Fact-checking and the 2016 presidential election: News media’s attempts to correct misleading information from the debates

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2018-01-01
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Nelson, Kimberly
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Dimitrova, Daniela
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Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication offers two majors: Advertising (instructing students in applied communication for work in business or industry), and Journalism and Mass Communication (instructing students in various aspects of news and information organizing, writing, editing, and presentation on various topics and in various platforms). The Department of Agricultural Journalism was formed in 1905 in the Division of Agriculture. In 1925 its name was changed to the Department of Technical Journalism. In 1969 its name changed to the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; from 1969 to 1989 the department was directed by all four colleges, and in 1989 was placed under the direction of the College of Sciences and Humanities (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). In 1998 its name was changed to the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
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The 2016 presidential race was unprecedented in many ways and brought to the center of public discussion the role the news media must play in correcting information provided by political figures. Unfortunately, the campaign season made Americans too familiar with slanted campaign statements, false claims made by both presidential candidates, and the rise of fake news (Patterson, 2016). The slew of misleading information has highlighted the importance of a specific type of journalism meant to weed out the truth-namely, fact-checking. Looking back at the 2016 presidential campaign, some media critics have questioned how well the media performed, and some even blamed the media for the election outcome (Benton, 2016). In light of these criticisms, the goal of our study is to take a systematic look at the media's attempt to fact-check the presidential candidates during the final stretch of the 2016 race for the Oval Office. We examine how the news media performed their watchdog role by looking at several established criteria for fact-checking in the aftermath of the three presidential debates.

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This book chapter is published as Dimitrova, Daniela V. & Nelson, Kimberly. "Fact-checking and the 2016 presidential election: News media’s attempts to correct misleading information from the debates." In Benjamin R. Warner, Dianne G. Bystrom, Mitchell S. McKinney, and Mary C. Banwart, editors. An Unprecedented Election: Media, Communication and the Electorate in the 2016 Campaign. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC. (2018): 134-150. https://products.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOCorporate/product.aspx?pc=A5618C. Posted with permission.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018
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