Occasionally, we get phone calls in the newsroom from people whose grasp on reality has slipped. Today was one of those days.
I’m not going to go into details, other than to say the call involved a person who honestly believed in [chemtrails](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemtrail_conspiracy_theory) and [HARP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Frequency_Active_Auroral_Research_Program) controlling the weather.
How you handle the calls, of course, depends on the kind of person you are. Some people will blatantly tell the caller that they think he or she is off the rails. Others, like me, prefer to listen as much as possible — without letting the caller go on for an hour.
I try to respond to them as genuinely as I can, even if I think their theories are crazy. I have done this on numerous chemtrail calls, calls alleging conspiracies at the highest levels of government, sasquatch calls and even supervolcano calls.
From time to time, this means my coworkers hear me say things that they feel are hilarious in a deadpan while on the phone.
> “What would we need to do an article on chemtrails? Well if you know someone who has been personally involved in loading chemicals onto an airplane for aerial dispersal and who is willing to talk, that would be a good start.”
> “Isn’t that supposed to be in Alaska? That’s a bit out of our coverage area. Unless there’s a HARP installation in the tri-county area, we’re probably not interested.”
Today, I gave this caller my email address and asked the person to forward information to me, including any peer-reviewed scientific studies denoting the existence and harmful effects of chemtrails.
I’m not being disingenuous to these people. If they can honestly provide me verifiable evidence of their theories, I’ll be the first to volunteer to do the story and accept the Pulizer for it.
Until such proof surfaces, however, call me skeptical.