Research and Commentary on Truth Decay

  • Report

    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.

  • Research Brief

    Truth Decay: A Threat to Policymaking and Democracy

    The line between fact and fiction in American public life is blurring. This “Truth Decay” phenomenon affects democracy and political and civil discourse, driving wedges between policymakers and neighbors alike. But research and analysis can serve as a launching point to rein Truth Decay in.

  • Commentary

    Truth Decay, America's Latest Pastime

    Detailed data and complex analysis are the foundation of decisionmaking in baseball and many other professions and occupations. But facts are out of favor in current U.S. political and civil discourse, and the public policymaking that accompanies it.

  • Commentary

    In Reckoning with Today's Truth Wars, Look to America's Past

    The declining regard for factual evidence may be a defining characteristic of our current age. Previous eras suggest it is within society's power to restore respect for objective facts. Humankind just needs to put it on the agenda.

  • Article

    How to Increase Immunity to Truth Decay

    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.

  • Blog

    Regulation or Research? How to Reduce Truth Decay in the Media

    What is social media's role in the decline of trust in the media? Is government intervention needed to help stop the spread of misinformation? A panel of researchers discussed the connection between the media and Truth Decay at a RAND event in Boston.

  • Q&A

    The Perils of Truth Decay: Q&A with Three RAND Leaders

    Truth Decay is defined by disagreement about facts, the blurred line between opinion and fact, increased volume of opinion and personal experience over fact, and declining trust in formerly respected sources of facts. RAND president and CEO Michael D. Rich, journalist Soledad O'Brien, and political scientist Francis Fukuyama discuss the phenomenon and the search for solutions to it.

  • Commentary

    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.

  • Commentary

    The Danger of Truth Decay Across Europe

    “Truth Decay” poses a threat to the health and future of democracy across Europe. With partial facts, disinformation, and incompatible versions of “the truth” competing for attention, it's more and more important for Europeans to recognize this phenomenon.

  • Commentary

    People—Not the Tech Companies—Will Ultimately Stop Disinformation in Europe

    Authorities can continue to seek to punish the tech companies for the circulation of false articles. But this is unlikely to make a difference until more people take the time to acquire the skills to distinguish between fact and fiction.

  • Q&A

    How RAND Is Responding to Truth Decay

    RAND's Michael Rich and Jennifer Kavanagh explain what “Truth Decay” is and discuss how ongoing RAND research could help counter it.

  • Commentary

    Truth Decay and the Spirit of the Law

    The widening gap between how the law is expected to be (and generally is) practiced, and certain events transpiring in America's political and policymaking realms, is of increasing concern.

  • Blog

    'Truth Decay' Makes Facts Subjective and Polarization More Extreme

    “When everyone has their own facts, then nobody really has any facts at all,” said President and CEO Michael Rich at RAND's Politics Aside event. Truth Decay pushes political polarization to even greater extremes and prevents policymakers from reaching consensus on solutions to the nation's biggest challenges.

Multimedia

Get Involved

Want to learn more about how RAND is responding to Truth Decay? Are you a researcher interested in tackling this issue? We want to hear from you.

Funding for This Project

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest.

RAND Ventures is a vehicle for investing in such policy solutions. Philanthropic contributions support our ability to take the long view, tackle tough and often-controversial topics, and share our findings in innovative and compelling ways.

RAND's research findings and recommendations are based on data and evidence and therefore do not necessarily reflect the policy preferences or interests of its clients, donors, or supporters.

Funding for this venture was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations.