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The Week in Fact-Checking: ‘Please stop using my face’ in your misleading news

The Weather Channel and its meteorologists have a message for Breitbart News, and they got right to the point in the headline on their recent article: “Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans.”

Quote of the week
“Part of the reason fake news is so easy to believe is that fringe stories no longer read or sound all that different from too many of the real stories. Too often, both have little or no sourcing; they lack context and they get disseminated with almost no fact-checking.” — Greta Van Susteren, former Fox News anchor

The Pope on fake news: Don’t believe that crap
Using scatological references and clinical psychology terms, Pope Francis on Wednesday said spreading fake news is a sin and a sickness. His short statement prompted a long list of Twitter reactions.

Promise-tracking on the streets of Buenos Aires
Like many other fact-checking organizations, Argentina’s Chequeado tracked presidential promises to evaluate whether they had been accomplished or not. What they did next was a little different, however: They translated some of their digital findings into more accessible formats in Plaza de Mayo, not far from President Macri’s Casa Rosada.

The first “post-truth” resignation?
While announcing his resignation, Prime Minister Renzi asked journalists to be vigilant in this “post-truth” era. Renzi’s resignation came after a referendum campaign that was marred by Facebook fakes. An analysis by Pagella Politica found that two out of the top three campaign stories with the highest engagement were totally fake. (English-language overview here).

Fake news around the world
A homemade video about the suffocating level of taxation in France went viral; and after the creator got fact-checked, he tried to rectify it but his correction was nowhere near as popular. Libération covers the sorry story. Fake news seems particularly dangerous in the Philippines and in South Africa. The Guardian writes about the phenomenon worldwide.

A requiem for facts? 
“There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore [as] facts. And so Mr. Trump’s tweet[s] amongst…a large part of the population are truth,” a former Trump campaign surrogate told listeners of the popular Diane Rehm Show.

Time for ‘lies of the year’ 
Ireland’s is taking votes from readers for its first-ever “Lie of the Year” award. PolitiFact, which has been awarding the “Lie of the Year” since 2009, gears up for 2016’s contest. The “Readers Choice” poll is here.

Why people stand by debunked claims 
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota talked with a group of Trump voters this week to find out why they believe that “millions and millions” of illegal immigrants voted in the U.S. presidential election. She literally had an SMH moment. (Elsewhere on CNN: Vice President-Elect Mike Pence seems to find misinformation “refreshing.”)

Watch the Video

Fake news, race and bias 
Brando Simeo Starkey, an editor with ESPN’s The Undefeated, talks about race and fake news — and who really needs a civic lesson. Read it.

Help us learn about fact-checking
Please help us gather data about fact-checking! If you’re a journalist who fact-checked the 2016 U.S. elections, please take our survey (or pass it along to an appropriate colleague). We’ll share the results in January.

Does science reporting need its own Rotten Tomatoes?
Columnist and scientist Phil Williamson writes about his run-in with Breitbart News over climate change, and suggests that the scientific community harness its collective powers and rate science writing like Rotten Tomatoes rates movies. Read it.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Debunking pioneer Craig Silverman will be BuzzFeed’s media editor. (2) A TV station takes viewers on the road to help them fact-check stories. (3) launches with an educational, rather than informational, mission. (4) is launching its Polygraph blog to help people fight fake news. (5) BuzzFeed News figures out where Donald Trump gets his news from. (6) More evidence, possibly, that repeating something makes it seem true. (7) Facebook is admitting it needed to do more about fake news and tried something out, probably inadvertently. (8) More partisan fact-checkers, hurray. (9) More depressing news about how many people believe fake news. (10) A look at FactMata, a Google DNI-funded automated fact-checking project.


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