Truth Decay and Civil Discourse

The shrinking role of facts and evidence-based analysis in American public life poses a threat to democracy, to policymaking, and to the very notion of civic discourse. RAND has launched an ambitious research project, Truth Decay, to define and study the problem with the ultimate goal of working toward innovative solutions.

In this Events @ RAND podcast, Jennifer Kavanagh addresses the connection between Truth Decay and the erosion of civil discourse, as well as Truth Decay's effects on policymaking and the future of democracy.

Jennifer Kavanagh

Jennifer Kavanagh

Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; Associate Director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program in the RAND Arroyo Center

Nicholas Goldberg

Nicholas Goldberg

Editorial Page Editor, Los Angeles Times

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  • Truth Decay: Fighting for Facts and Analysis

    Jan 16, 2018

    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.

  • Declining Trust in Facts and Institutions Imposes Costs on Society

    “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.

  • Truth Decay and the Media

    May 8, 2018

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of experts discusses the connection between the media and Truth Decay. They address the effects of changes in the information environment, including the rise of social media, the shift to a 24-hour news cycle, increasing partisanship of some news sources, algorithms and filters, and media literacy.

  • How Truth Decay Happens

    May 16, 2018

    “Truth Decay”—the shrinking role of facts and analysis in American public life—threatens democracy, policymaking, and civic discourse. RAND is studying this phenomenon to help understand what drives it and how to address it.

  • The Diminishing Role of Facts in American Public Life

    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.

  • How to Increase Immunity to Truth Decay

    May 16, 2018

    Americans have always held differing views about policy issues. But more and more, they disagree about basic facts. This is a symptom of what RAND calls “Truth Decay,” and it's doing severe damage to democracy in the United States.