Reuters piece by Jack Shafer says people more sensitive to political “untruths” because of fact-checking.
I disagree. Jack is seeing politics only through the current window. People have ALWAYS been annoyed by political lies.
Now though, technology makes a politician’s claims easier to record, verify, and expose by widespread publishing.
Shafer wonders whether there’s much point in fact checking:
You might as well fact-check a sermon as fact-check a campaign speech. Neither are exercises in finding the truth.
Of course politicians and their campaigns lie. Of course they continue to lie even when called out. If you think otherwise, you’re looking for truth in all the wrong places.
He blames lying on the voters!
Truth-telling would matter a lot more to politicians if it were as effective in persuading people as truth-bending. Plus, trapping the truth and serving it in a palatable form to an audience is damn hard, as any university professor can tell you. It’s easier and more effective for campaigns to trim, spice and cook facts to serve something tastier, even if they must brawl with the fact-checkers in the aftermath.
Back in 2010, Professor Martin Jay made a good attempt at concluding that political mendacity is actually useful. I like the idea, because as annoying as political lies may be, expectations of accuracy may kill creativity and create cultural sterility. I’ll blog on this another time.
For more on the growth in the fact-checking ‘industry’ look up: