Scientists often simplify descriptions of their research so that they can inform public opinion and guide social policy. These simplified stories might, in some cases, introduce unwanted consequences. Here, we introduce what we term the bullet-point bias: the tendency to make diluted, provocative scientific claims in order to engage the public. We explore the psychological and systemic factors that produce this effect and use two case studies to show how it can influence public opinion in ways that impede social progress. The first example comes from research on implicit attitudes, where vigorous marketing of an abridged, provocative story about psychology’s ability to assess the prevalence of a consequential new form of racial bias might be reinforcing public perceptions that contribute to racial tension and discrimination. The second comes from research on “wise interventions,” where media coverage of simple solutions to complex problems can promote blame of the historically disadvantaged for their circumstances. We close by considering issues psychologists might consider when deciding whether or not to engage the media with simple stories and the societal implications of engaging in diluted scientific communication.