But two limitations to the field of health communication have impacted efficient and effective information dissemination amid the pandemic.
The first is what science communicators call “the deficit model,” which assumes the public is deficient in their understanding of science and need scientists as the learned elites to help the benighted masses.
This approach ultimately creates more barriers between the information and those who need it. But while there have been some efforts at challenging the concept, it is still largely the de facto approach to science communication.
Plus the very goal of science communications is propaganda messaging:
The second limitation is that the goal of health communication is not to inform others, but to change their behavior.
Remember, propaganda is messaging intended to persuade a target to adopt someone else’s agenda.
Public health messaging has been an enormous fiasco. Messaging is often inconsistent, frequently contradictory, and far too often to the point of being incoherent.
The lack of clarifying uncertainty (when it has often been very large), particularly when pronouncements come across as wrong, is seen by the public as public health officials have no idea what they are doing.
Just today, I saw yet another doctor blasting the public for not understanding what elites like him know – with no awareness, apparently, if the constant inconsistent and contradictory messaging. He blames the public for their lack of understanding, rather than looking in the mirror to take a look at the messenger.