The Week in Fact-Checking: See BS, say BS
The American Press Institute presents a roundup from the world of fact-checking, debunking and truth-telling — just in case you haven’t been paying as much attention as we do.
Quote of the week
“Make ‘context’ and ‘fact-checking’ your watchwords. Call out BS, early and often. Research says that when falsehoods are repeated, they gain traction. …We publish our fact checks in one-time stories and then file them on dedicated pages. We don’t repeat them as often as the pols repeat their questionable claims.” — From Jill Geisler’s New Year’s resolutions for news managers, Columbia Journalism Review
Regardless of what his political future holds, Donald Trump’s candidacy will be studied and cited by social scientists for years to come. Slate kicks it off with psychological studies that might explain Trump’s apparent fact-checking imperviousness. And the Skeptical Inquirer ponders research on politics, anger and “Trump-Rage.”
The fact-checking gold mine
“Get your popcorn ready,” says HonestAds.org as it launches its playlist of 2016 presidential campaign ads. As a bonus — and for comparison’s sake — the non-profit/non-partisan organization tacks on some of the most notorious campaign ads in history. And for efficiency’s sake, if you want to see a mashup of just one particularly chatty candidate’s misstatements, TheWrap has you covered.
Fact-checking the 2016 elections
Instead of the “generalists who mainly cover the political horse race,” specialty reporters — from economics, national security and other beats — should be assigned to fact-check presidential candidates on the campaign trail, says columnist Martin Schram. It’s one way news organizations can cut down on errors and the tendency to publish false statements without scrutiny. Read it.
Fact-checkers poured the coffee and opened a gazillion tabs on their browsers to do some quick fact-checking this week. Mona Chalabi at the Guardian US posted a fact check of President Obama’s gun control speech shortly after Tuesday’s live televised address ended. And WNYC pulled a couple of fact-checkers into the studio for live, on-the-air fact-checking of listeners’ call-in questions.
Tips for better fact-checking
The International Journalists’ Network has compiled a list of top tools for verifying and fact-checking everything from social media to global problems. Try it.
Fact-checking: Not just for politics
Can a skyscraper really soar above the clouds? Atlantic Media’s CityLab takes a look at claims about the new Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Read it.
Some fact-checking fun
Happy new year — here’s some extra fact-checking frivolity for you. First up: The Arizona Republic reviews a comedy show in which comedians fact-check each other onstage. … When Kanye West releases an album called “Facts,” he’s just asking to be fact-checked and Bustle obliges. (Preview: “If Nike Ain’t Have Drizzy, Man They Wouldn’t Have Nothin” is not precisely a true statement.) … Never trust the internet for fun facts, admonishes Gizmodo’s Factually, which blames a drug-fueled Christmas party for a recent viral post.
For brilliant college students and those who know one: The American Press Institute is accepting applications for its summer fellowship program. Deadline is Jan. 17, 2016, so apply soon!
Photos: Flickr Creative Commons