[...] In this election, with conspiracy theories and mistruths flying, [...] fact-checking has taken center stage. It has been more than just a sub-genre of journalism, but has been prominent in what would otherwise be straight-news stories — and even right on the small banner right at the bottom of your TV screen on cable news.
There's a tremendous appetite for fact-checking. NPR fans want it, as evidenced by this survey and the number of people who read our fact checks. And the format has grown at an astounding rate. There were 29 fact-checking brands in the United States in 2015, by one estimate, and 24 of them had been created after 2010.
And yet despite all that truth-squadding, lies live on, (un)healthy as ever. Politicians keep spouting falsehoods, and Americans keep believing them.
So has fact-checking failed? Has American politics at last reached its final destination — a desolate, dusty, God-forsaken, Cormac-McCarthian, "post-fact" landscape? We dug into the research, and we have an answer:
However, it also isn't nearly as effective as many fact-checkers/fact-check aficionados would like it to be. Research on fact checks shows that many people don't expose themselves to them, and even those who do don't always come away believing in new information.
So here's what we know about what works, as well as what keeps people believing falsehoods that have been truth-squadded into the ground. [...]
You do not have to trust the fact checkers. You can check their work.