New research shows fact-checking is a measurably effective tool for correcting political misinformation and increases the audiences’ political knowledge. It is also growing at a dramatic rate.
When I came to Annenberg and launched FactCheck.org in December 2003, I had a single research assistant and practically no competition. Now, nine years later, FactCheck.org has an excellent staff, and so many other journalists are fact-checking politicians that one media critic calls it “the ever-growing factchecking industry.” So I think …
Here at FactCheck.org, we’re always excited to see news organizations devoting time to fact-checking. So we were pleased to see that the Associated Press had decided to fact-check Sarah Palin’s new memoir, "Going Rogue." Putting 11 reporters on the task strikes us as overkill, but that might just be because it’s four more than our entire staff. Still, we’re glad to see others taking up the fact-checking standard.
Not everyone was a fan, though. The Columbia Journalism Review‘s Greg Marx is unimpressed with the AP’s efforts.
Someone whose work we criticized a fair bit in 2004 and 2006 explains why, perhaps, so little was heard from MoveOn.org and other groups in 2008 in this piece fromNational Public Radio. Money was scarce, but other factors — such as the presence of factcheckers — may have had an impact.
Have you heard about how Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet? What about how Iraq was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center? Or maybe the one about how George W. Bush has the lowest IQ of any U.S. president ever? Chances are pretty good that you might even believe one (or more) of these claims. And yet all three are false. At FactCheck.org our stock in trade is debunking these sorts of false or misleading political claims,