The Politics of Science: Studies of Bias, Polarization, Trust, and Belief

The political spin that so often is attached to discussions surrounding public policy and science is the focus of the March 2015 issue of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Politics and science often intermix on matters including climate change, vaccinations, fracking, nuclear power, evolution, genetically modified organisms, and stem cell research, among others.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson at AAAS: Bias, Credibility, and Communicating Science

Climate scientists inadvertently support the idea that they are partisans when they do not account for "inconvenient evidence," Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, told scientists and journalists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, Calif. Jamieson also said flawed studies must be retracted much more quickly.

Annenberg Public Policy Center to study the Science of Science Communication

To mark its 20th anniversary, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania is opening a new area of study, the Science of Science Communication, to investigate how scientific evidence can be more effectively conveyed to the public. APPC also announced that FactCheck.org, which has focused on political speech, has received funding from the Stanton Foundation to expand its mission to include monitoring the use and misuse of scientific evidence.

Overcoming the Effects of Selectively Presented Scientific Information in Partisan Media

Scientists can minimize the likelihood that their message will be rejected in a politically polarized environment by avoiding advocacy, relying on trusted sources, and inviting the audience to understand the evidence that justifies the scientific conclusion, according to a new study by Annenberg Public Policy Center researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It showed that conservatives were able to draw the correct inferences about the downward trend in the Arctic sea ice despite exposure to a misleading Fox News report.