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The Week in Fact-Checking: Is this really the end of truth?

If you’re following media coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign or the Brexit referendum, you can’t have missed headlines announcing the end of truth. Apparently 2016 is the year when facts, unloved and marginalized, have finally been banished from the political sphere. Is the media overreacting? Read more on Poynter.

Quote of the week
“As journalists continue reporting on the Great Dissembler, they need to be just as skilled and persistent at what they do. They should not let Trump, or any candidate, get away with lying to citizens.” — Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post

Why do we keep falling for old news?
While some of the fakery that surfaces on social media during breaking news events is recently fabricated, some of those stories and photos have been recycled many times. These should be easier to spot.  Is there anything media outlets and social networks can do about it?

Tips for fact-checking numbers
Statistician David Spiegelhalter loves numbers, so imagine his anxiety when political candidates and government leaders abuse them. He’s come up with a list of “classic ways in which politicians and spin doctors meddle with statistics.”  Read it in The Guardian.

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Seriously cool fact-checking GIFs
Chequeado is partnering with UNO to better reach millennials with fact-checking. One of the tools they will use? Awesome GIFs like the one below, of course. (The fact check is here).

Fact-checking terrorism and attempted coups
Somber but important fact-checking from France and Turkey in the past week: Le Monde’s Décodeurs debunks claims of gruesome torture at the Bataclan; Buzzfeed looks at the fake stories out of Nice; and First Draft News investigated fake and misattributed photos that circulated during the attempted coup in Turkey.

If only facts were prettier…
Writing for FiveThirtyEight, Christie Aschwanden explains the scientific research behind why people are sometimes perfectly willing to believe outright lies. One reason: “When the choice is an appealing fib versus an ugly truth, it’s human nature to prefer the answer we wish were true.”

Fact-checking Hollywood3680658023_f25e44fdea_z
What’s the difference between the new “Ghostbusters” movie and real life? First of all, real ghostbusters are called “metaphysical investigators” and secondly, they have no slime or nuclear weapons. Toronto Life discusses ghost life with two members of Canada’s Paranormal Seekers.

This widget brings fact-checking where readers want it
A new Chrome extension by Serbian fact-checkers Istinomer lets users easily highlight fishy claims they want to see verified. Istinomer is hoping to support fact-checkers elsewhere develop a similar tool. Read about it and get the code.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Chequeado director Laura Zommer is interviewed by local Colombian site El Heraldo.  (2) TheJournal.ie’s Fact Check now has its own Twitter handle. (3) Diane Francis has put a $50,000 bounty on HeroX for anyone who can create a “nearly-instant system of fact-checking.” (4) Africa Check collects a bunch of fake AIDS cures (5) Aos Fatos’ Tai Nalon spoke to On The Media on their fact-checking of Dilma’s fiscal maneuvers. (6)CNET selects the best fact-checking apps, including PolitiFact’s, for following the Republican National Convention. (7) Also, watch out for zombie facts at the conventions.

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