Here's a quick case study on how bullshit is born into the world. First, remember that when we're browsing the news each morning to make sure our favorite athlete hasn't gone to jail yet, most of us only read the headlines, or maybe give the actual story a quick skim. You didn't need a study to tell you that, you do it yourself. So if somebody's goal is to push a bullshit agenda, all they need is a headline.
For instance, search Google News for "fluoride" and you'll find a shocking article showing that, holy shit, fluoride lowers your IQ! The stuff in your toothpaste! The stuff cities put in drinking water!
Wow, this is the story of the year! And it explains so much! This is why everyone is stupid these days, and why actors have such beautiful teeth but are also such dipshits! It's even on the front page of Reddit:
And you know it's true, look at the source! It came from world-class news agency Reuters, reporting on a Harvard study. No need to click that shit to see what it actually says! Ah, let's try anyway. Yep, that's Reuters news agency all right:
Wait a second ... what's that tiny print below the headline?
So it's not a news story. Reuters apparently has a section of their news website where instead of publishing news, they publish unedited press releases from whoever writes them, and then anyone else in the world is able to quote the headline and say it's "from Reuters." So I could send them a press release saying I have the world's biggest dick and wait for them to post it on their site, then my friends and I can turn around and cite Reuters as the source. "Hey, don't take my word for it, ladies! It came from Reuters! Here it is on their site!" Anyway, the headline claims:
Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ
Simple, unambiguous and damning. But then in the story itself, the first thing we see is a quote from the study that is way, way, way less definite than the headline:
"Our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment."
So now it's the "possibility."
Then they say:
"The children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ than those who lived in low fluoride areas," write Choi et al.
Whoa! OK, now, which areas? Like, is Milwaukee worse than Dallas? Well, let's follow the link in the press release to the study and then the additional details of the study. In some tiny print you'll find they're talking about China and India, and they are not motherfucking talking about fluoride in toothpaste or stuff being added to drinking water. In those countries, their water supply is contaminated with mega-doses of fluoride that seeps into wells from the soil. They're getting toxic levels up to 20 times higher than what you get in your drinking water.
The fact that fluoride -- and lots of other things you consume every day -- is dangerous in toxic mega-doses is not news. Well, shit, who would submit such a misleading press release, knowing that its alarmist headline would get spread from blog to blog, and from one news portal site to another? It actually says in the press release ...
Ah. The Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. This whole thing is part of the bullshit anti-fluoride conspiracy theory that goes all the way back to nutjobs who thought water fluoridation was a communist mind-control plot.
And it works, because again, they know you'll just read the headline and then quote it as an interesting fact around the water cooler tomorrow. Bullshit achieved!