Weighing the impact of fact-checking during Election 2012


Brendan Nyhan mulls the impact of fact-checking during this election:

Can the media stop politicians from misleading the public? That’s the question on the minds of many journalists and commentators after Paul Ryan’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention, which continued the Romney campaign’s pattern of disingenuous and misleading attacks on President Obama. … The underlying problem with these analyses is the misguided conclusion that factchecking is a failure if it does not eliminate deception. From a scientific perspective, however, factchecking is effective if it reduces the prevalence of misleading claims relative to an otherwise identical world that lacks factchecking, which seems likely to be the case (though we lack direct evidence on this point).

Paul Waldman is nevertheless saddened that fact-checking “seems to be having zero impact on the Romney campaign’s behavior.” Meanwhile, a reader writes:

Don’t you find it odd that we now treat journalists and fact-checkers as separate creatures? When Wolf Blitzer suggests that the fact-checkers may take issue with aspects of Ryan’s speech, what does that make him? What does journalist even mean?

Via The Daily Dish.



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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.