If you are going to hold a position–say, for example, on whether or not Assad used sarin gas on civilians last April–you should be able to cogently defend it. Reference to a higher power like John Pilger, Tariq Ali, Patrick Cockburn, Seymour Hersh, or “a senior adviser to the American intelligence community” is not a cogent defense. It is the fall back position of those who do not do their own homework. If you do not have time to do the study, then skepticism is the most honest position.