One thing President Donald Trump can take credit for is getting more jobs for fact checkers as his administration has created quite a massive need for them.
Whether it’s Trump’s tweets or just comments at meetings or in interviews, it’s created a niche market for many to check his facts. In today’s world, it’s rather easy which logically seems that would make telling the truth a smarter choice. When you create a world of ‘alternate facts,’ and when you have a team with Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway spinning these ‘facts,’ it only encourages continuing on that path.
A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
One huge mistake Trump tweet was corrected by a Parisian lady which went viral on Friday.
Dear Mr Trump,
thank you for your concern.
A man has indeed attacked a soldier with two machetes this morning in Paris.
It wasn’t in the Louvre Museum, it was in the Carrousel du Louvre, which is a mall. (Less symbolic than what you’re implying.)
He didn’t attack any tourist (or french people -apart from the soldier- either, by the way, thank you again for your concern) and he was instantly attacked back by another soldier, and wounded.
The crowd has been kept inside after that by order of the army for security reasons, but not for any kind of hostage situation. (Your tweet is -voluntarily?- ambiguous)
France is not on edge again, at all. I learnt about the attack 10 hours after it happened (even though it was in the media earlier), and I spent 1h30 in another mall in Paris at lunch today without any kind of military reinforcement (I mean, just the usual since Charlie Hebdo or nov 2015 attacks).
Oh and by the way, the man is from Egypt, you know, the country you didn’t ban from entering the US (because of your personnal affairs?)
Again, thank you for your concern, but don’t use France as an excuse for your arseholery. You’re the one encouraging fear with your distortion of truth.
PS : GET SMART U.S. : Don’t believe anything that he says without checking facts first.
Media outlets are more aggressively fact-checking political statements – a function often pushed into the background when campaigns end – finding innovative new formats and seeing keen interest among consumers. An administration that views that the press as the opposition is reinvigorating it.
Someday, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway’s invocation of “alternative facts” on NBC’s “Meet the Press” may be cited as a galvanizing moment for journalism.
“We’re writing about a president who makes quite a number of misstatements,” said Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post reporter whose regular fact-checks award “Pinocchios” based on the magnitude and brazenness of false claims. “This has increased our workload and increased the level of interest in fact-checking.”
The number of unique visitors to Kessler’s web page in January was 50 percent higher than in October, its previous busiest month, and 15 times greater than in January 2013, he said.
The media routinely publishes Media Fact Checks on political discourse. Last week, they premiered an aggregation of disputed political statements under the headline, “A week’s supply of baloney.” A separate fact-check on Conway’s false claim of a Bowling Green “massacre” on Thursday was the most-read story on the internet Friday. Similarly, on Monday, readers spent more time with a story examining President Donald Trump’s claim about the media underplaying incidents of terrorism than they did with any other news item that day.
“People are really paying close attention to the news, and they want a tough-minded journalist to … give them an impartial report about whether a story is true, false or somewhere in between,” said John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for standards.
The New York Times also does regular fact-checking: It took a microscope Tuesday to Trump’s claims about his immigration order and titled an earlier story: “White House pushes ‘alternative facts.’ Here are the real ones.” An NPR team annotates claims made during speeches or debates. CNN succinctly corrects political misstatements through onscreen graphics.
After reporting President Donald Trump’s claim about underreported terror attacks, anchor Scott Pelley said on the “CBS Evening News” on Monday that “it has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality.”
It remains to be seen how much impact these efforts have on public opinion. If you don’t believe stories in mainstream media anyway, are fact checks believable?
Duke University professor Bill Adair, who helped start the PolitiFact.com website, noted the growth of fact-checking during the fall campaign and, in a column printed on Election Day, challenged journalists to keep it up. Since then, “we’ve seen tremendous fact-checking by national news organizations in a period when they would not typically do it,” he said.
FactCheck.org, Snopes.com and PolitiFact, with its “pants on fire” designation for egregious lies, do it regularly.
“Given the traction this is getting, I do not see this abating,” Rosenstiel said. “To the contrary, I see people who do this work saying, ‘How do we do this in a more complete way?'”
None of the ideas NPR tried clicked like its annotation feature, rolled out during last year’s campaign. Up to two dozen journalists and producers worked on debate nights, for example, adding links to transcripts and allowing website visitors to judge the accuracy of statements.
The process is constantly being refined, said Beth Donovan, senior Washington editor. Others are following: Adair said Duke is experimenting with a “pop-up” feature that allows real-time fact-checking.
“This was always a key part of our job, but it’s more central now,” said Michael Oreskes, NPR’s senior vice president for news and editorial director. “In the old days, we’d write a story and somewhere in the story we might say, ‘Oh, by the way, he said this but it isn’t true.’ Now … it is in a sense the story itself.”
Kessler said the Washington Post is looking to add video to its fact-checking unit. The Times is looking into creating its own fact-checking unit, said Matt Purdy, deputy managing editor for news and investigations. Times ads for online subscriptions urge people to “give the truth.”
The larger media outlets are involved in another aspect of fact-checking, working with Facebook to flag dubious stories shared on the popular social media platform.
Fact-checking isn’t immune to persistent political efforts to undermine the authority of mainstream journalists, however. Knocking down Trump administration claims may even make his supporters more determined. “What we think is debunking Donald Trump turns out to be supporting Donald Trump,” media critic Michael Wolff said on CNN last weekend.
Don’t forget: the presidential candidate judged to have the biggest problem with the truth won.
“Are we in a post fact-check world?” Rosenstiel wondered. “There’s a difference between facts and knowledge. I can tell you your facts are wrong but not change your belief.”
The very phrase “fact-checking” was considered too toxic when Dallas’ WFAA-TV named its clever new “Verify” segment. In the periodic stories, reporter David Schechter takes viewers on fact-finding missions. For instance, a viewer who supported Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border was taken to the border to see what it was like.
Schechter discovered that challenging assumptions doesn’t necessarily change views.
The polarization just makes the effort more important, journalists say.
“We don’t tell you how to vote,” Oreskes said. “We give you the material to think about who to vote for.”