Statistically, the highest levels of exposure to second-hand smoke have not been associated with any substantial health risks. Statistically, cigarette smokers are an economic asset to government coffers. Statistically, the social security system is financially robust. Statistically, war is not good for a country's economy. Statistically, financial outlays for social welfare are minuscule compared to corporate welfare. Statistically, babies born addicted to cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin have no more physical or psychological problems by the age of 5 than babies born without drugs in their system -- provided that the drug-born babies are adopted in infancy. Statistically, only a minority of physically abused children become abusive adults. Statistically, vaccinations are not linked with autism. Statistically, the trickle-down theory of economics hasn't worked since the Egyptian pharoahs conveniently deposited massive amounts of riches in one-stop-shopping caches for the grave robbers.
I could go on and on. These statements represent consistent statistical results from multiple studies. Do they represent popular convictions?
At one point, I cautioned colleagues that using questionable conclusions from other studies to justify legitimate research proposals would diminish the overall credibility of their own findings. I admit I was wrong. It doesn't matter what the actual numbers show. What matters is what people believe they should show.
And as far as determining the sponsors of studies, most research is funded by the government, and most researchers toe the company line.