As election season heats up, Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins, takes a look at the myth of myth-busting in an op-ed published by The New York Times on Sunday, Aug. 26.
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MYTHS used to be about ancient Greeks. They taught us about greed (King Midas and gold) or hubris (Icarus flying too close to the sun). But when authors write about myths today, they mean something more prosaic: a misconception, a statement that almost everyone thinks is true but really isn't.
As we approach Election Day, the number of such myths appears to be skyrocketing. Myth-busting articles from the past month include "Five Myths About Obama's Stimulus," "Five Myths About the U.S.-Iran Conflict," "Top Three Myths About Medicare," "Top Six Myths About Medicare" and, not to be outdone, "Ten Medicare Myths." We all love to see supposed myths debunked, but these opinion articles and blog posts are not as straightforward as they seem. It's important that readers know how to interpret them. In that spirit, I offer the Top Three Myths About Myths.