Simon Kiss's blog

'Balanced Journalism' Amplifies Uninformed Voices

Introduction

As Ontario voters consider their choices in municipal elections, a new report by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) went back in time to examine the dynamics of Waterloo’s 2010 controversial plebiscite to end fluoridation.

Fluoridation is one of the modern world’s great triumphs. It safely, cheaply, equitably and effectively improves dental health and quality of life for all people, with benefits focused mostly on children and the poor. And yet it has always elicited controversy.

Source Cues Significantly Reduce People's Perception of Benefits from Fluoridation

Dr. Andrea Perrella and I have a new paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health that reveals some interesting insights into how people process information and weigh the risks and benefits of water fluoridation. In particular, we found, through an experimental survey instrument, that people’s support for water fluoridation can be lowered, but not raised.