Scientific communication in a post-truth society (PNAS)

I think most scientists are occasionally exasperated when confronted with statements that clearly contradict what we know to be true, whether the topic is climate change, vaccine safety or biotechnology. Iyengar and Massey argue that the persistence of these flawed ideas is not due to a lack of positive communication, but rather “from the widespread dissemination of misleading and biased information.” They document how changing trends in how people get information (from newspapers and TV to social media) has opened the door to fake news, misinformation and disinformation, as well as increased polarization of viewpoints. They suggest that scientists and their organizations should, “anticipate campaigns of misinformation and disinformation and … proactively develop online strategies and internet platforms to counteract them when they occur.” (Summary by Mary Williams) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 10.1073/pnas.1805868115