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.
In this Call with the Experts, RAND president and CEO Michael Rich and political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh discuss the causes and consequences of Truth Decay, and how they compare with previous eras in U.S. history.
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.
Americans' reliance on facts to discuss public issues has declined significantly in the past two decades, leading to political paralysis and collapse of civil discourse. This phenomenon, referred to as “Truth Decay,” is defined by increasing disagreement about facts, a blurring between opinion and fact, an increase in the relative volume of opinion and personal experience over fact, and declining trust in formerly respected sources of factual information.
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.
RAND-Lex is a computer program that can scan millions of lines of text and identify what people are talking about, how they fit into communities, and how they see the world. The program has shed light on how terrorists communicate, how the American public thinks about health, and more.
Social media analysis could provide a window into the perspectives and communications of adversaries and other key audiences. If DoD seeks to expand its capability in this area, it must navigate U.S. law, cultural norms, and other issues.
Health-related posts and conversations on Twitter shed light on the public's views on obesity, exercise and fitness, safe sex, alcohol, and mental health. Will such discussion increase in communities where health and wellness programs are put in place?
This issue highlights ways that RAND researchers on the ground in Uganda are having a measurable impact on the lives of men and women struggling with HIV and depression. The issue also features a tribute to the late economist Charles Wolf Jr.
Countering ISIL in the real world also requires countering its messaging online. It is critical that the U.S. and its international partners work with influential communities in the region that can more effectively and credibly counter the ISIL narrative.
This report offers an overview of emerging social trends which may affect public engagement with evidence and policy in Britain. It was produced to provide background for a workshop hosted by Sense about Science and the Nuffield Foundation.
ISIS uses Twitter to inspire followers, recruit fighters, and spread its message. Its opponents use Twitter to denounce the group. An analysis of the communities opposed to ISIS suggests inroads for influence that the U.S. government's social media strategy should explore.
On Twitter, there are six times more ISIS opponents than supporters, but those who support ISIS are more active. U.S. officials could help ISIS opponents enhance the effectiveness and reach of their messaging by offering social media training.
Reaching veterans to learn more about their mental health care seeking poses a conundrum. They are typically recruited for studies in clinical settings, so those who are not seeking care are not represented. Facebook may be a viable method to reach them.