From the bizarre crusade against solar to absurd climate change conspiracies, we often find ourselves addressing lies and distortions from the anti-green camp. Yet it's worth noting that simply by tackling these lies, and talking about them, we may actually make them more believable. Discussing an absurdly inaccurate rumor about the EPA that I won't repeat here, Joe Romm has an excellent piece over at Climate Progress entitled Memo to Politico: Don't Repeat Right-Wing Lies in Your Headline. While debunking lies is an important role of the saner portions of the media, Romm argues that we should be very careful as to how we do it:
It is notoriously hard to debunk such lies because the very act of repeating the lie makes it more likely people will remember it, according to much social science research, which I discuss here. As but one example, "when people find a claim familiar because of prior exposure but do not recall the original context or source of the claim, they tend to think that the claim is true," according to a 2005 journal article, "How Warnings about False Claims Become Recommendations," which concluded "Telling people that a consumer claim is false can make them misremember it as true."