TRUTH DECAY...A new theme of study of the Rand Corporation, one of the world's leading "Think and Research Centers". Epidemic Definition: We are not speaking of a "medical epidemic" although that is on a lot of minds these days. That one is "A widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time." Our credit and thanks go to those patriots at the Rand Corporation (one of the world's great think tanks).
We are referring to a social epidemic as Malcom Gladwell defined. in his book: The Tipping Point. "Gladwell's epidemics are social. He believes that many ideas, products, messages and behaviors we find in society can be characterized by their rapid, exponential spread through our population." One illustration from the concept of The Tipping Point.
At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, water molecules slow their movement or vibration, they they begin to form a crystalline structure. That becomes ice. Below 32 degrees water becomes ice. 32 degrees is "the tipping point".
One loud person, or multiple stories or lies may not be a tipping point. But if enough people listen, or repeat, or copy those lies and stories, then 20 people may not be a tipping point. But 2,000 people may be. Indeed, often it takes time for the audience to hear it repeatedly, for it to take hold. Hitler and Mussolini, as well as many others have said: "Repeat a story often enough and people will begin to believe it as truth".
So, for example: "Fake News", repeated daily on radio, TV, internet, in speeches around the country, first by a President. Then repeated by a dozen, hundred, perhaps a thousand radio and TV outlets, including a pervasive internet...at some point it may become to be believed as a social "Truth".
Thus when we hear of the great Santa Monica research group, RAND talking about "Truth Decay" as if it were a national epidemic, perhaps a growing Pandemic...we stop and listen.
The Rand Web site says: ""Truth Decay"--the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life."" And then goes on to say:
"RAND is concerned about the threat Truth Decay poses to evidence-based policymaking. We invite fellow researchers and engaged stakeholders to join our efforts to find solutions. "
FOUR TRENDS THAT CHARACTERIZE TRUTH DECAY:
1. Increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data
2. A blurring of the line between opinion and fact
3. The increasing relative volume and resulting influence of opinion and personal experience over fact
4. Declining trust in formerly respected sources of facts.
Jennifer Kavanagh (Senior political Scientist and professor, and with the Rand Arroyo Center and MICHAEL RICH, President and CEO of Rand Corporation are major contributors to more discussion on Truth Decay. LOOK THEM UP AND SEE THE MARVELOUS MATERIAL THEY ARE MINING.
"Truth Decay" has many damaging consequences:
- the erosion of civil discourse
- political paralysis
- alienation and disengagement from political and civic institutions
- uncertainty over U.S. policy.
One telling statistic: Washington Post reports that in fact checking, President Trump as of December 16, 2019, had told the American people 15,413 false or misleading claims. Averaging 14 per day, for the 1055 days recorded.
But the televised "spin" machine of the US Senate as led by Mitch McConnell during the Senate trial, which did not allow any witnesses, nor any new evidence or materials during this event, suggested "spin" of an unprecedented level.
As this is written we are in an election year, a time ripe with opportunity to watch political leaders and hopefuls as they speak daily. We note, that even this group tends to "fib" a little here and "flab" a little there.
We at Boothe Global Perspectives Link: BootheGlobalPerspectives remind our readers, that perhaps we should go back to a message on that simple hat, that we have make and distributed throughout the nation, for free.
They are free, you pay the postage or shipping. How about getting back to truth! Send your name and address and enough for postage, and we will send you one....Time to get back to truth, and cherish our values, become again a smart people.
Ben Boothe, Publisher. Boothe Global Perspectives