I have a new post for Columbia Journalism Review answering media coverage about the effectiveness of fact-checking. Here's how it begins:
Politics today seemingly has more fact-checking than ever before. As a result, reporters are asking a new question: Does fact-checking work?
At the national level, USA Today's Martha T. Moore described it as "an article of faith" among fact-checkers that "factually accurate information is something voters want and need, and they provide plenty of it." Unfortunately, she writes, "[w]hat they can't seem to do is get politicians to stop saying things that aren't true"...
A similar concern was expressed in an analysis piece by Henry J. Gomez titled "Even in an age of fact-check journalism, the political whopper lives" that was published Saturday in The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. As T.C. Brown, CJR's Ohio Swing States Project correspondent, notes, the piece centers on Ohio Treasurer and GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel, whom Gomez notes "has received three of PolitiFact Ohio's seven most recent Pants on Fire rulings." In total, six of his fourteen rated statements since 2010 "have been deemed Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire."
"Why do they do it?" Gomez asks. "Those who study politics and communications say the consequences appear to be minimal, at least for the liars."
Read the whole thing for more.