Without Context, Fact Checking Becomes Moot
Fact checking is key to all publications in order to inform the public to the best of their abilities. However, according to research from Maxwell professor Emily Thorson, fact checking may take a backseat if the audience does not fully understand the context of the story itself. Her work was discussed in a recent Poynter article.
“My own research shows that misperceptions about public policy are widespread — even regarding issues that Americans care deeply about,” she wrote. “For example, while many Americans express serious concern over the national debt, two-thirds mistakenly believe China owns at least half of the U.S. national debt. In reality, it owns about eight percent. Sixty-two percent believe that interest on the national debt is more than half the federal budget. These misperceptions are common among both Democrats and Republicans.”