Saturday, October 20, 2012

Denver Post Commentary: Stations Not Fact-Checking Enough

Originally published by the Denver Post

Re:"Denver newsrooms tops in fact-checking,"Oct. 13 Perspective story.

Kathleen Hall-Jamieson claims to have found a "flaw in the logic" of a recent Free Press report on fact-checking by Denver TV stations. That report found that, despite a few notable exceptions, Denver stations weren't doing enough to investigate false claims made in political ads.

Free Press looked at ad spending in August and September by five prominent third-party groups. During that time, Denver's four biggest stations aired 29 hours of ads from these groups and devoted less than 11 minutes to related coverage. That's a ratio of 162 minutes of ads for every minute of news.

Worse, stations kept airing ads their own reporters found were false or misleading. But Jamieson suggests that such statistics don't matter because voters can get fact-checking information from other sources, including her own site,
I would welcome evidence that the worthy work independent fact-checkers do reaches even a fraction of the people in Denver watching local news. Simply put, there isn't any proof that that's happening.

Jamieson's argument lets TV stations off the hook far too easily. Broadcasters nationwide are expected to make billions this year from political ads....
(Read the rest at the Denver Post)

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