Do Fact Checks Matter?

Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2016 06:30 pm
Thought-provoking analysis of the role and limitations of fact-checking in journalism. Published a couple of months ago, but no less relevant now:

Do Fact Checks Matter?

[...] 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. [...]

Click here to read the whole thing...
Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2016 06:39 pm
My question has to be, how do we know the fact checkers are accurate or even honest.
Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2016 07:03 pm
A good fact checker gives their sources. Facts are based on evidence.

When Trump says that Hillary started the birther controversy there is video and written evidence from the time. When Trump says that millions of illegal aliens who are voting, there are voting records.

Facts are facts and you easily see from primary sources when they are factual. You do not have to trust the fact checkers. You can check their work.

That is why it is so frustrating that Trump voters are basing an argument on obvious untruths.

Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2016 07:22 pm
maxdancona wrote:

You do not have to trust the fact checkers. You can check their work.

Finally! An answer to the old question "Who watches the watchers?" We do.
cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2016 07:30 pm
True! If fact checkers lose their credibility, it ends up being our personal responsibility.
It's easy to check the lies of both Trump and Clinton. Many of Trump's statements are mostly (over 60%) "false" or "pants on fire."
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