Friday, November 06, 2020

Election misinformation is widespread; local news media could help with fact-checking

Misinformation about the election has been running rampant on social media since the election, driven mainly by President Trump and his allies. "This is a critical time for local news organizations to call out misinformation about the election," said Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog.

Karen Mahabir, the fact-check and misinformation editor for The Associated Press, said "It's been a really busy time for us." Much of the misinformation she and her team are seeing right now center on ballots and the voting process, AP reports. 

Mahabir said that, in the coming days, "I think we’re going to see a lot more claims that are focused on the states that are still counting the votes. We’ll see anecdotal situations that are probably going to be blown out of proportion. All of this is kind of typical. It’s taking reality and twisting it into something that it’s not, creating an impression of impropriety."

Trump and his allies are boosting the signal for false claims and conspiracy theories from others, Matthew Rosenberg, Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti report for The New York Times. They say Fox News and conservative talk radio have helped spread Trump claims.

Social media platforms have stepped up efforts to curb misinformation, Mahabir said, but it remains to be seen how much impact such efforts will have, the AP reports.

For a better understanding of how misinformation and disinformation are affecting this election, tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET Nov. 18 for a News Literacy Project webinar. Host Darragh Worland will moderate a panel discussion featuring Jane Lytvynenko of BuzzFeed News and Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Click here for more information about the webinar or to register.

In the meantime, here are some trustworthy fact-checking sources:

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