My new CJR column examines coverage of Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio's birther press conference as a case study in how news reporting can reinforce misperceptions:
Last Tuesday, the New America Foundation released a report (PDF) I co-authored with Georgia State’s Jason Reifler on how to most effectively combat misperceptions (summarized here at CJR). Two days later, some of the nation’s press corps decided to illustrate what not to do instead.
The occasion was the implausible claim by Joe Arpaio, the controversial and high-profile sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. The claim was covered by Politico, the Associated Press, the New York Post, The Arizona Republic, and discussed on the cable news networks.
Read the whole thing for more.