Fact-checks of politicians’ statements have become increasingly prominent in media coverage of American politics. With dedicated fact-checkers like PolitiFact and recurring features in newspapers like The New York Times and news agencies like The Associated Press, more journalists are trying to assess the accuracy of claims made by public figures than ever before.
The audience for fact-checking is growing as well — on some days during the 2012 presidential campaign, for instance, PolitiFact was getting a million page views a day.
But are people learning about politics from these fact-checks? Or are they just cheering for their side and seeking out reinforcement for what they already believe?
This column draws on new research with Jason Reifler on the long-term effects of fact-checking exposure that we summarized in a new American Press Institute report. Lucas Graves, Jason, and I also released an API report examining the growth of fact-checking within political journalism.