Truthiness, Consequences & Wing Nuts‏

I was on a bike at the gym reading the paper yesterday morning (a little depressed from thinking that my plans of becoming an underwear model may never be realized) and found my horoscope with four and half stars and the comment: Don’t forget about the element of madness that should be factored into every human equation. Learning that the paper horoscope guy is a lot more sophisticated than the fortune cookie guy brightened my morning. As such, you’ll find this month’s newsletter taking various looks at risk communication, perception, engagement and other factors of human madness.


Truthiness & Consequences  

Twenty percent of adult Americans believe that vaccines cause autism. About the same number still think cell phones cause cancer. According to a recent report from the University of Chicago, 37 percent believe that the FDA withholds natural cancer cures because of drug company pressure. Add the moon landing, climate change, Area 51, gun control and the Kennedy assassination to that list of conspiracy theories and beliefs. Reason, facts, science and evidence have depressingly little to do with what too many people think.

I probably don’t have to remind you that not everything on the Internet is true, but just in case I’ll remind you anyway. And yes, the University of Chicago study is also on the Internet.

Which Wing Nut is Nuttier?  

It’s easy to place the blame on whatever side you’re not on. But, according to Politico, you would also be wrong. And yeah, I know, Politico is on the Internet.

It may appear that I’ve “jumped the shark” and gotten into politics but that’s precisely what I’m trying not to do. It’s bigger than that – it’s about ideology and hypocrisy.

The Question  

Spending several formative years in broadcasting with great teachers and role models gave me lots of opportunity to practice interviewing people – all kinds of interesting, dumb, mad, boring, sad, smart and scared people. I had no idea how much asking good questions would pay off later.

So the moral of the story is that good journalists can make pretty good public involvement people and mediators — if they can stand to lose a little cynicism. Here is a useful interview story featuring a very good journalist.


The other critical piece is the listening part. It’s wisely said that “waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can start is not active listening.” Active listening fixes lots of sins in public involvement, resolving conflict and just connecting with your team:

Like anything else, you have to work at it to get good and stay proficient. This story is brief and pretty good:

Check this Out

I’ve done a little work on distracted driving campaigns for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) the past couple of years. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says texting and driving is now the leading cause of teen driver deaths – a huge problem! I found the following video and would like you to take a look. Tell me what you think.




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