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The Week in Fact-Checking: Post-election beatdown

Media self-loathing is flooding the internet. Finger-wagging critiques have been directed at many segments of the industry. Poll-aggregators failed to properly represent the uncertainty of the result. Cable news flooded the airwaves with uncritical and senseless Trump coverage. Pundits didn’t bother to dig beyond the smart take on their Twitter feed. But what does this campaign mean for fact-checkers?

Quote of the week
“The lies that many Americans now believe, and that make it so difficult to move the country on the big issues, go to existential facts. A government of the people requires the people to conduct an honest assessment of their world — something too many citizens are no longer capable of doing.” — Timothy Egan, New York Times

How did misinformation impact the U.S. election?
Media experts from CNN, The Washington Post and Pew Research Center dissect the scourge of bad facts in the presidential election. Listen to them on the Diane Rehm Show.

Quite the front
The Toronto Star tallied Trump falsehoods compiled by two reporters. The result looked like this:

Trio of Brazilian fact-checkers tackle turmoil
Three fact-checking operations have blossomed amid the political chaos in Brazil. And in a country where only one major newspaper even bothers to run corrections, that fact-checking power could have a significant impact. Read it on Poynter.

Really, it’s not all politics
The U.S. presidential election is over but that doesn’t mean the newly energized fact-checking community should fade away. Writing for Poynter, Tamar Wilner points out that even though “politics is baked in” to the current form of fact-checking, the battle against misinformation should include topics like science, crime and even entertainment.

But in case you missed debate fact-checking…
The French presidential primaries for leadership of the center-right Républicains are underway. Fact-checkers at France Info and Le Monde published video overviews of the politicians’ spin.

Do men get a pass on telling lies?
Voters may trust a male politician who persistently ignores the truth simply because he “speaks with [male] authority,” say researchers who’ve studied gender and lies. Read the NBC News story.

Your fact-checking word of the day
Buncombe. We’ll use it in a sentence (from an article on how to pitch stories to media outlets): “Journalists are renowned for their sensitive buncombe sensors and fact-checking is an integral part of their job.”  Look it up.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Libération Désintox is hiring. (2) Fact-checking is one of 10 “positive things” that came out of the U.S. elections. (3) Why Facebook probably won’t solve its fake news problem – and how local newsrooms can strike back. (4) Yes, there is factual hope for humanity. (5) Lessons learned in launching a student-run fact-checking program.  (6) The show must go on.

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