Institutional facts and the politics of political fact-checking

Abstract

What a journalism review called the “fact-checking explosion” in journalism revolves around a very specific mission: to hold public figures accountable for false or misleading claims. The reporters who practice this kind of journalism form an increasingly self-aware movement within the profession, one grounded in a shared critique of conventional, “he said, she said” objective reporting. What are the origins of this controversial style of news, and how does it challenge conventional notions of objectivity? This talk reviews the history and the practices of political fact-checking, considering their work through the lens of “institutional facts.” Such facts are much less stable than we sometimes suppose, and help to account for both fact-checking practices and the controversies they invite.

Part of the InSIS Seminar Series Hilary Term 2018

Presented by Lucas Graves

Lucas Graves is senior research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. His work examines new journalistic norms, practices, and organisations in the digital age. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, Wired magazine, and other outlets, and in various academic journals. His book Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism was published in September 2016 by Columbia University Press.

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