I haven’t been able to exit the US election intense news cycle. When not spending time considering digital innovation, systems design and ways to change education delivery, I spend a good bit of my fair time contemplating politics. Mainly because I do believe we are now in interesting political times, considering Britain’s exit from the EU, America’s president-elect and the global state of international affairs. No matter what my opinion may be on any of these issues, there is so much in processing all of this – missing writing about this would be an omission.
Which takes me to a topic for today. It bothers me when politicians state something that is completely untrue and journalists either do not immediately correct them, or articles don’t call it out immediately. For example, it is getting frustrating to hear the President-Elect and his team call their victory a historic landslide when this is not the case at all! Obama had higher electoral college victories in 2012 and 2008 and let’s not forget the popular vote was lost by a couple of million votes, where winning the electoral college and losing the popular vote has only happened three times in the history of the republic. I’m not saying this as post-election sour grapes because there are examples on both sides of the political spectrum. Senator Elizabeth Warren said recently “The majority of voters supported Democratic Senate candidates over Republican ones, and the majority supported a Democratic presidential candidate over a Republican one”. This is not true, as only 1/3 of the Senate is up for election during a cycle. So on all sides, this is a plea for accuracy. While there are great sites like https://fullfact.org/ or http://www.factcheck.org/, the average reader is not going to visit them. These kinds of principles should be embedded into journalism for completeness.
Call to action:
1. When a politician states something false in recorded interview, challenge it. Don’t let misinformation get airplay unchallenged
2. When quoting in articles, immediately draw out the inaccuracy and do some basic fact checking.