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Today Everybody's a Fact Checker

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 2 years ago

The Media 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "David Zweig writes that since the beginning of the republic politicians have resorted to half-truths and bald-faced lies and while tenacious reporters and informed citizens have tracked these falsehoods over the years, until now they've lacked the interconnectivity and real-time capabilities of the Web to amplify their findings. Today sites like the Washington Post's Fact-Check column and the Annenberg Foundation Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org, which draws hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month, often provide fodder for public fascination with fact-checking and in a meta fact-check, Snopes, the grandaddy of online truth-telling, clarifies rumors on everything from Rush Limbaugh's draft avoidance to the notion that Lady Gaga's perfume contains blood and semen (not true). But perhaps the biggest and easiest target for IEEs (Internet Error Exposers) are period piece television shows and films where blogs like Prochronisms, look "at historical changes in language by algorithmically checking historical TV shows and movies" utilizing tools like Google Ngram viewer to bust Mad Men for example for using terms or phrases in dialogue didn't yet exist yet like an actress getting a "callback," a term that wasn't popularized until years after the show's depicted era. Then there's sports where Charley Casserly, a member of the NFL's competition committee, says he voted against releasing All-22 footage because he worried that if fans had access, it would open players and teams up to a level of criticism far beyond the current hum of talk radio. "Perhaps the masses don't care about inaccuracies. Many Democrats and Republicans alike will believe what they want and ignore or disregard the truth," writes Zweig. "But there are enough experts within a variety of fields rabidly conversing about errors that content-creators—be they politicians, journalists, or filmmakers—are now forced to be on their toes in a way they never have been before. And that's a good thing.""

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