Do jurors, and others, apply a “false equivalence” to experts? In other words, do they treat those who have credentials, training, and research to back them up as essentially the same, interchangeable, with one as good as another? In trial, attorneys often feel that the experts offered by each side may just cancel each other out, just as in public discussions where the presence of experts on both sides of an issue can lead to a perceived stalemate. But that is not inevitable. Both inside and outside of the courtroom, you can battle false equivalence by treating expert opinions, not as a product that is merely presented to an audience, but as a process that can be communicated, shared, and taught.
In this interview with the Propwatch Project (an educational non-profit dedicated raising awareness concerning propaganda and misinformation), Dr. Ken Broda Bahm explains the problem of false equivalence as well as ways to combat in litigation and in other public arguments.
Dr. Ken Broda Bahm is a Senior Litigation Consultant with ThemeVision, providing research and practical advice in improving testimony, advocacy, and persuasion in Jury trial, bench trial, arbitration, and mediation settings. With a background in legal communication, small group research, argumentation, and rhetoric, Ken works with trial teams to assist in all phases of the pretrial and trial process. Ken is also a prolific writer and speaker, frequently publishing and presenting pieces on trial skills and cutting edge issues in legal persuasion. A former tenured professor within the University of Maryland System, Ken has provided litigation consulting services since 1993.