investigating the nature of fact in the digital age

Facts: dead and buried?

In Facts and opinion, Interesting research, Journalism practice, Misinformation on March 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

In April 2012, Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune wrote an obituary for Facts prompted by a US Republican’s claim that 81 of his fellow members of the House of Representatives were Communists. The piece was a novel way to air the thoughts of Mary Poovey (A History of the Modern Fact) about how, in the internet age, opinion is given the same – if not greater – weight as fact:

“Opinion has become the new truth,” Poovey told Huppke. “And many people who already have opinions see in the ‘news’ an affirmation of the opinion they already had, and that confirms their opinion as fact.”

Huppke’s piece is worth revisiting.

For more of Poovey expounding on the same issues, see the transcript of (or listen to) this episode of Radio National’s Future Tense program: Fact and Fiction. (Fact aficionados Brendan Nyhan, Bill Adair and Ullrich Ecker also get a look-in.)

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