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The Week in Fact-Checking: Wrong news is not ‘fake news’ but do readers know that?

In readers’ eyes, is there a difference between “fake” news and wrong news? The credibility of traditional media outlets seems to hinge in large part on the answer to this question. On Poynter, the story of two big media corrections separated by six years and the fake news panic.

Quote of the week
“The truth is, every lie matters. Every. Single. One. The big ones — the pants-on-fire whoppers — lead the nightly news and become trending topics on Twitter as they should. But a worrisome trend is starting, where we are so overtaken by the gall of the big lie that we have started to accept the small ones.” — Christina Reynolds, writing for Cosmopolitan

International fact-checking census, 2017 edition
The Duke Reporters’ Lab found 114 dedicated fact-checking initiatives in 47 countries in its latest census. Growth was concentrated outside of the United States.

Enough with the fact-a-geddon headlines
There are plenty of limitations to how humans process facts. But headlines like “Fact-checking doesn’t change people’s minds” and “Why facts don’t change our minds” portray an unnaturally bleak reality. A study published yesterday concludes that fact-checking may be an effective medicine against misinformation. However, it doesn’t seem likely to move people at the ballot box. (More studies on the effects of fact-checking here: 1, 2, 3).

What’s with fact-checking in Germany?
All major EU countries have at least one continuous, dedicated political fact-checking project. Germany’s outfits have been on-again, off-again. Libération explores whether this is a question of journalistic exceptionalism or political culture.

Fact-checking an ‘online witch hunt’
Despite her quite logical protests, a Virginia college student was the target of viral fakery on social media. “It takes a little bit of digital literacy to not make a mistake and accuse the wrong people. Innocent people can get caught up in this,” a college professor lamented. Read the update.

Shadowing the Spanish TV fact-checkers
Cristina Tardáguila spent two weeks in Madrid shadowing Ana Pastor and Natalia Hernández of El Objetivo. She came back with 10 top tips for television fact-checking.

A real Macedonian journalist fights back
Even if you can’t locate the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on a map, you probably think of fake-news factories when that country is mentioned. PRI interviews an investigative journalist who’s trying to repair the region’s reputation.

Authority, logic and fact-checking
Fact-checking will struggle when the originating authority does not recognize the importance of science, evidence or facts, says an archaeology professor.

Not fake news
You would hope that the social media team at The New York Times could use the term “fake news” accurately. Clearly not on Oscar night:

Choose your weapon in the fake news battle
The pen, the price tag or the flashlight? Those are the choices Facebook could make to fight its fake news problem, says investor Michael Dearing. And the flashlight works best, he tells Recode Decode’s Kara Swisher in this podcast.

Fake news, real hatred
VOA interviews Africa Check editor Anim van Wyk about how false information is fueling xenophobia in South Africa.

Fact-checking tips
A West Virginia newspaper editor shows readers, step by step, why a local viral story is not to be believed.

Lots of fact-checking fun
It’s Carnival in Brazil, so Lupa asked some doctors to fact-check preconceptions about party-related topics, such as hangover cures. … Comedian Jimmy Fallon presents TNN, a fake news network. … Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “trolling” the White House on Twitter.

11 quick fact-checking links
(1) Here’s what it’s like to live in a “non-truth” country. (2) More on the collaborative French fact-checking project CrossCheck. (3) Fake news vs. primary school kids. (4) Live fact-checking in Argentina.  (5) Here’s where to get legal help in obtaining documents from stubborn sources.  (6) Andrew Puzder blames “a tsunami of fake news” for his failed nomination as U.S. labor secretary. (7) Wired explains how the term “fake news” became meaningless. (8) A writer says his fake tweets were “satire” but the Twitterverse disagreed, angrily. (9) How misinformation affects the stock market and your retirement. (10) Have you registered for Global Fact 4 in Madrid? (11) A structured overview of how ad money fuels fake news.


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