How do scientists counter ‘fake news’ in the era of InfoWars?

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Alex Jones: Right-wing conspiracy theorist stokes fear of GMOs, pesticides
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Within the scientific community, much attention has focused on improving communications between scientists, policy makers, and the public.

[W]henever scientific findings clash with a person or group’s political agenda, be it conservative (as with climate science and immigration) or liberal (as with genetically modified foods and vaccination risks), scientists can expect to encounter a targeted campaign of …. disinformation in response …. Under these circumstances, [scientific] information is likely to be either rejected or ignored by otherwise open-minded people.

Here we argue that in the current political and media environment faulty communication is no longer the core of the problem. Distrust in the scientific enterprise and misperceptions of scientific knowledge increasingly stem less from problems of communication and more from the widespread dissemination of misleading and biased information.

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[U]nscrupulous actors with ulterior motives …. circulate fake news, misinformation, and disinformation with the help of trolls, bots, and respondent-driven algorithms …. At this point, probably the best that can be done is for scientists and their scientific associations to anticipate campaigns of misinformation and disinformation and to proactively develop online strategies and internet platforms to counteract them when they occur.

Read full, original article: Scientific communication in a post-truth society

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