Thoughtless Think Tanks: Factoids v. Facts

Factoid Scholarship and Sound Bite Thinking About the History and Intent of Prevailing Wage Laws

Professor Peter Phillips from the University of Utah wrote a fascinating article about a decade ago. He describes the difference between "factoids" and "facts". This insightful article draws some light onto how news can be presented and absorbed for public consumption.

Scholarship discovers facts. But we are living in the world of think tank scholarship. Too often, think tank scholars do not see their jobs as discovering facts. They see their job as creating factoids. Factoids are not facts. But they are treated like facts. They are presented as facts. They are packaged in sound bites. They are promulgated to and by a credulous media. And in the hands of unscrupulous editorialists and lobbyists, they are better than facts. They are factoids, a modern, easy-to-swallow substitute for the truth.