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.
What are the roles of scientists and journalists as “custodians of the knowable” and what happens when they get it wrong? How do they insulate themselves from charges of ineptness or partisanship? Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, delivered the keynote lecture on Sept. 24 at the National Academy of Sciences’