sniper said:indeed the context was/is very different. In 2012/13 we have the historical knowledge of festina and usps, making it all the more baffling that a journo like walsh gives his fiat to sky in the absence of any evidence.
because thats forgotten around here: while there is a lack of evidence that sky dope, reversely there is a lack of evidence that they are clean. So in 2012/13 with the festina usps affairs fresh in memory, nobody with a brain can vouch for sky.
I would suggest the opposite is true here. 1999 was riding the tail of the freewheeling EPO era. The Festina wounds were incredibly fresh, it was the Tour of renewal and Bang! Armstrong dominates alone.
Fast forward to 2012 and riders haver served or are serving bans (Landis, Basso, Contador), there are thoughts of clean winners (Sastre, Evans), and a relatively cleaner peloton. Doping is, whether you like it or not, harder to get away with to the extent it had been at the dog end of the 90s. This leads him to suspend disbelief a little longer. There is as yet no Swart, O'Reilly or hospital room. Walsh has his eyes and ears open, and you will know if (not necessarily when) he finds it.
We, on the other hand, who aren't privy to internal workings, and having been burnt over the 90s and 00s often find the easier default to them cheating. In this way it protects us (as exemplified by your use of lack of evidence they are clean).