Truth Decay by RAND Corporation
Truth Decay, a report from the RAND Corporation, details the “diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life.” The report identifies and details four trends that contribute to the erosion of civil discourse: increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data, a blurring of the line between opinion and fact, the increasing relative volume and influence of opinion and personal experience over fact and a declining trust in formerly respected sources of factual information.
RAND researchers Jennifer Kavanaugh and Michael Rich also look at the underlying causes of Truth Decay, including cognitive bias, which leads us to look for information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs. Additionally, changes in information systems including the rise of social media, the transformation of traditional newspaper and broadcast companies and the wide dissemination of disinformation have collectively led to Truth Decay. The report also points to an education system that does not adequately teach media literacy and polarization in all facets of society as contributing factors.
Pat Poblete is a graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University studying broadcast journalism.