The mission statement of The Conversation is both simple and ambitious: Share knowledge. Inform decisions. That mission is based on the assumption that reasonable people want to make informed decisions. Informed decisions are dependent on facts and trust. If you don’t trust the source, you won’t believe the facts. But what happens when you first decide you don’t like the facts and that, in turn, makes you distrust the source?

I’m not sure if you watched the live broadcast Thursday night of the U.S. Congressional Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol. It was mesmerizing prime-time viewing in which Republican Liz Cheney laid out a compelling narrative based on facts revealed by the committee over many months of testimony. And yet while watching it, I kept wondering: will the facts matter to the millions of people who still believe Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election?

Facts do matter. Facts show that placing restrictions on assault rifles means fewer mass shootings. Facts show that Russia based its invasion of Ukraine on a series of well-orchestrated lies. Facts show that the problem of inflation is complex and can’t be solved by demonizing a country’s central bank.

Real leaders tell people the facts they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And real media outlets should do the same thing. For your weekend reading, some important facts about the Jan. 6 hearings, gun control, Russian atrocities in Ukraine and inflation.

We’ll be back in your Inbox on Monday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Weekend Reads: The problem with ignoring facts

Jan. 6 hearing gives primetime exposure to violent footage and dramatic evidence – the question is, to what end?

Mark Satta, Wayne State University; Claire Leavitt, Grinnell College; Ken Hughes, University of Virginia

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol held its first hearing to present what it has learned during its almost year-long probe. Three scholars analyze the event.

How a public hearing is different from an investigation – and what that means for the Jan. 6 committee

Claire Leavitt, Grinnell College

On the eve of public hearings held by Congress’ January 6 investigative committee, a former oversight staffer for the House of Representatives explains what such hearings aim to accomplish.

Regardless of seditious conspiracy charges’ outcome, right-wing groups like Proud Boys seek to build a white nation

Matthew Valasik, University of Alabama; Shannon Reid, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

White supremacist groups seek to solidify their control over the US by changing the government, sometimes by violence.

Primaries are getting more crowded with candidates, and that’s good news for extremists and bad news for voters

Matt Harris, Park University

The number of candidates running in party primaries has ballooned since 2010. That may result in extreme, inexperienced or controversial nominees who do not represent a majority of voters.

American exceptionalism: the poison that cannot protect its children from violent death

Emma Shortis, RMIT University

American institutions are seemingly powerless to enact gun reform because so many Americans believe – consciously or not – that any sacrifice is worth it to live in the best country in the world.

Did the assault weapons ban of 1994 bring down mass shootings? Here’s what the data tells us

Michael J. Klein, New York University

Analysis of the 10 years in which the US banned sales of assault weapons shows that it correlates with a drop in mass shooting deaths – a trend that reversed as soon as the ban expired.

Will the latest shooting of US children finally lead to gun reform? Sadly, that’s unlikely

Brendon O'Connor, University of Sydney; Daniel Cooper, Griffith University

Frequent mass shootings are a stain on the country’s international reputation. But it’s likely the latest episode will lead to more inaction on gun control.

How the NRA evolved from backing a 1934 ban on machine guns to blocking nearly all firearm restrictions today

Robert Spitzer, State University of New York College at Cortland

The group, founded in 1871, didn’t try to smother virtually all gun control efforts until the mid-1970s.

Here are the terrible costs of Vladimir Putin’s enduring war in Ukraine

David Roger Marples, University of Alberta

Ukraine is facing a struggle for survival. Its population could fall to 30 million by the time the war ends, with cities destroyed, crops expropriated and thousands already killed and wounded.

Why we can’t just ‘stop printing money’ to get inflation down

Jacqueline Best, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa

While central banks did help mitigate a COVID-induced recession, they don’t have the power to solve our inflation problem.


Diamond mines are not a girl’s best friend — Podcast

Vinita Srivastava, The Conversation

In today’s episode, we hear from two women who talk about how diamond mines in the Northwest Territories have negatively impacted women and girls and perpetuated gender violence.