Real-Time TV Political Fact Checking on the Way

Jan 18, 2019  •  Post A Comment

“A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate,” the AP reports, adding: “The mystery is whether any network will choose to use it.”

The story reports: “The response to President Donald Trump’s Jan. 8 speech on border security illustrated how fact-checking is likely to be an issue over the next two years. Networks briefly considered not airing Trump live and several analysts contested some of his statements afterward, but nobody questioned him while he was speaking.

“Duke already offers an app, developed by professor and Politifact founder Bill Adair, that directs users to online fact checks during political events. A similar product has been tested for television, but is still not complete.”

The report notes that the TV product would access a database of research from Politifact, Factcheck.org and The Washington Post to point out false or misleading statements onscreen.

“For instance, Trump’s statement that 90 percent of the heroin that kills 300 Americans each week comes through the southern border would likely trigger an onscreen explanation that much of the drugs were smuggled through legal points of entry and wouldn’t be affected by a wall,” the AP reports.

One Comment

  1. I could see this app virtually killing some candidate’s chances because the fact checker says the candidate’s facts were wrong. But what if the fact checker is wrong and the candidate was right? You never have a second chance to make the first impression. People always remember the story, never the retraction. And people would remember the fact checker said candidate “X” lied. The would not remember the fact checker’s apology for being wrong. Who will be fact checking the fact checkers? If the fact checker uses a wrong source to fact check, and that politician loses an election because of the fact checkers mistake (or just a downright lie), what will be the penalty? It needs to be a heavy price to pay if the fact checker is wrong. Fact checking could turn into a real nightmare for both parties.

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