Factchecking only lodges errors in audience’s mind, says David Brooks

David Brooks (pic: Wikicommons)

The ever-reasonable David Brooks on PBS Newshour hit on an important aspect of fact-checkers in US politics. In a recent program, he observed:

“In terms of cognitive science, the idea that when you correct a fact you erase that fact from people’s memories is the reverse of the truth.

“When you correct a fact, what you do is you you further lodge that fact in people’s minds, and they remember the error.

“And we’ve had all these fact checkers services on TV and in print… and we have not entered a more factual era of American politics, we’ve entered a less factual era.”

Traditional media works under the delusion that, like honest reporters, people are automatically truth-seeking.

Others, such as RAND Corp, have done a much more realistic assessment of the function of information overload on the ability to discern political truth.

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