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Fact Checking Is Not Enough

Fact checking politicians isn’t enough, according to The Digital News Project 2020. The Project predicted that politicians may take on misinformation or disinformation tactics in the coming elections. In a survey of 233 executives in traditional and digital publishing companies, 85% agreed that while fact checking is essential for assessing politicians, there should also be another way to ensure that politicians would be of good faith. Rappler has the details: 

There needs to be a more nuanced response, they said. "We certainly need to offer fact checks and reality checks. But we also need content which explores good faith politics, what might be working, how policy develops and makes a difference," the report quoted BBC World Service's Mary Hockaday as saying.
Tech platforms are also at fault, said publishers, with Facebook (17%) receiving the least credit among publishers for their fight against misinformation and disinformation. Facebook is followed by YouTube (18%), Google Search (34%), and Twitter (41%).

image via wikimedia commons

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When I teach media literacy classes at my library, one thing I emphasize is the importance of reading news sources and fact checkers from different political perspectives. By doing this myself, I often find not only two or more different perspectives on a news event, but often two or more completely different narratives.
I think that the ideal state of the informed voter is confusion. The informed voter is uncertain of his or her news sources or the events they are describing and is thus cautious. The thoughtful voter thinks, 'I could be wrong about this issue' and 'the people whom I disagree with could be right.'
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Countless studies show most people don't vote based on facts and logic. And very often people will take what's true of the "supporters", and claim that's what the politician said. In reality, the politician never said any of the things that get attributed to them. But instead came from a vocal minority. Also once you're in that binary, you no longer have the ability to admit something good about the opposing side. The other side becomes "the other". They've become dehumanized in your mind. You can't admit one good thing about the opposing politician, even though that person has a family and children that love him/her. How evil is that binary? Yet we all partake in it with forks and knives in our hands. Makes ya think eh. :)
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