The screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote an article on prioritizing "Truth over Accuracy". He tells stories from his movies The Social Network and Being the Ricardos, of where he moves away from accuracy to get to the truth of a situation.
My friend and teacher, the late William Goldman, said of his Academy Award-winning screenplay for All the President's Men, "If I'm telling the true story of the fall of the President of the United States, the last thing I'm going to do is make anything up." I understand what he meant in context, but the fact is, as soon as he wrote "FADE IN," he'd committed to making things up. People don't speak in dialogue, and their lives don't play out in a series of scenes that form a narrative. Dramatists do that. They prioritize truth over accuracy. Paintings over photographs.
As scientists we focus on accuracy, as we should in our scientific publications. However being fully accurate can distract from the "truth", the underlying message you want to say, particularly in the title, abstract and introduction of our papers
Even more so when we promote our research to the public. A science writer once lamented to me that scientists would focus too much on the full accuracy of the science and the names behind it, even though neither serves the reader well.
Reminds me of the recent Netflix movie Don't Look Up satirizes scientists trying to communicate an end-of-the-world event to an untrusting society. I wish it was a better movie but still worth watching just to see Leo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play scientists frustrated with their ability to communicate a true existential crisis to the government and the general public.
So how should we as scientists try to frame our messaging to get people onboard, particularly when we say things they don't want to hear? Most importantly, how do scientists regain trust in a world where trust is in short supply. Perhaps we should paint more and photograph less.