Meg Lee Chin

Mainstream news is comparable to press releases coming from head office. Conspiracy theories are like gossip on the shop floor.

The "facts" provided by mainstream news can be rearranged to create a false impression. By highlighting some facts and omitting others, the narrative can be manipulated. Though the isolated facts are correct, the overall picture can be deliberately skewed. This is called propaganda and is used to forward the agenda of those with the power to influence the media outlets.

By contrast conspiracy theories rely on much reading between the lines. These interpretations are subject to the bias of individuals. People tend to project their own personality onto their vision of the world. Therefore it is no surprise that the most prominent and successful conspiracy proponents see the world as being rigidly controlled from the top down. Both Alex Jones are David Icke are control freaks unable to handle criticism. Both have been known to crack outside their own bubble.

But we would be unwise to completely dismiss both the press releases and the shop floor gossip. For although far from absolute beacons of truth, they are nonetheless elements of the bigger picture. There is no smoke without fire and there is usually some truth in everybody's viewpoint.

We the people are blessed with the gift of communication. This allows us a fuller picture of reality from many different viewpoints. So the key is to embrace different viewpoints, keep the conversation open and be able to engage in controversial and honest discussion like adults.