I love my scientist friends. They are endlessly generous with their time, patiently explaining to me the details of their work. But (can we talk frankly), they can be absolutely dense when it comes to understanding what happens at the interfaces between their words, my words, and the minds of readers.
I am going to print out hundreds of copies of the piece in tomorrow’s Science by Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney, to hand out to every scientist I meet:
[M]any scientists retain the well-intentioned belief that, if laypeople better understood technical complexities from news coverage, their viewpoints would be more like scientists’, and controversy would subside. In reality, citizens do not use the news media as scientists assume.