One of the things I find fascinating at a macro level about the current market fondness for short-seller conspiracy theories is that it is selective. While it is entirely likely — as matter of fact, entirely probable — that there are short-sellers out there trying to plant stories to drive stocks down, the exact same thing happens on the bullish side too. There are always plenty of people with long positions looking to plant stories to drive stocks up.
Yes, both behaviors are bad and both can amount to stock manipulation, but how is it that short-seller manipulation gets so much more of a bad rap than does long-only shenanigans? From my point of view, as an analyst or a journalist — the usual target of that sort of thing — you concede up front that anyone talking to you probably has a bias, and you work from there. Every data point, whether from a long or a short, is just another observation from a usefully biased perspective.