Political Mendacity and the Rise of Media Fact-Checkers
More newspapers and television stations are fact-checking the claims of politicians, and the public seems to love it, according to factchecking practitioners and two new studies released today at a conference sponsored by FactCheck.org and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
“You get 100 e-mails saying thank-you for doing this,” said Colin Benedict, news managing editor of WISC-TV in Madison, WI. “It puts us in a great position. Why wouldn’t we want to be providing a service that our viewers want?”
Another conference participant, Mark Matthews, a political reporter at San Francisco’s KGO-TV, said viewers in a survey rated his station’s factchecking features as third out of 16 possible “most compelling reasons” to watch local news.
The conference in Washington, D.C., “Pants on Fire, Political Mendacity and the Rise of Media Fact-Checkers,” also included Bill Adair, Washington bureau chief, St. Petersburg Times (“PolitiFact.com”); Michael Dobbs, Washington Post (“The Fact Checker”); and Jake Tapper, senior national correspondent, ABC News, all of whom were on the media panel. Another panel included two political consultants: Ladonna Lee, a Republican political strategist with Foley & Lardner, LLP, and Anita Dunn, a Democratic media strategist with Squier Knapp Dunn Communications.
by Jay Mallin