Revisiting the epistemology of fact-checking
Amazeen, Michelle A.
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Citation (published version)Michelle A Amazeen. 2015. "Revisiting the Epistemology of Fact-Checking." Critical Review, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp. 1 - 22 (22).
Joseph E. Uscinski and Ryden W. Butler (2013) argue that fact-checking should be condemned to the dustbin of history because the methods fact-checkers use to select statements, consider evidence, and render judgment fail to stand up to the rigors of scientific inquiry and threaten to stifle political debate. However, the premises upon which they build their arguments are flawed. By sampling from multiple “fact-checking agencies” that do not practice fact-checking on a regular basis in a consistent manner, they perpetuate the selection effects they criticize and thus undermine their own position. Furthermore, not only do their arguments suffer from overgeneralization, they fail to offer empirical quantification to support some of their anecdotal criticisms. This rejoinder offers a study demonstrating a high level of consistency in fact-checking and argues that as long as unambiguous practices of deception continue, fact-checking has an important role to play in the United States and around the world.