The Week in Fact-Checking: The internet is just one big calumny

FCP logoThe American Press Institute presents a roundup from the world of fact-checking, debunking and truth-telling — just in case you haven’t been paying as much attention as we do.

Quote of the week
“[T]he old and powerful structure of the venerable news media as a gatekeeper, seizing on the candidates for any untruth and deeply wounding them in the process, seems to be crumbling, replaced by a more chaotic environment…. Today, it seems, truth is in the eyes of the beholder — and any assertion can be elevated and amplified if yelled loudly enough.” — Michael Barbaro, The New York Times

Technology of fact-checking
Less than 24 hours after polls closed in California last week, the Internet Archive, using “audio fingerprinting,” analyzed 35,000 hours of programming and identified the top advertising theme during the election. (The winner was the pro-Airbnb campaign, and here’s why.) And speaking of the Internet Archive, here’s how they’re keeping the Grantland memory alive.

“I use it, I just don’t trust it.” You could say that about so many things these days. Public transportation. Volkswagens. Gluten. The internet. A new survey shows that while most people use the internet, they don’t believe it much of the time, and rightfully so. Read it. Take the survey.

Fact-checking science
Talking about things you know nothing about is generally annoying to anyone in earshot. Unless you’re fact-checking science. Then you should “explain what is unknown as extensively as what is known,” says Alexios Mantzarlis. Read other tips from the International Fact-Checking Network director’s interview with two science writers.

Welcome to fact-checking!
Howard University students have launched their own accountability project, designed primarily to fact-check stories and statements of importance to the black community. is supported by a grant from the Online News Association’s Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The university is breaking new and fertile ground; as Josh Stearns reports, discussion of verification and fact-checking is rare on U.S. campuses.

Fact-checking word of the day
What do you call the spreading of vicious lies and rumors in social media? Sorry, there’s no punchline here. There’s just a guy from Slate who wants to have a one-word label for all this ignorance. And that word is… Read it.

11641041396_491dc76bbb_zFact-checking the 2016 elections
Here’s what to do when you get tired of the endless coverage of U.S. presidential campaigns: Read what journalists around the world are writing about our endless presidential campaigns. Seeing American elections through a non-resident’s spectacles can give you a whole new sense of wonderment and appreciation — or something like that. Read the Telegraph’s perfectly adept British fact-checking of this week’s American debate.

Some fact-checking fun
But seriously, fact-checking elections can be fun. This week, The Onion solemnly offers a graphic representation of GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s various claims under dispute. And Trevor Noah piled on with a video that examines the candidate’s street cred, FICO score, and fascination with “cutting people open.”

Fact-checking Saturday’s Democratic debate? Get quick answers from our resource guide, with subjects ranging from immigration to vaccination. 

All photos: Flickr Creative Commons
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