In what ways has news reporting in print, on television, and online changed over the last 30 years? Overall, there has been a shift toward more-subjective reporting, but many of the changes have been subtle.
Since social media is not regulated in the same way as traditional news media, anyone can convey information with little fact-checking. So how do we help children develop critical literacy skills to enable them to interpret the media correctly?
The recent erosion of public trust in facts and institutions is not the first period of Truth Decay in U.S. history. What's different this time is the increasing disagreement about objective facts. Jennifer Kavanagh and William “Pat” Getty discussed the trend and how to stop it.
In this Events @ RAND podcast, RAND political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh and William "Pat" Getty, president of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, discuss Truth Decay's consequences on community engagement and resilience.
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.
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.
In this Events @ RAND podcast, the Pew Research Center's Carroll Doherty joins RAND's Jennifer Kavanagh for a discussion about the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and declining trust in institutions.
"Truth Decay" is the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. RAND is studying the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, and how they are interrelated. We invite other research organizations and individuals to join us in finding potential solutions and responses.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Education Ph.D. in history, University of California, San Diego; M.A. in history, University of California, San Diego; B.A. in history, University of California, San Diego