I'm reminded of the Wizard of Oz here: "lions, tigers, and bears...oh my!" Only our mantra here might be, "Whistleblowers, insiders, and sources, oh my!" Why do I say this?
Well, I don't know if you've noticed or not, but there seems to be a wholesale meltdown going on in the alternative media/research community, or at least, in some segments of it. But before we get to all that, first, a loose working definition. By alternative media/research community, I mean that community that deals in everything from the JFK assassination, 9/11 truthers, conspiracy theory, paranormal phenomena, UFOs, to social and economic critiques of the current political regimes ... the whole gamut.
Now let's get to the phenomenon itself. Most of us in this community take it for granted that we are being "gamed," that our perceptions are being managed by the lamestream media, our political leaders, corporate finance gurus, and so on. We're all familiar with the fact that in the 1950s the CIA and various other agencies infiltrated the major media organs in order to exercise quiet veto power and editorial influence. And some of us are even familiar with similar tactics being applied to UFOlogy, yet, we stop short of thinking maybe the same thing might be going on in the alternative media/research community as a whole.
Enter the "whistleblowers, insiders, and sources...oh my!" I have, on at least three separate occasions, been offered "inside information" and a special "track", and on two of those occasions I can honestly say an attempt was being made to "recruit" me, by whom, and for what, I do not know, but I can guess: it is easy to disseminate those directed history narratives and memes into a community through already-established outlets.
The result is a phenomenon well-known to students of early church history and theology, and the phenomenon of Gnosticism: the result is cognitive dissonance. Once one comes to rely upon whistleblowers, insiders, and secret anonymous sources or "special contacts" and what-have-you, then it becomes a case of this scenario-and-guru-of-the-week (my thanks to a friend for that beautiful and very apt expression), versus that scenario-and-guru-of-the-week, as I commented on a recent Byte Show Interview.
The effect of this approach, and the effectiveness of this type of perception management, is twofold: for those media organs reliant upon it, it means inevitably the introduction of a constant questioning of any and all people - and information - coming from outside one's own narrow little sub-culture within the wider field. A kind of unending mental dialogue within the mind is induced, the end result of which is a kind of paranoia, as any good psychologist could tell you. And there's another difficulty here.
Certainly reliance upon whistleblowers, insiders, and sources, has its place in journalism. After all, where would Woodward and Bernstein have been without it? But there is a difference between using such testimony, and relying upon it, as so many in this "community" do, particularly some media outlets. When on relies upon it or gives such exclusive attention to it, it can, in my opinion, lead to a kind of cowardice: the outlet never has to backtrack or admit, that in pushing certain sources and whistleblowers and their stories, they might be wrong: "We just report, it's source X's mistake." Research, conversely, is fraught with that danger, and indeed, one accepts, and claims, the academic right to be wrong, for in all probability, with time, and more data, one will indeed be found to be wrong to some degree, or even totally.
At the second level, for those following the various divas and their various sources, whistleblowers, and insiders, and the endless stories they tell, the conflicts and contradictions between the various narratives induces yet more cognitive dissonance, not only within an individual mind, but within the community. The psychological state thus induced, if one is not aware of it, is very subtle, for the narrative has subtly changed, from is this true? to which outlet and source do we trust? and ultimately, of course, the goal is to not trust anyone. And when there's no trust in any scenario or interpretation, there is no concensus, and when there is no consensus, there is no meaningful collective action.
Time alone will tell if we are witnessing the much-needed house-cleaning within this field, between research, and whistleblowing and insider-sourcing. Hopefully, I'll be able to flesh out the techniques of this game in volume two of Apocalypse Theater, but in the meantime, for my own part, I continue to be wary of whistleblowers, insiders, and sources.... oh my!
See you on the flip side.