Anti-Vaccers, Misremembering & Gravitas

When I was a youngish adult, chicken pox made me seriously sick. I got it from my four-year-old daughter. She jumped around looking spotted and cute while I whined in a cold-water bathtub for 10 days trying to keep the fever down. The new measles outbreak reminded me of those good times.

As the vaccine/anti-vaccine war rages on, both sides are digging in and hurling facts and beliefs at the other side. And Congress is all excited about it. It’s a quintessential case study in risk communication and neither side is convincing the other. We’ve brought you a lot of information about this phenomenon in past newsletters that are archived at and there’ll be more in the future.

The late Andy Rooney on CBS’ 60 Minutes put it plainly: “People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.” Once we realize that, we can work on solutions – but not before.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



So Quit Yelling at Anti-Vaccine People  

Scientific data doubles every 15 years. In The Half-Life of Facts, Samuel Arbesman writes that the half-life of truth is about 45 years, meaning that half of what Docs believe to be true will be outdated in 45 years.

Evidence shows that vaccines work and save lives. But as facts and science grow, the truth becomes squishy and sanctimony makes things worse:

The World According to Brian  

The disappointing case of NBC anchor Brian Williams’ misremembering problem will remain a hot topic in media for a while. But as much as we hate to admit it to ourselves, it’s very human and entirely common…

Speaking, Gravitas and Colbert  

Being able to connect with people in delivering a message is imperative and a diminishing skill in an age of short attention spans and immediate gratification. Here’s help:

It’s not about the what, it’s about the why…

Ad-Libbing It  

Just winging it is usually a stupid idea but sometimes you have no choice. The higher your profile and the more scrutiny you’re under, the more likely it is that you’ll have to think on your feet and deliver a speech off the cuff. Consider the following: Authority  

There have been times when Americans put their faith in authority — usually in the aftermath of a dramatic event (Pearl Harbor and September 11th come to mind). However, overall trust in authority by most people is incredibly hard to find. That has to be corrected…

Most of us have already learned just about everything we need to know about trust. Maybe we just ignore it in our so-called adulthood. Play fair and keep the promises you make…or imply:

The Wisdom of Drucker  

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.”
– Peter F. Drucker

We coach professionals and we’ll help you connect with the public and grow your trust and credibility. Contact us for information.

* The new International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Certificate course is coming to Phoenix April 27 – May 1

* The IAP2 Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation course is in Phoenix May 14 & 15

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