How Can Journalists and Scientists Grapple with Lies and Personal Attacks?
Aaron Huertas
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Hey Mr. Huertas, this is a great article. I wish more people would read things like this because finding strategies to counter Donald Trump’s lies is going to be absolutely essential to stopping his agenda. I think you’re dead-on that what we should really be concerned about is why James Inhofe isn’t doing enough to protect Oklahoma from rising threats due to climate change — I also think this brings up a really good point, which is that if we want to effectively counter Trump’s and Republican’s lies we have to create a narrative or an issue to fill their place. It is not enough to counter a lie with facts — the human mind picks up negative experiences far more easily than positive ones, so we have to create a positive story (positive simply in the sense that it redirects where the conversation will go, it shows what truly is urgent, it fills up the space) to fill up the lie’s place. I think this may be inherently difficult for scientists because they don’t want to bias their research or their results, however it is something that we (i.e. journalists and all of us who are scientific-minded and respect scientists’ work) are capable of doing.

Second, that was a really interesting article in The Atlantic. However I think that she (Scottie Nell Hughes) has really internalized the whole misinformation campaign strategy that the Trump team has been waging… Sorry Ms. Hughes, just because half of the country believes something is true doesn’t actually make it true : / That’s called group-think, false reality or a public phantasmagoria. There’s a great set of slides by the Union of Concerned Scientists on the current climate change denial misinformation campaign, the primary purpose of which is to sow doubt about the established body of facts, and Ms. Hughes seems to be a victim of this exact line of thinking. Denial about World War II would have never stopped it from happening, denial that one is sick does not cure one of a disease, and all the forms of denial that Trump exhibits about the inauguration, election, climate change etc. do not make what he says true!

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