Exploring "Truth Decay"
January 17, 2018
Over the past two decades, the role of facts and analysis in American public life has been diminishing, posing a threat to democracy and policymaking. With donor support, RAND president and CEO Michael Rich initiated a project with RAND political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh to investigate the phenomenon of "Truth Decay."
In this Call with the Experts, Rich and Kavanagh discuss the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and how they compare with previous eras in U.S. history. They also outline a research agenda to help determine what can be done to combat Truth Decay in the future. Media relations director Jeffrey Hiday moderates the call.
RAND is studying “Truth Decay”—the diminishing reliance on facts and analysis in American public life. Truth Decay presents a threat to both evidence-based policymaking and democracy. RAND invites fellow researchers and engaged stakeholders to join our efforts to find solutions.
“Truth Decay” is the diminishing reliance on facts and analysis in American public life. It has many damaging consequences: the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over U.S. policy.
Without agreement about objective facts and a common understanding of and respect for data and analytical interpretations of those data, it becomes nearly impossible to have the types of meaningful policy debates that form the foundation of democracy.