Introduction From the Executive Director of the Pro-Truth Pledge

Tyler MacEachran

What’s your role with the Pro-Truth Pledge?

I have been brought on as the first staff leader for the Pro-Truth Pledge. My role is to create a nimble, cost-effective infrastructure to support awareness of and engagement around the Pro-Truth Pledge. 

I will work closely with the founders, the board of directors, the advisory board, existing volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders to increase capacity by raising funds and getting more volunteers involved. I will develop and implement a strategy towards achieving our goal of increasing truth-oriented behaviors while protecting facts and civility.

What’s the problem that inspired you to take the role of Executive Director of the Pro-Truth Pledge?

I long felt concerned about the many dangerous ways misinformation affects democracy.

It undermines informed decision-making. Democracy relies on citizens making choices based on accurate information about issues, policies, and candidates. Misinformation clouds the truth and makes it harder for people to make wise choices.

It polarizes discourse. When inaccurate information spreads, it tends to confirm people’s biases. This can drive tribalism and push people to more extreme positions, making compromise and consensus-building harder.

It reduces accountability. Democracy depends on voters holding leaders accountable for their decisions and actions. However, when there’s a lack of agreement about the facts, it becomes easier for public figures to evade responsibility.

It threatens electoral integrity. False claims about things like election fraud or the reliability of voting systems undermine trust in core democratic institutions and processes. Even just the perception of impropriety caused by misinformation is hugely destabilizing.

It enables manipulation. Malicious actors (whether domestic or foreign) can weaponize misinformation through propaganda and disinformation campaigns aimed at manipulating public opinion for political ends, rather than informing democratic discourse.

Why do you believe the Pro-Truth Pledge helps solve the problem?

I believe the Pro-Truth Pledge helps to directly address misinformation. Some of the ways we do this include:


By taking the pledge, politicians, media leaders, and other influencers voluntarily commit to standards like retracting statements proven false and owning up to mistakes. This could discourage intentional lying and loose standards around facts.

Changing Incentives 

The pledge creates social incentives and public accountability around truth-telling. Signers know their commitment is public and violations will damage their reputation. This alignment of values and incentives promotes truth.

Setting Norms 

If the pledge gains widespread adoption, it could help set strong societal norms around valuing and prioritizing truth, especially in public discourse. This cultural shift alone would reduce misinformation.

De-escalating Rhetoric 

The pledge asks signers to acknowledge the humanity in those they disagree with and promotes civility. This encouragement of empathy and good faith disagreement can de-escalate polarized rhetoric that often breeds a disregard for truth.


By advocating for media literacy education and critical thinking, the Pro-Truth Movement also aims to equip citizens to better identify misinformation themselves through sharpened evaluation skills.

Of course, the pledge is voluntary and enforcement around violations depends on public pressure. But changing hearts and minds around truth can ultimately help heal some of the underlying societal conditions from which misinformation emerges. An ethos and culture of truth matters tremendously. Promoting media literacy, transparency in the information ecosystem, and a widespread ethic of truthful civic discourse is foundational. An informed and engaged public willing to speak truth is critical in the service of democracy.

Why are you the right person to lead the Pro-Truth Pledge as its first Executive Director?

I have a well-rounded background, which began as a social worker in inner city Detroit. There, I witnessed extreme systemic issues and failed public policies and their profound impact on families. This led me to pursue my Master of Public Administration degree to combat problems on a broader scale.  

Armed with my MPA, I led several nonprofit organizations through significant positive transformations, revenue growth, and increased impact over a period of more than twenty years. Highlights included raising $75M for consecutive annual campaigns during the pandemic and achieving rare 7-figure gifts from individual, corporate, and foundation sources. 

I have intentionally sought out the most challenging of nonprofit roles that could produce the greatest public good, including launching new nonprofits and reinventing existing nonprofits that were struggling. 

Most importantly, I am passionate about the mission of the Pro-Truth Pledge and understand the urgency of taking back our democracy. I love my country and the freedoms we are blessed with. I have four children. I want them to be able to enjoy those freedoms. I understand that the key to a healthy democracy is an accurately informed and engaged citizenry. And in my lifetime, America – and the world as a whole – have never faced so much misinformation, profound bias, and deliberate, manipulative lies from public figures and the media as we see today. Democracy is under attack from within and without. I am looking forward to being a leader who helps bring back the civil and polite discussion of facts and a genuine movement towards consensus and problem-solving for issues and policies that impact us all.

How do you plan to accomplish this?

I will work with volunteers and donors to mobilize private citizens and public figures alike to take the pledge, advance the movement and hold media, politicians, and other influencers accountable to tell the truth. I will increase revenues and capacity to accomplish this and grow an army of volunteer activists to make this happen. We can, and must, combat these challenges to democracy! Please take the pledge, donate, volunteer, or send me an email at ptpdirector[at] and join the fight!

Apply to be the Executive Director of the Pro-Truth Pledge!

Job Advertisement:

Executive Director


Become an influential leader in the fight for rational discourse and truth in politics as the Executive Director for Intentional Insights and its Pro-Truth Pledge project. Take charge of an endeavor that doesn’t just aim to quell the wildfires of misinformation, fake news, and post-truth politics, but aspires to re-engineer the very landscape of public dialogue to prioritize truth, civility, and integrity, armed with empirical evidence and rational analysis. Under your stewardship, the Pro-Truth Pledge will become a gold standard for a commitment to facts and accuracy, civility and reasoned dialogue on a national scale.

This is the first Executive Director of the organization, which was previously run by volunteers, and you would be expected to stand up the structure of the organization. That means spending a lot of time contacting those who signed the pledge to ask them to donate and volunteer. Please address your ability to do so in your cover letter thoroughly.

This position offers guaranteed funding through January 2025, with the expectation for continuation based on fundraising performance. As the organization grows, we hope you’ll evolve into a managerial role responsible for leading a team.



– Develop and implement a fundraising strategy tailored to the mission of promoting truth and rational thinking

– Conduct solicitation calls to potential and current donors

Volunteer Coordination and Recruitment

– Design a volunteer engagement strategy to attract those passionate about truth-seeking

– Manage current and new volunteers

Outreach to Other Organizations

– Identify and negotiate partnerships with organizations that align with our mission of combating disinformation

– Facilitate collaborative initiatives and campaigns for greater impact

Increasing Signatory Base for the Pro-Truth Pledge

– Conceptualize and execute campaigns to encourage individuals and organizations to sign the Pro-Truth Pledge

– Use metrics and analytics to evaluate the efficacy of outreach initiatives

Public Presentations

– Advocate for truth and rational thinking through compelling, data-backed virtual presentations to diverse audiences

– Collaborate with organizations to present for their members

Earned Media and Public Relations

– Develop a media outreach strategy that capitalizes on trending topics related to disinformation

– Engage with journalists and thought leaders to secure earned media opportunities

Political and Public Figure Outreach

– Foster relationships with politicians, public figures, and organizations across the political spectrum who are aligned with our cause of combating disinformation

– Leverage these relationships to secure collaborations that amplify the impact of the Pro-Truth Pledge

Qualifications and Skills (in order of importance)

– Organized, detail-oriented problem solver who initiates action

– Prior experience in fundraising, especially involving phone-based donor outreach

– Demonstrated commitment to civic engagement and rational discourse

– Comfortable delivering virtual presentations

– Capable of engaging with diverse leaders and organizations, including those of left-leaning and secular groups

– Knowledgeable about US politics

– Values truth above ideology

– Proficient in tools including Excel, Google Docs, Mailchimp, Facebook Groups, ChatGPT, and Trello


– Fully remote position

– Desirable to travel to Columbus, Ohio, once a year for a board retreat

Salary and Benefits

– This is a part-time position (25 hours per week)

– $17-$23 per hour, based on experience

– $1 hourly rate increase after a successful 3-month review

– After that, quarterly performance-based bonuses up to $500

– Annual merit-based raise based on quantifiable outcomes

If you have any questions, email protruthpledgehire [at]

To apply, submit your resume and a cover letter detailing your relevant experience to protruthpledgehire [at]

**Application Deadline: November 30, 2023**

Debunking the 5 Myths of Hybrid Work

Employers, beware: there’s a slew of misinformation about remote and hybrid work floating around. If you don’t separate fact from fiction, your company’s future might look as bleak as a polar bear stranded on a melting iceberg.

Don’t be that polar bear. As an expert in hybrid and remote work with over 22 years of experience, I’ve guided 23 companies in just the last three years through adopting a successful return to office and hybrid work arrangements. Using best practices gained from this experience, you can make well-informed decisions that will benefit both your employees and your organization on hybrid and remote work.

Myth #1: Remote Work Inevitably Leads to Lower Productivity

Picture yourself in your favorite pair of pajamas, lying on the couch with your laptop. You might think that this is the epitome of remote work productivity, but you’d be sorely mistaken. Remote work doesn’t necessarily lead to lower productivity levels.

On the contrary, studies show that remote workers generally have higher productivity rates than their in-office counterparts. It’s not about the location; it’s about setting clear expectations, providing the right tools, and fostering a culture of trust and accountability.

Myth #2: Hybrid Work Is Just an Excuse for Slacking Off

This myth is as absurd as suggesting that mixing oil and vinegar creates a new element. Hybrid work is not an excuse for employees to slack off. Instead, it’s a flexible arrangement that allows employees to optimize their work-life balance and maximize their productivity.

When implemented properly, hybrid work gives employees the best of both worlds: the social interactions of the office and the focus of remote work. The key is to create a structured hybrid work policy and ensure that employees understand their responsibilities, regardless of their location.

Myth #3: Collaboration and Innovation Suffer in Remote and Hybrid Work Models

Think of remote and hybrid work as a game of musical chairs. When the music stops, and everyone settles into their virtual seats, collaboration and innovation can still flourish.

It may require adopting new techniques to ensure that remote employees can innovate effectively, but technology has made it possible to bridge the gap. Video conferencing, project management tools, and instant messaging apps can help maintain the flow of communication and collaboration. It’s essential to establish an environment where every voice is heard, and diverse perspectives are valued.

Myth #4: Hybrid Work Leads to Disconnected and Disengaged Employees

Disconnecting remote and hybrid workers from their colleagues is like trying to separate conjoined twins with a butter knife – it’s neither easy nor advisable. With the right strategies in place, employees can remain connected and engaged, regardless of their work location.

Encourage regular check-ins, create virtual water cooler moments, and promote a strong company culture. Remember that empathy, understanding, and open communication are the lifeblood of a connected workforce.

Myth #5: If It’s Not Broken, Don’t Fix It – The Traditional Office Model Is Best

If you believe that sticking to the traditional office model is the safest bet, you’re like a captain refusing to abandon a sinking ship. Times have changed, and so have employee expectations.

Offering remote and hybrid work options can help attract top talent, improve employee satisfaction, and increase retention rates. Companies that fail to adapt to the new normal risk being left behind like relics from a bygone era.

Tackling Misinformation Head-On: The Key to Success

Like a skilled magician debunking a seemingly impossible illusion, it’s time for employers to confront these myths and reveal the truth about remote and hybrid work. By acknowledging and addressing the misinformation and addressing bias, you can create a work environment that fosters productivity, innovation, and employee satisfaction – while securing your company’s competitive edge in the ever-evolving business landscape.

It’s time to let go of outdated assumptions and embrace the future of work. Remote and hybrid work models are here to stay, and companies that adapt, innovate, and create a culture of trust and flexibility will thrive in the long run. So, how can you make this happen? Here are a few steps to get you started:

Step 1: Develop a Clear Hybrid Work Policy

A well-crafted hybrid work policy sets the foundation for success. Be explicit about expectations, including work hours, communication protocols, and performance metrics. Establish guidelines on when employees should work in the office, and make sure to be inclusive and fair in your approach.

Step 2: Provide the Right Tools and Support

Equip your employees with the necessary tools and resources to succeed in a remote or hybrid environment. Invest in reliable technology, provide access to collaboration platforms, and ensure that employees have a comfortable and functional workspace.

Step 3: Foster a Culture of Trust and Accountability

Trust and accountability are the glue that holds remote and hybrid teams together. Encourage open communication, provide regular feedback, and empower employees to take ownership of their work, while addressing biases like proximity bias. Trust that your team members will deliver, and hold them accountable for their performance.

Step 4: Prioritize Employee Well-being and Connection

The well-being of your employees is paramount in a remote or hybrid setting. Provide mental health resources, encourage work-life balance, and create opportunities for employees to connect and bond with one another. Virtual team-building activities, casual online gatherings, and regular check-ins can all help maintain a strong sense of camaraderie and support.

Step 5: Continuously Review and Refine Your Strategy

As the world of work continues to evolve, it’s crucial to remain agile and open to change. Regularly review your remote and hybrid work policies and strategies, gather employee feedback, and make data-driven decisions to ensure your approach stays relevant and effective.


The path to debunking remote and hybrid work myths may not be as smooth as a freshly Zamboni-ed ice rink, but with determination, foresight, and a willingness to embrace change, you can steer your organization toward a future of success and growth. Don’t let the myths hold you back – embrace the new era of work and watch your company soar to new heights.

Image Credit: Flickr/Oregon Department of Transportation

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio.

The Devious Dance of AI-Generated Misinformation

An insidious new threat to truthfulness has emerged: generative AI. With its unparalleled capacity to create persuasive, engaging content, generative AI is a master of deception. So, let’s unravel the mystery of this technological chameleon and learn how to protect ourselves from its digital deceit, as I write about in my new book.

A Wicked Waltz: How Generative AI Spins Its Web

Generative AI, such as the GPT-4, is an extraordinary marvel of modern technology. It’s like a futuristic loom, weaving together words and phrases with incredible finesse, producing content that’s virtually indistinguishable from human-generated material. But with great power comes great responsibility—and the potential for misuse.

Imagine a social media post, dripping with controversy and enticing headlines, crafted by an AI. It spreads like wildfire, garnering likes, shares, and retweets, while the truth is left gasping for air in the smoky aftermath. This, my friends, is the dark side of generative AI, where it becomes a digital Pied Piper, leading us astray with false information.

The Smoke and Mirrors of AI-Generated Fake News

AI-generated misinformation is like a hall of mirrors, distorting reality in countless ways. It can be as subtle as altering the tone of an article to sow discord or as blatant as fabricating entire news stories. The real danger lies in its ability to blend deception seamlessly with the truth, making it increasingly difficult for readers to discern fact from fiction.

Take, for example, a political election. An AI could generate an avalanche of false claims about a candidate, swaying public opinion and potentially altering the course of history. It’s like a hidden puppeteer, pulling the strings of our democracy from the shadows.

Unmasking the Charlatan: Detecting AI-Generated Content

Fortunately, there are ways to unmask the AI-generated charlatan. While it’s true that generative AI can produce content that rivals human creativity, it’s not perfect. There are telltale signs that can betray its true origin.

For instance, AI-generated content can be overly verbose or use phrases that feel slightly off. It may also struggle with complex topics, resulting in inconsistencies or inaccuracies. And while AI-generated content might be grammatically correct, it can lack the human touch—a certain je ne sais quoi that’s difficult to emulate.

So, when you come across a suspicious article or social media post, increase your mental awareness and scrutinize the content for these subtle imperfections.

A Digital Shield: Tools to Combat AI Misinformation

In our quest to defend against AI-generated misinformation, we are not unarmed. Just as AI has advanced, so too have the tools to combat it. These digital shields come in the form of AI content detection tools, designed to spot the telltale signs of AI-generated text.

These tools act like a digital sniffer dog, trained to detect the unique scent of AI-generated content. They analyze patterns, syntax, and other linguistic fingerprints to separate the wheat from the chaff, allowing us to identify and neutralize misinformation before it can cause harm.

The Power of Awareness: A Call to Action

The battle against AI-generated misinformation is not a war we can afford to lose. As generative AI continues to evolve, so too must our defenses. It’s vital that we remain vigilant, educating ourselves and others about the risks and the tools available to combat this digital menace.

So, let us be the guardians of truth, standing firm against the tide of misinformation. Together, we can shine a light on the shadows cast by generative AI, ensuring that we protect the integrity of our information landscape.

An Ounce of Prevention: Encouraging Ethical AI Development

We must also advocate for responsible AI development and implementation. By fostering a culture of transparency and ethics within the tech industry, we can encourage the creation of AI systems that serve the greater good, rather than fueling the fires of misinformation.

To achieve this, we can support organizations that promote ethical AI development and push for regulations that hold AI creators accountable for the potential misuse of their technology. It’s like planting a garden of digital responsibility, nurturing it with the seeds of ethical innovation, and watching it grow into a force for positive change.

A United Front: Collaborating to Combat Misinformation

The fight against AI-generated misinformation cannot be won by any one individual or organization alone. It requires a united front, with experts in technology, journalism, and education working together to build robust defenses against this insidious threat.

By pooling our resources and expertise, we can develop innovative strategies to identify and counteract AI-generated misinformation. This collective effort will not only help us stay one step ahead of the ever-evolving AI, but also strengthen the bonds of trust and cooperation that form the bedrock of our society.

The Long Road Ahead: Remaining Resilient and Adaptable

The battle against AI-generated misinformation is akin to a never-ending game of digital cat and mouse. As AI continues to advance, it’s crucial that we remain adaptable and resilient in the face of this emerging threat.

We must not become complacent, nor should we allow the fear of AI-generated misinformation to paralyze us. Instead, let it galvanize us to action, inspiring us to seek out the truth and champion the cause of accurate, reliable information.

The danger posed by AI-generated misinformation is very real, and it’s up to each of us to take an active role in safeguarding our information landscape. By staying informed, using detection tools, promoting ethical AI development, fostering collaboration, and remaining resilient and adaptable, we can triumph over this digital menace and ensure that the truth always prevails. Together, let’s dance to the beat of accuracy and integrity, leaving the devious dance of AI-generated misinformation behind.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Pro-Truth Pledge Translated to Romanian

Angajament pentru adevăr

Mă angajez să fac eforturi serioase ca să:

Propag adevărul prin:

  • Verificare: voi verifica informațiile pentru a confirma că sunt adevărate înainte de a le accepta și a le distribui.
  • Imparțialitate: voi distribui întregul adevăr, chiar și atunci când în unele privințe nu îmi susține opinia.
  • Transparență: voi dezvălui sursele mele de informare, astfel încât informațiile transmise de mine să poată fi verificate.
  • Clarificare: voi distinge între opinia mea și fapte.

Onorez adevărul prin:

  • Recunoaștere: voi recunoaște informațiile adevărate, chiar dacă eu nu sunt de acord cu acele informații.
  • Reevaluare: voi reevalua informațiile mele atunci când vor fi contestate și le voi retracta dacă nu le voi putea verifica.
  • Apărare: îi vor apăra pe cei care sunt atacați pentru că distribuie informații adevărate, chiar și atunci când în alte privințe nu sunt de acord cu ei.
  • Punere de acord: îmi voi pune de acord opiniile și acțiunile cu informațiile adevărate.

Încurajez adevărul prin:

  • Corectare: voi cere ca informațiile infirmate de surse de încredere să fie retractate, chiar și de aliații mei.
  • Educare: voi informa cu înțelegere pe cei din jur să nu mai folosească surse îndoielnice de informații, chiar dacă aceste surse îmi susțin opinia.
  • Acceptare: voi accepta opiniile experților ca având mai multe șanse de a fi corecte atunci când faptele sunt disputate.
  • Felicitare: voi felicita pe cei care își retrag afirmațiile incorecte și care își actualizează convingerile potrivit adevărului.

Why 43 politicians took the Pro-Truth Pledge in February 2020

Since December 2016, when the Pro-Truth Pledge was launched, to the end of January 2020, 680 politicians took the pledge, so just under 20 per month on average. Yet this number more than doubled in February 2020. Why?

Well, the US primary elections are going on now, for the big election year of 2020. While the Democratic presidential primaries have been taking up nearly all the media bandwidth, elections for Congress, state legislatures, and local races are taking place, too.

So a few volunteers took the time to go to the websites of each state’s election offices using this method, and then sent this series of three emails to the candidates for office. Mind you, that was just three states – Ohio, North Carolina, and Texas. And look at this result!

We’ve consistently found that the primaries are the best time to approach politicians, especially long-shot candidates, who they have the least to lose and most to gain by taking the pledge. But after they take it, more mainstream candidates feel pressured to take the pledge, or look bad in comparison.

Want to get even more politicians to take the pledge? We need many more volunteers to do research and outreach alike. Sign up at this link!

Prefer to make a difference with your money rather than your time? Donate at this link!

Want to virtue signal that you support this effort, without donating or volunteering? Buy Pro-Truth Pledge merchandise at this link!

Image Credit: Pexels/Cytonn Photography

Press Release: Tim Ryan Takes Pro-Truth Pledge

Courtesy Tim Ryan


                              Contact: Gleb Tsipursky, Pro-Truth Pledge Co-Founder




Becomes second Democratic Presidential primary candidate to pledge publicly to truthfulness

OCTOBER 8, 2019, Columbus, Ohio:

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) has signed the Pro-Truth Pledge. This marks a public commitment by the Democratic Party presidential primary candidate to 12 truth-promoting behaviors. The pledge was designed to help public figures and ordinary citizens fight misinformation, protect facts and restore civility. The twelve truth-promoting behaviors of the pledge are described here:

On the Pro-Truth Pledge website, Congressman Ryan stated: “Absent transparency, democracy cannot survive. I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that honesty and clarity are essential for civil and progressive public discourse.” ( Congressman Ryan has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 13th congressional district since 2003.

Congressman Ryan is the second Democratic candidate to sign the Pro-Truth Pledge to date. Congressman Beto O’Rouke signed the pledge during his Texas election campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2018. All of the other Democratic candidates were approached dozens of times through various channels, but refused to take the pledge.

“Congressman Tim Ryan’s public commitment to promoting the truth is extremely important in our current climate of polarization and incivility, where so many politicians put part and ideology above integrity. My hope is that all candidates for the Democratic and the Republican Party presidential primary who are committed to facts will make the public commitment of taking the pledge” says Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, founder of the Pro-Truth Pledge.

The mission of the Pro-Truth Pledge is “to encourage politicians – and everyone else – to commit to truth-oriented behaviors and protect facts and civility.” To date, over 10,000 people have signed the pledge, including 652 government officials. The Pro-Truth Pledge is a project of Intentional Insights, a volunteer-run, educational and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit, devoted to promoting truth, rational thinking, and wise decision-making.

Pro-Truth Pledge and Global Elites

The President-Elect of the EU Commission Ursula van der Leyen, the Austrian Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Secretary Genera Elhadj As Syl, the CEO of Penguin Random House Markus Dohle, billionaire philanthropist and Chair of Bertelsmann Management Group Liz Mohn, and two dozen other high-profile  global elites joined me as participants at Trilogue Salzburg. This yearly event is described by its organizers as follows:

Surrounded by the stimulating atmosphere of the Salzburg Festival, the Trilogue Salzburg convenes leading thinkers, decision-makers and renowned personalities from the arts, civil society, business and politics to engage in cross-cutting, inter-cultural and future-oriented debate.

Each year, the organizers of the conference choose a different future-oriented topic. This year, the topic was “Fragmented Realities – Regaining a Common Understanding of Truth.”

Indeed, this year did not disappoint. Full of prominent leaders – ranging from politicians and business leaders to nonprofit leaders and thought leaders – the conference featured extensive discussions of how to address misinformation and post-truth politics.

I was invited to attend and participate in a roundtable panel there. You can see me second from left in the back in the photo above, and also at 3:17 in this video

As the co-founder of the Pro-Truth Pledge project and President of the Board of Intentional Insights, which runs the pledge project, I’m also a prominent thought leader. I’m a social scientist who published substantial peer-reviewed research on how to effectively fight misinformation and post-truth politics, a public figure who wrote hundreds of articles and gave hundreds of interviews on this topic, and a best-selling author who wrote The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide.

What surprised me most at the event was the percentage of high-profile participants who lacked research-based perspectives on this topic. Conference attendees mostly advocated old-school approaches to addressing the lack of truth and trust in society, such as more education about misinformation and critical thinking. So I found myself at odds with most of the participants.

I pointed out that if such methods worked, we wouldn’t be in the bind that we are, and we wouldn’t need a conference on how to deal with this problem! Research has found that many forms of education about misinformation actually leads to the spread of misinformation. Even the typical ways that journalists try to counteract misinformation can often backfire, causing people to hold more strongly to these myths. So do the ways health experts teach about health misinformation.

That’s why simply saying “we need more education” is a very, very bad idea: the traditional and intuitive way we teach about misinformation is often exactly the wrong thing to do. We need the right education – the specific type of education that research has found to not spread misinformation – which is not what is usually taught! Global elites taking part in the conference can make a meaningful difference in improving education.

Several participants made the claim that the recent wave of misinformation resulted from economic inequality between the rich and poor. In their view, such inequality led to the poor being more willing to believe misinformation. Yet measures of inequality haven’t changed much between 2000 and today, while misinformation has become much more powerful and prevalent in the last few years. 

Instead, the key difference is the astronomically quick growth of social media as the source from which people get their news, and the prevalence of misinformation on social media, since tech companies aren’t doing much to filter out fake news. The global elites who attended the conference have the power to address the inaction of tech companies, and indeed some conference attendees are already starting to do so.

Hopefully, some of the research-based perspectives shared by myself and a couple of other participants familiar with cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics on promoting ethical and truthful behavior will make some impact. I shared some of the points about education and many other topics informed by my scholarship and writing.

Another example. One of the other attendees was Dhruv Ghulati, co-founder of Factmata, who personally signed the pledge and whose organization signed it as well. He discussed the need to reward – financially and otherwise – high-quality journalism, instead of the current financial incentives rewarding click-baity journalism. Providing financial incentives for such journalism is the essence of Factmata.

Most exciting of all, Pro-Truth Pledge donors gathered sufficient funding to make an early, pre-release run of my forthcoming book co-written with Tim Ward, called Pro Truth: A Practical Plan for Putting Truth Back Into Politics, available for pre-order here.

The book describes how we can turn back the tide of post-truth politics, fake news, and misinformation that is devastating our democracy through the Pro-Truth Movement: a movement which has already begun, and is making a tangible impact. I was able to make personal, signed gifts of copies of the book to 23 out of 30 conference attendees. My hope is that it will make a real difference to the fight against misinformation to have such high-profile people read this book. My gratitude to the donors who helped make it happen!

Remember that it’s your activism around the Pro-Truth Pledge – from the smallest and most easy-to-do things like spreading word on social media, to more in-depth volunteering, to your financial contributions which enabled me to make the trip – that make this sort of impact on top world leaders possible. So please keep supporting the pledge, by promoting it to your social network, by investing your time, and investing your money, to fight the wave of misinformation and post-truth politics that may drown democracies in the US and around the world without your help!

P.S. Don’t forget to pre-order the book now!

Image Credit: Bertelsmann Stiftung

How to Craft Strong Messages for Truth Using the Four Cs

By Tim Ward

We believe in the power of the truth. Yet in the realm of politics and public debate, all too often, lies seem more powerful. This is because some politicians are very good at telling people the kinds of lies they want to hear. Gleb Tsipursky speaks of these as “comfortable lies” in the forthcoming book he and I have written own the subject, Pro Truth: A Practical Plan for Putting Truth Back into Politics (Changemakers Books, 2020). “Comfortable lies” easily fit the mental frames of the audience, affirming their worldview, reinforcing their biases. Truth is all to often uncomfortable. Reality challenges our expectations, our plans. And so when communicating the truth, it’s important to take extra care in using language that draws people’s attention, that is easy as possible to understand, and that is designed to stick.

This is especially important when it comes to communicating your key messages, whether in a speech, article, or even a tweet! Great communicators throughout history have intuitively grasped how to craft powerful messages. In fact, we can illustrate the Four Cs for crafting strong messages with just one passage from a master orator: Britain’s wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.

Here’s a paragraph from Churchill’s famous speech delivered on 4 June 1940 (found in the middle of the 1-minute video, here). At this time, many countries had been defeated by Germany, and Britain had suffered major military losses. Indeed, by some accounts, only half the British people expected their country to continue the war. The rest were resigned to defeat. Churchill’s speech rallied the nation:

…Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Even if you are reading these words for the first time, you can doubtless sense the power in them. The speech was turned into placards and posted in homes and offices throughout the nation. Now let’s examine how this one paragraph encapsulates four key characteristics of a powerful message:

1. Concise

Get to the core of your message using simple, easy-to-grasp words and short sentences.

Churchill’s message of resolve was conveyed perfectly in the short phrases that make up the key sentence of the speech. Delivered aloud, each phrase would sound like a separate sentence:

“We shall fight on the beaches,

We shall fight on the landing grounds,

We shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

We shall fight in the hills;

We shall never surrender… “

Although the speech as a whole has a reading comprehension level suitable for a university student, the core message has a reading level that a 10-year-old could easily understand.

One of our favorite examples of the effect of needlessly long sentences and words comes from the UK’s Plain English Campaign:

Before: “High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process.”

After: “Children need good schools if they are to learn properly.”

This is not to say that ideas must be oversimplified. Simplicity eases comprehension. We get the meaning of short, familiar words quickly. Whereas extenuated anomalous verbiage necessitates additional assiduousness. You get the point: longer, less familiar words force our brains to shift gears, slow down and work harder to process the meaning of each combination of letters.

The same holds true with sentences. When we hear or read a sentence, we have to hold all the words in our head until the end in order to make meaning of the sentence.

2. Concrete

Use strong, concrete words one can visualize. Avoid jargon, technical terms, acronyms and abstract language. A good communicator expresses ideas in concrete language, so the audience can literally “see” what the speaker is talking about.

We say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When we speak in concrete language, the image of what we are describing springs to life in the listener’s mind. Why is this so? Most people are familiar with right-brain/left-brain theory (these days, this theory of localization itself is being questioned, but the idea of two different ways of mental processing still make sense). You doubtless know that the brain’s “left hemisphere” processes words, numbers and abstractions while the “right hemisphere” processes images, emotions, special relationships and a holistic sense of things. The “left bran” abstractions tend to fade quickly in our memory. But the vivid images created in the “right brain” tend to leave an imprint that lasts longer and is more easily recalled.

3. Connected (to what we care about)

Your listeners must be inspired to care. Relevance is crucial to getting an audience to pay attention, remember, and desire to spread an idea. Our example from Churchill seems like an easy one when it comes to relevance – of course his audience cared. The Nazis were bombing them and there was the very real possibility of Britain being invaded. Even so, historians have written that many people felt this was not their war, but a war of “the high-up people who use long words and have different feelings.” By describing fighting taking place in Britain’s beaches, fields, streets and hills, Churchill literally brought home to his audience what was at stake for them. It’s also important to note how powerfully Churchill uses “We shall” to create the sense of intention shared by all Britons.

To discern how to best connect with your audience, think about these questions:

• Why should the audience care about your message?

• How does it affect your audience’s lives?

• Does this message appeal to their interests, especially higher values such as: national identity, concern for their children, collective future?

• If your audience is not directly involved, are others affected? Why would your audience care about these others?

• What power does this audience have to affect the outcome? (Are we all in this together?)

4. Catchy

A powerful message is made to stick, and our language is filled with lots of tricks that make words memorable. We also have sound-processing parts of the brain that respond to alliteration, repetition or rhyme. These turns of phrase add a special kind of “ring” to our language. Have you ever heard a short burst of a once-popular song, a song you hadn’t heard in decades, and suddenly you found yourself singing along with the lyrics? Simple literary devices like rhyming and rhythm help us tune in and retain the words. The ring makes them resonate, like a bell. This is evident in the power of Churchill’s speech, where he repeats the refrain “We shall fight” over and over again.

Churchill’s short speech gave the English the resolve they needed to resist the Nazis. With allied help, they won the war and changed the course of history.

What messages do we need to hear today that will give us the courage and the will to overcome humanity’s greatest challenges? To prevent a climate catastrophe? To preserve democracy in the face of rising authoritarianism? To protect the natural world from extinction? To end violence against women, racial prejudice, poverty, terrorism, and addiction?

Use the 4 Cs to give your words the ring of truth. Craft your messages to change the world.


Here’s a practical methodology using the 4Cs that you can use whenever you want to turn your idea into a powerful message:

1. Write down your idea.

2. Underline the jargon and abstract concepts;

3.Replace the jaron and concepts with concrete words that describe things your can see and touch.

4. Make it relevant to your target audience by evoking what they care about.

5. Delete whatever is not essential.

6. Break it into short sentences.

7. Make it memorable with catchy words and phrases.

In sum, you can use the Four Cs – Concise, Concrete, Connected and Catchy – to make your messages easy to grasp, easy to repeat, and make your listeners want to pass your ideas on to others; in short, to turn your ideas into powerful messages.

For more…

Please turn to my book, The Master Communicator’s Handbook, co-authored with my partner Teresa Erickson. In these pages, we share with you what we’ve learned over 30 years as professional communicators and advisors to leaders of global organizations. As authors, our goal is to give you the tools you need to become the most effective and powerful communicator you can be. You can read the first chapter for free, using the “Look inside” feature on

Note: This article has been adapted from The Master Communicator’s Handbook, and recently appeared in my blog on

Personal Message from Steve Monge

Why Invest in the Truth…

Do you want to 2020 US Presidential Election to be as filled with lies and deception as the 2016 one? If you’re reading this, you took the Pro-Truth Pledge, so I’m guessing you don’t.

And I don’t either. I’m the treasurer of Intentional Insights, the 501(c)(3) educational nonpartisan nonprofit that sponsors the Pro-Truth Pledge project, and I’m passionate about fighting lies and advocating for rational thinking and truth-seeking. That’s why I devote my time and money to supporting the pledge and the truthfulness that it promotes.

Do you believe, as I do, that as the 2020 election approaches in the US, it is vital to send politicians, journalists and public figures a clear message that truth matters to our democracy? I hope you’ll agree that wherever post-truth politicians win by lying, their victories pave the way for corruption and authoritarianism.

Peer-reviewed research shows as well as individual stories show that the pledge is effective in changing incentives for both private citizens and public figures – including politicians – to be more truthful. So I hope you’ll join me in supporting the pledge.

Your support helps by:

1. Bringing the Pro Truth Pledge to the attention of politicians, journalists and public figures, and giving them a meaningful incentive to sign it. We do this by coordinating outreach and training to volunteers, and crafting materials to make a compelling case for signing the pledge.

2. Motivating citizens to make truth an issue in the 2020 election (as well as upcoming elections in other countries). Aware citizens can raise truthfulness as an issue in town hall meetings, asking candidate if they took the pledge. We also intend to focus our efforts on creating and supporting student groups and building advocates for the pledge on campuses that will inspire the next generation to make truth a shared value. This will counteract the widespread cynical view that “post truth” politics as inescapable.

3. Promoting truthfulness and the pledge on social media. We do this through an active campaign of seeding and spreading memes, videos and articles on the value of truthfulness online. Motivating people to fact-check and avoid spreading “fake news” prevents the destructive effect of online disinformation campaigns.

Today, the Pro-Truth Pledge costs about $4,000 per month in operating costs. This is the minimum budget to maintain the websites, oversee outreach activities, coordinate volunteers, and provides the relevant administrative support.

Currently, the passion and financial commitment of the pledge founders, Gleb Tsipursky and Agnes Vishnevkin keep the organization afloat. They have been providing much of the required financial resources in recent months to keep the Pro-Truth Pledge going. However, this is not sustainable, as their budget is running low. We need your support

If you believe in the goals of the Pro-Truth Pledge, then it is time for you to join the Pro-Truth Movement with a monthly membership ($20), a one-time donation, or whatever you can afford to contribute. Are YOU willing to put truth back into politics and civic life? You have the power to do so by donating now.

Truthfully Yours,

Steve Monge

P.S. Your donation is tax deductible in the US, and I hope you join the pledge as a member by donating right now