The Truth of False

Friday, September 07, 2007


Good myths die hard. Recent psychological studies suggest journalists' attempts to set the record straight may in fact be perpetuating falsehoods. Shankar Vedantam, columnist at the Washington Post, explains.

Comments [5]

Mike Smuckler from NYC

Your section about listener comments wondered how you get such rabid comments from both extremes of the political spectrum. I once went to a couples counseling session with my then-girlfriend. We both came away having heard the counselor say that the other needed to change to make the relationship work. We tend to hear and comprehend according to our beliefs, not the other way around.

I used to jump on right wing blogs and argue with the mindless, dangerous people who held right-wing conservative beliefs, until, one day, I realized that they considered themselves to be intelligent, and my beliefs seemed stupid and dangerous to them. I have never seen ANYONE change their viewpoint from an argument in an online forum.

Online debate can be a fun diversion, but I believe it accomplishes NOTHING.

Jul. 26 2008 07:45 AM
Andrew Sleeth from Raleigh, North Carolina

This piece highlights some of the most valuable, practical empirical data on persuasive messaging phenomena I've heard in years. As a public relations professional, I was especially excited to have the study brought to my attention. My hat's off to OTM for giving airtime to such meaningful communications research.

Sep. 11 2007 08:23 PM
Rutger van Waveren from Amsterdam

I had to think of this excellent piece when I saw a campaign today (here in the Netherlands) from Greenpeace about fish you should not buy because of overfishing.

The campaign very much stresses the fish you should *not* buy... I'm afraid some false memories will start kicking in in a couple of days.

Sep. 10 2007 03:49 PM
Bill stuber from Ronkonkoma New york

I believe that the findings of the study would be more applicable to the question of a Saddam Hussein -Al qaeda connection if the media were in fact "vigilant" as the hypothetical reporter was described in the piece. How long after the myth of the Hussein-Al queda connection was propagated did the media debunk it? As I recall, the "vigilant" reporter outing the fallacy of this assertion is as much of a myth as the assertion itself. After 9/11, the major media walked in virtual lockstep with the Bush administration in their reporting, puportedly for fear of being portrayed as unpatriotic or insensitive to the catastrophe. I believe the media abandoned their traditional role as watchdog of the government long ago.

Sep. 10 2007 09:26 AM
Anne Louise Sliney from Bemidji, Minnesota

Most interesting, relevant and informative! Thank you!

Sep. 09 2007 11:13 PM

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