deceptive information in advertising, television, newspapers, and magazines, not only regarding health and medical issues, but generally. We decided that the next issue of this newsletter should describe the basic tactics and strategies of disinformation and deception, with the hope that if one recognizes these techniques, these will loosen their grip on one's mind.

The seriousness of the media credibility problem is highlighted by the following pithy quote (of debatable origin, often attributed to John Swinton, a former editor of the New York Times):

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his people for his daily bread. We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

The "New Age" movement, in its attempts to avoid or ignore this web of deceit and negativity, has frequently prevented people from using common sense, logic, and healthy intuition by substituting these necessary human abilities with pseudo-religious flummery under the guise of "right-brained" thinking. (I prefer using both sides of my brain, thank you very much.) Rather than help to make sense of the confusion in the world, the New Age has often provided its victims with no more than an extra layer of gullibility. For example, not all herbs are safe to use just because they are "all-natural" and sold in health food stores. And do you really believe that all the world's problems will simply solve themselves after we magically ascend into the 5th dimension and the bad people go to Never-Never Land? (If so, I have some quality beach-front property in the 5th dimension I'd like to sell you.)

In the spirit of The Art of War, by ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, if one wishes to know the truth, one must first examine one's own weaknesses and shortcomings to discover how these might impede one from discovering the truth and attaining honorable goals. Indians of the North American Plains honored the role of an entity they called the Trickster, whose purpose is to keep us alert and wise, so that we may avoid falling prey to deception, and to force us to overcome our weaknesses if we occasionally succumb to the Trickster's clever deceptions. To do this successfully in the realm of truth-finding, we must know the tactics and strategies of our opponents in the great media wars of the 20th and 21st centuries; then, we must change our own behaviors and strategies so that we are no longer susceptible to these techniques.

Prejudice and associative thinking

The simplest types of animal central nervous systems rely on associative response mechanisms to react to their environment and to choose what to eat and what to avoid. This is the basis of the conditioned response that Russian physiologist Pavlov studied. •[3]• As an example, to create a conditioned response, an animal may be regularly presented with food (unconditioned stimulus), which naturally causes salivation (unconditioned response); a ringing bell (conditioned stimulus) is then consistently paired with the delivery of food. After a while, the animal learns to expect both the food and the ringing bell at the same time, and will react to the ringing bell (conditioned stimulus) by itself, without any food, by salivating (conditioned response).

Salivating whenever a bell rings serves no purpose and may seem absurd, but we must recognize that many situations in nature are well served by such a mechanism. If one is chased by a roaring lion and lives to tell the tale, one will understandably react in fear to similar roaring sounds; moreover, many animal species instinctively react in fear to such sounds and do not require Pavlovian-type stimulus-response conditioning.

Associative reasoning has severe limitations, however. It forms the basis of social prejudice, and develops as follows: people, being naturally cautious of new and strange situations, are more careful around people who speak different languages and are physically different from themselves; if an individual has a negative experience with someone of a different ethnic background, associative reasoning, or generalization, may lead the individual to form prejudices against others of that ethnic background. Advertising producers also take advantage of associative reasoning by inducing male viewers to covet (the economic equivalent of salivation) and eventually buy in response to images of a sports car accompanied by a scantily clad woman seductively eating a bowl of cherries. Both types of associative reactions, ethnic prejudice and reactive buying habits, may transform normal people into dysfunctional, neurotic, and obsessive-compulsive individuals, leading to needless warfare and burdensome credit card debts.

Just as Pavlov's dogs were tricked into salivating to a ringing bell, scientists have developed increasingly efficient ways to manipulate reactive human behavior to serve the demands of their corporate masters. We must learn to use our capacity of reason to rise above the simplistic type of associative thinking and reactive behavior that allows this type of social manipulation to remain profitable.

Social shortcuts for determining the truth

The next level above associative reasoning involves adaptation to persistent and debilitating trickery. After all, it's tiresome to salivate each time the bell rings, for when the real meal arrives, the digestive juices are depleted, the appetite has been replaced by suspicion and anxiety, tension in the epigastrium, and headaches. Welcome to life in the "civilized" world.

To avoid being continual victims of associative, reactive thinking, we must develop some guidelines for deciding when it is important to ferret out the truth ourselves, and when it is OK to relinquish this responsibility to others. If our powers of reasoning are impaired or undeveloped, due to an educational system designed by our corporate masters who require a majority of the population to be easily programmed by associative thinking, most of us use certain shortcuts. The most common is to rely on authority figures in whom we trust: religious leaders, university professors, political leaders. Unfortunately, this leads to the next level of escalation in the information war: corporate infiltration and buyout of religious, academic, and political power. By the late 20th century, the media wars have progressed to a point where almost all these pawns in the game have been compromised or captured by corporate interests, but many people have not yet recognized the magnitude of this strategic shift.

Another shortcut of growing importance is to develop networks of individuals with whom we share interests to help us develop our individual strategies and ideas. As people increasingly recognize that conventional authority figures have been largely compromised and captured by corporate powers, networking has become a popular tool to gather information and ideas, circumventing the hierarchical, bureaucratic structures that are characteristic of institutional authority. Support groups for personal psychological, social, health, and career issues have appeared everywhere, and the Internet now allows people to network at light speed.

Networking has created a need for each of us to develop skills in evaluating the reliability and accuracy of others. Judging integrity and honesty has never been more important, yet even this is not enough, for even the most cautious of us has at some time been guilty of spreading misinformation (unintentional or careless mistakes) and disinformation (intentionally deceptive information) from others. Networking creates quicker access to information, but it also provides the path for misinformation and disinformation to spread and multiply faster than ever.

This newsletter is a form of networking that each of you chooses to receive. How much of what we say do you choose to believe and why? Most of you have never met us, and must make these decisions based solely upon the words on the page and what your fellow networkers think of these words.

Disinformation tactics outlined

We cannot loosen the grip of disinformation upon our minds without first understanding how disinformation tactics work. Simply by recognizing and describing specific instances of these tactics, we deny them their power over us.

The following disinformation tactics are listed in approximate order of escalating aggressiveness and complexity. The rules of engagement are stated from the perspective of the disinformation artist; to best understand one's opponents, it is helpful to imagine jumping inside their minds. For other discussions of disinformation tactics, see refs. 1a-1d.

Ignorance is bliss — "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"

If possible, ignore the issue entirely. Do not give it credibility by even mentioning its existence. Only if a critical portion of the public begins to arrive at the truth must active disinformation be employed.

For example, scientific reports of weather modification technology appeared regularly in academic science journals until the early 1970's, during which period there were scientific debates, Congressional reports, and international treaties restricting its use. However, after this, such publicly available information all but disappeared, and people who commented on this were labeled "conspiracy buffs". Is has only been recently that public discussion of HAARP (High Altitude Auroral Research Project) has made it necessary for public officials to make declarations of ignorance or denial and to use disinformation tactics listed in the remainder of this report.

A variation of this tactic involves creating a news or information source that purports to exhaustively cover all important aspects of a topic, but, in reality, selectively ignores one or more crucial viewpoints. This tactic has been used against retrovirus researcher Peter Duesberg regarding the AIDS/HIV debate. As more people have become aware of his arguments that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, selective silence is no longer adequate to discredit his views, and increasingly aggressive disinformation tactics described below have been employed.

The "how dare you" gambit

If it becomes impossible to ignore the issue, become indignant, focus on side-issues, and accuse your opponents of attacking some sacred cow or politically correct idea. Regardless of evidence or logical arguments offered, deny that your opponents' arguments have any credibility. This tactic works especially well when combined with the "Invoke authority" rule (see below).

Even though double-blind studies of vaccination efficacy in humans have never been done, the official hierarchies of the medical and pharmaceutical industries continue to dismiss the huge volume of scientific research that provides evidence of ineffectiveness and serious side effects for specific vaccines, refusing to even discuss the evidence. Critics of vaccination are accused of endangering the public safety (sacred cow) and of contradicting decades of authoritative medical opinions and tradition.

Invoke authority

Side-step any discussion of the issues, and remind your audience and your opponents of your impeccable credentials. If you represent a government agency or prestigious university, simply claim authoritative knowledge of the subject without offering any justification. If you are lower in the perceived hierarchy, back up your authority with other official-sounding citations, such as legal, academic, or scientific journal references. Fabricate or imply such citations if they don't exist, since few will check them, or select only those citations that support your argument. Use plenty of jargon and technical details you know will be beyond the capacity or training of your audience, and avoid explaining or defining key words and ideas to keep them ignorant. It is the appearance of expertise you must cultivate, not the enlightenment of your audience.

Many medical information websites use this tactic to influence public behavior; medical recommendations are given without any justification other than "we know better, we are the doctors" — no references, scant explanations, and no mention of other opinions or options. Frequent use of vague phrases such as "top scientists agree that..." and "the evidence is overwhelming..." should alert one that the invoke authority gambit has been played. As a particularly egregious example of this, when South African President Thabo Mbeki publicly announced his desire to air the debate between defenders and skeptics of the "HIV causes AIDS" hypothesis, 5000 scientists rushed to sign a declaration saying that HIV does cause AIDS, as if scientific issues were now to be decided not by reasoned debate, but by mob rule and by fiat. •[10a-10b]•

Henry Kissinger was a master at invoking authority. His confident style of speaking, together with his ponderous German accent, employment of polysyllabic vocabulary, and reputation as an eminent Harvard professor provided him the tactical capability of extirpating his critics' strategies with rhetorical finesse, in the interest of preserving the hegemony of Western democratic institutions for the enforcement of genocidal, but utilitarian, policies necessary to maximize international stability and detente. Following Kissinger's rhetorical assaults, his audience would have fallen asleep, comforted by his reassurances that even the most dastardly actions had reasonable, erudite explanations.

Create a straw man, and knock it down

Variation I: Ignore the main points of your critics and exaggerate the weakest aspects of their arguments, magnifying their significance such that these weaknesses seemingly destroy the credibility of all criticisms they have made against you. Hold up the weakest of their weak arguments for public display, and show how masterfully you can demolish them, while avoiding any discussion of your critics' main points.

Variation II: Prepare your audience to expect a logically impossible condition, then express indignance or outrage that the condition has not been met — a technique often seen in political campaigns.

This tactic is easiest to use when technical or scientific subjects or matters of weighty international politics are in debate. The general public often lacks the logical skills or the technical understanding to evaluate each point on its own merit, and, instead, tends to focus on the rhetorical skills of the contenders.

Critics of scientist Peter Duesberg, who has questioned the role of HIV in causing AIDS, often refuse to address his main point that HIV has never been shown to satisfy the basic requirements of Koch's postulates, which have been the standard of proof of infectious disease causation for over a century. Instead, they focus on supposed mistakes and assumptions he makes unrelated to the central issue of Koch's postulates. (See references under "AIDS" in section [7] below.)

Fabricate arguments using pseudo-logic

Create arguments to reinforce your position by false yet plausible chains of logic. Only one step in the chain need be faulty to create the desired illusion. Since public education no longer trains students in formal logic, most citizens are incapable of rational thought, and can be fooled by even the most blatantly flawed logic. Common mistakes include:

  • Confusing statistical correlation with proof of cause-and-effect relationship;
  • "Proof" by analogy;
  • Implicit or unstated assumptions which are invalid or not applicable;
  • Failing to distinguish between a priori and a posteriori probabilities in the application of statistics;
  • Inadequate or excessively vague definition of the class of objects or phenomenon under investigation.

This topic is much too large to discuss here. See the "Reference" section •[6a-6d]• for articles and textbooks on scientific research design and interpretation, and statistics.

One special type of faulty argument appears frequently in nutritional and herbal literature: focusing on the presence (or absence) of one or a few chemical constituents, and then attributing all health effects and pharmacologic actions to these chemicals. For example, much commercial literature promoting the use of canola oil focuses on the omega-3 fatty acid content, yet ignores other potentially harmful constituents. One theory for why Mediterranean-type diets may provide significant health benefits is that these diets are high in olive oil and fish, which together provide a relatively greater amount of omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids. Such a balance results in the body producing relatively greater amount of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids than pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. •[11]• Even if we assume that this theory is correct, it is still a leap of faulty logic to conclude that all foods containing high amounts of omega-3 fats, including canola oil, will be healthy to consume. Foods and herbs consist of thousands of natural chemical compounds, and the total effect on the body is often difficult to predict based on only a few chemical constituents. If this type of reasoning were acceptable, it would lead us to conclude that a daily dose of rubber tires for breakfast would be healthy because they are low in cholesterol, or that pulverized wood chips would be healthy merely because they are high in natural fibre.

Name-calling, ad hominem attacks, guilt by association

Inflame your opponents by ridiculing them, attacking their character and integrity, and accusing them of having hidden agendas and biases. Imply that they are affiliated with other individuals or groups that are politically incorrect ("right-wing", "bleeding-heart liberal", "communist", "anarchist", "conspiracy buffs", "racist", "religious fanatic"). If such associations cannot be uncovered, manufacture them by planting such persons into the target individual's circle of associates. These tactics will force your opponent to go on the defensive and will temporarily deflect from the central issues.

Guilt by association is a powerful media tool, because the overwhelming majority of people are still victims of Pavlovian conditioning from public education, advertising, and television, and will react as programmed by the media and their corporate masters. Since most people are afraid of being associated with anything politically incorrect, even if they agree with the person being attacked, they will be cowed into silence.

Hit-and-run attacks

This tactic works best in public forums, where, as a member of the audience, one can hurl vicious and irrational invective at the speaker and then disappear, avoiding any need to justify one's attack with a rational reply. The speaker will often be thrown off balance emotionally. In our era of glorified "democracy", the ignorant majority often interprets the sheer number of these attacks as a vote of no confidence, and the ugly dynamics of mob violence may overwhelm any ability to debate and reason logically.

Verbal hit-and-run artists and hecklers appeal to the lowest common denominator of the public, who increasingly represent an anti-intellectual element of our society. These hit-and-run agents, having been deceived for too long by manipulative authority figures (see "Invoke authority" rule above), may feel that they are being anti-authoritarian, but in reality, are only playing into the hands of their puppet-masters who manipulate them like pawns in a chess game.

Journalists have increasingly adopted these tactics in public forums, leading public figures, especially politicians, to limit their speeches to nebulous sound bites and politically correct platitudes, as anything of substance will invite noisy debate and verbal hit-and-run attacks.

Internet forums and public newsgroups are also prone to hit-and-run attacks, facilitated by the anonymity that the Internet provides. As a consequence, many of the most useful and informative Internet forums have evolved to limit their membership to individuals approved by the group or by the sponsors, providing for expulsion if a member engages in hit-and-run behavior or "flaming". However, this trend has not solved the problem entirely, as it has led, instead, to a compartmentalization of interest groups, each of which decides which ideas are politically correct within its domain, and which ideas are subject to open season for ridicule and hit-and-run attacks by members.

Crank up the rumor mill to create complexity, enigmas

Create an atmosphere of rumor-mongering. Assign your agents, who will pretend to be sympathetic to the opposition group, to generate unfounded rumors so that you can criticize their lack of credibility. Embellish the plain truth with exaggeration and a few well chosen lies; later, expose these embellishments as lies to discredit the original truth by association.

If certain facts are in danger of being publicly revealed, the media powers may arrange for doctored variations of the facts to appear first in supermarket tabloids and other disreputable sources, surrounded by outrageous and preposterous lies. College-educated people have been well trained to reflexively reject such information, which will have been permanently tainted by its sleazy debut. "Oh, so you read it in the National Kibitzer? And was it on the same page as the article about the imminent alien invasion from Andromeda?" (Smirk, smirk. We college graduates know that only the credulous masses believe such nonsense.) With the advent of the Internet, another variation would be: "Oh, so you read it on the Internet did you? We know how reliable that is, don't we? Did you find it on the Scuzzoids Konspiracy website?"

Another common example of this tactic is to create so many differing versions and variations of the alleged facts that most people will give up trying to sift through the mountains of alleged facts and disinformation. The only people with sufficient dedication and persistence to pursue the truth will become known as fanatics. Classic 20th century examples of this tactic include studies of the JFK assassination and the UFO phenomenon. As a testament to the effectiveness of disinformation by rumor mill, one can no longer even say the words "UFO" or "JFK assassination" without eliciting smug and knowing looks among middle-class, college-indoctrinated robotoids.

Establish fall-back positions

To protect important secrets from the public, establish multiple layers of plausible fall-back positions. If superficial facts are exposed, have plausible but relatively simple stories to explain these. If deeper secrets are exposed, have progressively more detailed fall-back scenarios ready to "confess" to the public, based on "discoveries" of "oversights and misunderstandings". Such "confessions" may add to one's public credibility, as the public always enjoys well-enacted displays of penitence and remorse for one's mistakes, especially if accompanied by piety, somber tears, and a display of the American flag in the background.

Revelations of horrific medical experiments on U.S. citizens by universities and military research departments following World War II were accompanied by solemn declarations that such atrocities were merely due to lack of stringent regulatory controls, and that efforts would be made thereafter to enforce informed consent rules in medical experimentation. In reality, there is much evidence that such research continues to this day, only under greater secrecy. •[4a-4j]• One must remember to apply all the rules of disinformation to these references, as the truth rarely pops out so cleanly or easily.

Betrayal by trusted source

Establish a reliable source of daily news that can occasionally be used to propagate strategically important lies (usually those lies that help maintain billion-dollar corporate profit streams). People inevitably use shortcuts to determine their own truths, and after having decided that a source is reliable after an initial evaluation period, will be less likely to question its authority.

This tactic is common, though it requires a massive investment in time and resources; once a source has been used as a conduit for too many falsehoods and disinformation campaigns, it loses its credibility. In this event, the organizational resources may be dismantled and reorganized under a new name and venue.

Upon experiencing multiple and continual betrayals by trusted news and information sources, citizens usually choose one of two options:

  1. The majority gives up trying to figure out the truth and retreats into mindless diversions (sitcoms, soap operas, game shows, gambling, TV football, etc.), dismissing the quest for truth as the ravings of conspiracy fanatics; OR
  2. A small minority becomes motivated by annoyance and frustration to pursue the truth with great tenacity.

Which category describes you?

Disinformation artists use a variation of the betrayal-by-trusted-source tactic when they deceptively mimic the religious, political, or ethnic biases and beliefs of others to gain their trust. Salesmen have become notorious for gaining entry into people's homes by claiming to have been referred by a minister or priest of the victim's church. Neurolinguistic programmers refer to this tactic as pacing and leading: agree with the other person's beliefs and match their mannerisms until he or she becomes comfortable and trusting, then gradually lead that person to the desired goal (buying something, believing a new idea, etc.).

Most of us remember times that we fell for this tactic, when people we assumed were our allies pretended to agree with our biases and beliefs, hoping to gain some advantage from us.

Lie blatantly, and make it convincing

If your back is to the wall, hire underlings to do your public lying for you, and then have them fired if the public discovers the lies. Politicians have mastered this technique and have developed a system of code words, winks, and nods, to give their underlings the signal to initiate this tactic. This method is inelegant and clumsy, to be used only in desperation.

Blatant lies are difficult to maintain with consistency, because such lies demand a separate world be created around them to give them life and substance. The preceding disinformation tactics are preferable because they are based on subtleties, half-truths, and ideas that easily take root in the minds of people who lack skills in reasoning.

Miscellaneous methods

Under this category are tactics that are violent and illegal. I'm sure you can fill in the details from here. For example, have you noticed the extraordinary number of people associated with the Clinton administration who have met with "accidents" or "suicides"? •[9a, 9b]•

Those who know the story of Wilhelm Reich will understand the depths of corruption to which power will sink. •[8a, 8b]•

General strategy for neutralizing the emotional charge of a disinformation attack

Eventually, anyone who is actively seeking the truth, whether on Internet discussions, public forums, or newsgroups, will experience attacks by disinformation artists. The best method for neutralizing the emotional charge of such an attack is to briefly but explicitly describe to the audience the tactic being used by one's attacker, and then to continue presenting the original point, relying on the audience's desire to learn the truth.

For example, if one is attacked by a critic who is attempting to create a straw man (exaggerating one's weakest points to knock them down):

"My esteemed critic is attempting to focus on some of the more minor aspects of my argument, while ignoring my major points. I do not claim perfection, and welcome any suggestions for improvement. However, in the interest of understanding the most important issues at stake here, I'd like to return to the main points I was making before we digressed."

Then quickly get back to your topic; otherwise you have allowed your opponent to siphon off psychological energy from you.

In dealing with ad hominem attacks:

"Person X is attempting to distract us from the topic by making personal attacks on my character that have little to do with the logical argument I was making."

Then continue on point as if no interruption had occurred. If the attack is so outrageous that others are likely to see through the ploy, it may be OK to simply ignore it without saying anything.

Common-sense guidelines for determining the truth in social contexts

Now that we are prepared with a knowledge of disinformation tactics, it might be tempting to become a professional paranoid, avoiding all social contact, stopping all magazine subscriptions, and throwing out the TV set. Hey, lighten up, or all those New Agers will accuse you of harboring a vortex of negative energies!

Since the arrival of the Internet, I've benefited greatly in my own search for answers. Only 5 years ago, even minor research projects would require me to travel to the nearest university town to comb the card catalogs, race up and down library stairwells, track down missing books, order materials from other libraries, and scan through hundreds of pages under glaring fluorescent lights. Now I can access orders of magnitude more information and disinformation without ever leaving my desk. Life as a professional sleuth of obscure health information has never been more exciting! There are so many puzzles and enigmas to choose from. The presence of disinformation only makes the search more challenging.

Now that we've explored the tactics of disinformation, I'd like to leave you with a few common-sense guidelines for recognizing the truth. There is nothing mysterious about these guidelines. Most of us use them, but perhaps not often enough. These guidelines are listed in order of increasing difficulty and complexity; the first few rules are so simple that we should make them daily habits.

In deciding whether to believe the source of an alleged fact or idea, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

(1) If speaking with the information source in person, does the source have the body language of someone who speaks the truth?

Eye movements, facial expressions, nervous twitching, postural shifting, and other such cues are commonly used by professional investigators and psychologists. Most people have some instinct for this and can develop this skill with practice.

(2) Does your "gut reaction" tell you anything?

Our central nervous systems process much information subconsciously, and the hypothalamus and autonomic nervous system manifest the results as sensations in our chest and abdomen coupled with changes in emotional state. •[7]•

Listen to your instincts. They are not the final word, but should be used as a crude "hot-cold" indicator. A sudden sense of queasiness in the epigastrial region should be taken as a warning sign to investigate the matter further.

(3) Has the source given you other information that you have independently determined to be accurate in the past, or has the source relayed misinformation? Has the source demonstrated good skills of observation, freedom from biases, etc.?

Too many people will pass on information that they assume is correct merely because they saw it in print or on television. Fortunately, more people are figuring this one out. Scientific journals have a greater aura of prestige than television, but are just as subject to error and deception; however, to maintain their prestige, the errors must be more sophisticated and stylish than those allowed on television.

Also, be careful of the betrayal-by-trusted-source tactic, especially regarding commercial news and information sources.

(4) Does the source have both the life experience and the academic background to evaluate the topic?

I've seen many an academic miss the boat because of a lack of personal experience; relying solely on book knowledge is often dangerous. Murphy's Law (if something can go wrong, it will) seems to strike egghead academics lacking practical experience with great frequency. Witness the inability of professional economists to predict trends better than a random-number generator.

(5) Does the source have a motive or vested interest in stating his alleged facts or ideas?

If a source stands to gain financially or otherwise by making a statement or claim, this would obviously cloud his or her objectivity and ethics, and should weigh heavily in our judgment of truthfulness. Certainly, considering such motives, we should not accept the statement without further investigation using other sources. Drug companies that fund researchers to prove drug safety are committing an obvious conflict of interest, and such conflicts should be stated in any published research reports; this problem has recently been acknowledged as both serious and widespread. •[5a-5d]•

(6) Is the alleged fact or idea consistent with other facts you know or believe to be true, and do all the relevant facts fit together logically?

Criminal investigators rely heavily on inconsistencies in people's stories. The most difficult aspect of fabricating stories or evidence is attempting to ensure that all the details match up with reality. If any inconsistency can be discovered, it may lead to other inconsistencies, and the fabricated story will unravel like a ball of string. In contrast, the solidity of a true idea will become evident the more it is probed.

Inconsistencies are just as important in scientific investigation and research. Plausible theories and explanations must account for all the true and accurately obtained data, not just the data that conveniently supports one's pet theory.

(7) Are official news reports consistent with eye-witness reports of reliable friends and associates?

If official news and media reports do conflict with eye-witness reports or personal experiences of your friends, then you have uncovered an obvious inconsistency. I've noted an ever increasing divergence between the collective wisdom of my friends and professional colleagues and the official media sources. After decades of reading Pravda, Russians became skeptical and cynical, routinely reading between the lines of official propaganda. It is time for Americans to learn how to cope with this problem.

Worthy topics on which to practice your skills

Following is a list of topics that will exercise your skills in filtering out misinformation and disinformation. I do not vouch for the accuracy, truthfulness, or motives of any of the references listed under each topic, though much useful information may be gathered from these sources. Many of the listed references are from the Jeff Rense website (sightings.com), Nexus Magazine (nexusmagazine.com), and Leading Edge (trufax.org), all sources of health news items rarely covered elsewhere. For each topic I've attempted to select a range of viewpoints, and certain references contain blatant examples of disinformation. However, I'm not going to spoil the hunt for you. That's your job now.

Each problem below affects the health of millions of people, and billions of dollars in corporate profits are at stake, regardless of your viewpoints. With such high stakes, you can expect to find numerous examples of sophisticated disinformation tactics.

Gulf War syndrome:

Persian Gulf War Syndrome

   —{{  http://www.chronicillnet.org/PGWS/  }}

Gulf War Syndrome

   —{{  http://www.biofact.com/gulf/  }}

Gulf War Syndrome (lecture by Captain Joyce Riley)

   —{{  http://www.all-natural.com/riley.html  }}

Conference examines Gulf War Syndrome: Eight years after war ended, search for answers continues

   —{{  http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9903/01/gulf.syndrome.01/  }}

Gulf War Veteran Resource Page

   —{{  http://www.gulfweb.org/  }}

US Army Mycoplasma Fermentans Incognitus Patent - Read It And Weep

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general7/wps.htm  }}

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general7/mycro.htm  }}

Mycoplasma Information Package

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general7/microplasm.htm  }}

AIDS:

Scientific Research On The Intentional Creation Of The AIDS Virus

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general8/aidscc.htm  }}

Duesberg on AIDS

   —{{  http://www.duesberg.com/  }}

The Galileo Effect: The Struggle for Truth in Science

   —{{  http://users.erols.com/csoon/aids.html  }}

The HIV-AIDS Debate Is Over: What to tell your patients when they ask if HIV causes AIDS

   —{{  http://www.hivnewsline.com/issues/Vol3Issue1/editorial.html  }}

Focus on: The HIV-AIDS Connection

   —{{  http://www.niaid.nih.gov/spotlight/hiv00/default.htm  }}

Does HIV cause AIDS?

   —{{  http://pages.prodigy.net/johnhunter2/hivaids.htm  }}

AIDS and the Duesberg Phenomenon: A Problem-Based Learning Case Study

   —{{  http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/cases/aids.htm  }}

AIDS/HIV: What's wrong with the traditional 'HIV/AIDS' theory?

   —{{  http://www2.prestel.co.uk/littleton/aids_hiv_fraud.htm  }}

The Yin and Yang of HIV

   —{{  http://www.nexusmagazine.com//HIVnotAIDS1.html  }}

Mad-cow syndrome:

The Official Mad Cow Disease Home Page

   —{{  http://www.mad-cow.org/  }}

Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

   —{{  http://www.purefood.org/meatlink.html  }}

Mad Cow Disease — The Chemical Industry Plays Dirty

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general7/MCDchemical.htm  }}

Monsanto's GM Soy Beans Big Winner In Mad Cow Crisis

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general8/madcss.htm  }}

Could Organophosphate Insecticides Play A Role In Madcow Disease?

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general7/disea.htm  }}

Did An Insecticide Trigger Mad Cow/BSE In UK?

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general6/bse.htm  }}

Spiroplasmas As The Cause Of CJD

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general6/spiro.htm  }}

The Safety Of Gelatin, Its Production, and Mad Cow/vCJD Prion Theory

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general5/theory.htm  }}

No Mad Cow In Sweden Yet — Swedes Proud Of 'Sane' Beef

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general5/sanebeef.htm  }}

Chemtrails:

Prototype Flu Vaccines And Chemtrail Agents Major Threat To Health

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general6/prototype.htm  }}

Chemtrails — Barium Indentification Further Confirmed

   —{{  http://www.sightings.com/general5/chembarium.htm  }}

Chemtrails Crimes and Cover Up Documented

   —{{  http://www.carnicom.com/contrails.htm  }}

Chemtrails Data Page

   —{{  http://www.rense.com/politics6/chemdatapage.html  }}

New Mexicans for Science and Reason: Chemtrail Fears Thrive on Internet

   —{{  http://www.nmsr.org/chemtrls.htm  }}


References

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