Manufactroversy

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A manufactroversy[1] is a manufactured controversy.

A manufactroversy can be a form of denialism: pretending that a controversy exists over something which is, in fact, not in debate by anyone who has the slightest grasp of the facts, but which a number of people wish to deny for religious, political, or other reasons. The usual motive for this is to attempt to give the appearance that the facts are still up for debate, a la anti-environmentalism. Another kind is the manufactured "scandal": blowing a non-issue out of proportion.

Often related to the "tell both sides" method of reporting, where only one side has any evidence, so the reporter searches out a crank just so they can tell another side.

This concept is also illustrated through what one editor would describe as "fill-in-the-blank outrage" by Christian fundamentalists in the United States. Examples of this include fundie leaders suddenly declaring things as diverse as environmentalism, feminism, gay rights, universal health care, etc. to be threats to Christianity, unscriptural, unholy, or some other version of "wahhh" when there is no indication that Christians as a whole considered these things threatening over the nearly 2000 years of the religion's existence. Until just now, of course.[2]

The term "swiftboating" is often used in American media due to the bullshit smear campaign against John Kerry launched by the organization "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."[3]

Contents

[edit] Common examples

[edit] Most damaging

[edit] Half-assed stunts

To take the first three examples, in order: evolution (together with common descent) is one of the best-tested and most successful scientific theories. There is no evidence that vaccines cause autism[5] or any other harm, and overwhelming evidence that they save lives. Global warming is happening and can be measured, and the cause has consistently been proven to be human. However, how to mitigate it remains up for debate; interestingly, denialists tend to ignore this part.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Ceccarelli, Leah. "Manufactroversy, The Art of Creating Controversy Where None Existed", Science Progress. Spring/Summer 2008: 82-84.
  2. Were one cynical, one might posit that these fundies are being manipulated by their leaders and by political opportunists in order to further ideological goals or to sucker money out of the masses. But when has that ever been an issue?
  3. Swiftboating, Taegan Goddard's Political Dictionary
  4. Some examples
  5. The only scientific paper ever to be published to this effect was of very low quality and has since been retracted. Its author has been "struck off," i.e. prohibited from practising medicine.
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