“The rise of the misinformed is now the largest obstacle for success for journalists today (outside the concerns that relate to publishing). If people don't trust the news, you don't have a news business.” Thomas Baekdal writes a strategic analysis for media companies to earn their readers’ trust, looking at data from PolitiFact to understand how misinformation spreads and what journalists can do to stop it.
After sifting through more than 100,000 hours of broadcast television coverage and counting, the Internet Archive last week launched its new, free Political TV Ad Archive website —PoliticalAdArchive.org — with more than 30,000 ad airings archived. This new resource will bring journalists, researchers, and the public resources to help hold politicians accountable for the messages they deliver in TV ads. [more inside]
Who's More Full of Shit? Aggregates Politifact ratings and identifies which politicians, pundits and media figures lie most often. [via mefi projects]
Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
It's Election Day in America, and as is so often the case in this fickle land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
It is not a Sunday host's job to make sure his guests aren't lying any more than it's a party host's job to make sure the food isn't poisoned.
Jay Rosen thinks that "Sunday morning talk shows are broken. As works of journalism they don't work." In December, he had a suggestion for the producers of "Meet the Press": "Fact check what your guests say on Sunday and run it online Wednesday." When asked about the proposal, David Gregory responded, "People can fact-check 'Meet the Press' every week on their own terms." Two college students took Gregory up on this and created Meet the Facts. On the other hand, it looks like Jake Tapper of ABC's "This Week" thought it was a pretty good idea. [more inside]
According to the Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact.com, change has stalled. Obama has kept 2 of his top 25 campaign promises so far. But he hasn't closed Guantanamo, restored habeus corpus for "enemy combatatnts", attempted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, attempted to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or cracked down on lobbyists. With promises on healthcare in the works, Obama seems to be at a crucial point in his first term.