How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it’s in favor of the energy companies:
The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.
A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support the tobacco industry’s narrative. For example, it supported research into the link between asbestos and lung cancer because it muddied the waters by showing that other factors can cause cancer. Weatherall and his team call this approach selective sharing.
Weatherall and co investigated how these techniques influence public opinion. To do this they used a computer model of the way the scientific process influences the opinion of policy makers.