Giving Compass' Take:
- Jennifer Kavanagh, the lead author of RAND's seminal report on Truth Decay, offers insight on media literacy and combatting misinformation.
- How does truth decay chip away at a robust and equitable democracy?
- Read more about the relationship between truth decay and democratic health.
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Truth Decay, which RAND defines as the diminishing role of facts in American public life, is a complicated, systemic phenomenon. Over the past two decades in the United States, it has contributed to political paralysis and eroded the civil discourse a healthy democracy needs to thrive. Addressing this threat will require a coordinated effort from research organizations, policymakers, tech companies, the media, and educators.
In other words, Truth Decay is not a problem that any one person can fix.
Still, we wanted to understand how Truth Decay plays out in everyday life, and how individuals can do their part to chip away at it. So we asked Jennifer Kavanagh, the lead author of RAND's seminal report on Truth Decay, for tips that anyone can use when reading the news, sharing information over social media, and talking with friends and family members.
Q. Why is Truth Decay so difficult to address?
As an information consumer, there are many powerful Truth Decay forces working against you. There are your own cognitive biases, for one. (We all have them.) There's disinformation spreading rampantly online—some of which stems from foreign campaigns targeting Americans, but a lot of which comes from domestic sources. And there's a lot of opinion out there masquerading as fact.
Even though Truth Decay is a phenomenon that I've studied extensively, I still experience some of the same challenges as everyone else. It can be difficult to know what's reliable and what’s a trustworthy source
Read the full article about truth decay at RAND Corporation.