FIR B2B #24: Naomi Oreskes on How Merchants of Doubt Undermine Good Science
In this episode:
News & Trends
The gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins points out the need for workplaces to find ways for recognize people who aren’t naturally vocal and aggressive. The ability to shout shouldn’t be a requirement for advancement. Paul, who is an introvert, is particularly sensitive to this issue and thinks companies are squandering talent when they don’t listen to the people who don’t talk very much.
A new study by Google says 46% of potential buyers researching B2B products today are millennials, up from 27% in 2012. That makes them the biggest generational group researching these products. These buyers use mobile devices extensively and favor online video, which means B2B companies need to get on the stick and enable their websites and content for the channels millennials use.
A report from Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex based on an analysis of 223 million records finds that more then 71% have gaps and inaccuracies. This seems surprising at a time when so much information is available about business professionals and the companies they work for. Eric asks if anyone knows of a service that overlays data from multiple sources into comprehensive and accurate profiles of buyers.
Special Guest: Naomi Oreskes
Despite the fact that 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is having a significant impact on climate change, only 50% of the general public holds the same view. This disconnect between scientific consensus and public opinion is nothing new. Businesses that oppose policy changes that threaten their interests have long used paid experts, faux public policy foundations and outright lies to create doubt in the minds of the public going back to the 1950s.
Numerous examples of these practices are exhaustively documented and analyzed in Merchants of Doubt, the 2010 book by Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes and CalTech science historian Erik Conway. The book shows how a small number of politically conservative but academically respected scientists have been involved in campaigns to cast doubt on everything from the dangers of tobacco to evidence of an ozone hole to the debate over climate change, and how media organizations give disproportionate attention to minority views in the interest of stirring up controversy.
A documentary based on Merchants of Doubt is now in staged release and will be widely available this summer. Eric saw it and calls it the most important documentary he’s ever seen. Paul listened to the 13-hour audiobook and calls it "life-changing." Naomi Oreskes joins us to discuss how commercial interests use doubt to block change and how to know when science is being manipulated in this way.
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About Your Hosts
Paul Gillin is a veteran technology journalist and a thought leader in new media. Since 2005, he has advised marketers and business executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach buyers cost-effectively. He is the author or co-author of five books, including Social Marketing to the Business Customer (2011), the first book devoted entirely to B2B social media marketing. He is also a social media trainer and coach at Profitecture, a training firm for B2B companies and their channel partners.
Eric Schwartzman is a digital strategist with 15 years of experience selling and leading teams on the agency side in the development and delivery of innovative integrated marketing initiatives for multinational corporations, NGOs, federal government agencies and military commands. He is a frequent speaker at conferences all over the world on the topic of how technology is changing the way organizations communicate and the way people use media and information.
Follow Eric on Twitter at @ericschwartzman.
Eric’s expertise is in digital strategy, digital governance, content marketing, database marketing, user experience design, employee advocacy, education technology, digital multimedia production, B2B lead generation, search engine optimization and social media engagement techniques. He’s also the best-selling co-author of Social Marketing to the Business Customer.
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FIR B2B is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications,serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.
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