May 11, 2021

MIT SCHOLARS REVIEW ANTI-MASK DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUDE: “As science and technology studies (STS) scholars have shown, data is not a neutral substrate that can be used for good or for ill [14, 46, 84]. Indeed, anti-maskers often reveal themselves to be more sophisticated in their understanding of how scientific knowledge is socially constructed than their ideological adversaries, who espouse naive realism about the ‘objective’ truth of public health data.”

Plus: “Most fundamentally, the groups we studied believe that science is a process, and not an institution.”

Also: “As Tufekci demonstrates (and our data corroborates), the CDC’s initial public messaging that masks were ineffective—followed by a quick public reversal— seriously hindered the organization’s ability to effectively communicate as the pandemic progressed. As we have seen, people are not simply passive consumers of media: anti-mask users in particular were predisposed to digging through the scientific literature and highlighting the uncertainty in academic publications that media or- ganizations elide. When these uncertainties did not surface within public-facing versions of these studies, people began to assume that there was a broader cover-up [99].”

As I keep saying, trust is the number one asset of the public health community, and they rushed to squander it without a second thought.

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