Terrific piece by Tim Harford in the FT on The problem with facts. (So terrific it is terrifyingly tempting to purloin the whole text from the FT.) Harford talks about the lessons learnt from the response of the tobacco industry to evidence connecting cigarettes with lung cancer, how frequent attempts to discredit a claim unsupported by facts only make it lodge more firmly in the minds of casual onlookers, how the current obsession with bubbles ignores the fact that very few people read serious news (of any ideological tendency) at all.
A couple of quotes:
OK, an attempt to copy and paste a brief quote has, not unfairly, elicited this response from the FT:
High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our T&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy additional rights.
It's possible that if I checked out the T&Cs I would find a brief quote was acceptable, but sloth prevails. The whole thing here.