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Principles and Boundaries of Fact-checking: Journalists’ Perceptions

Principles and Boundaries of Fact-checking: Journalists’ Perceptions by Paul Mena. Published online: 16 Nov 2018. [paywall]

“This study examines journalists’ perceptions of fact-checking, a growing journalistic activity focused on assessing the veracity of public claims. Professional journalists working on fact-checking or interested in doing fact-checking and based in the United States were surveyed regarding the purpose of this activity; principles of fact-checking, including boundaries with activism or partisanship; and statements concerning which political party politicians are more likely to produce false claims. This study shows a high level of agreement between respondents on normative aspects of fact-checking. Journalists stated that there should be clear boundaries between fact-checking and activism and that fact-checking should be non-partisan. At the same time, participants showed discrepancies on topics like the use of the word “lie” when finding that a claim is false. In addition, among respondents, the perception that Republicans are more likely to make false claims was significantly higher than the perception that Democrats are more prone to produce false claims, although the difference was moderate, with considerable percentages of respondents answering that they neither agree nor disagree with the statements that Republicans, or Democrats, are more prone to make false claims.”

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