How Easy it Is to Reinforce People's Conspiracy Paranoia

Over the weekend, I deleted a comment left by a 9/11 Truther.

It was typical of the genre: AlterNet is covering up the real crimes of 9/11 because we get a portion of our funding from liberal foundations, and liberal foundations are obviously natural supporters of a fascist coup attempt by Dick Cheney. So while we -- like the folks at The Nation and Democracy, Now! -- have the incontrovertible evidence that could wrap up this whole 9/11 controversy tucked away in a file-cabinet, we simply refuse to publish it (we don't want to rock the boat!).

Of course, that reader will now think that he or she is being "censored" by AlterNet because we have some terrible fear of this damning truth being revealed (the fact that I am myself repeating it on our blog is neither here nor there -- that's limited hang-out). He or she might even write a lengthy blog post about the injustice of it all. And the whole thing will only reinforce his or her self-image as an intrepid truth-seeker persevering against a murky but massively powerful machine that exists solely to obscure the real story behinds the events of that terrible day.

But here's the thing, and I swear this is just the plain, boring truth. It was the most benign, inoffensive comment in the world. In fact, it was exactly the same as thousands of others that have appeared, and remained, on this site over the years.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.