The term “fact-checker” has become a euphemism for those designated as arbiters of truth and assumes the general population needs help sorting fact from fiction. However, personal responsibility in discerning facts is essential since fact-checkers themselves can be biased, overlook falsehoods, and promote a false sense of certainty. Personal responsibility means not only verifying a fact but also understanding the context and questioning the credibility of those doing the “fact-checking.”
The Brownstone Institute recently published an insightful article written by Thomas Buckley, a former newspaper reporter, called: How “Fact-Checking” Obliterates the Truth. The article is helpful in exposing the biases of fact-checking organizations and should be shared to educate those who put even a shred of faith in these individuals and institutions.
Fact-checkers themselves can be prone to bias.
Although fact-checkers promise to stay objective and impartial, they, too, carry their opinions and beliefs. Their political, ideological, or personal predilections can lead them to cherry-pick facts that fit their narrative and ignore those that go against it.
Fact-checking can be manipulated.
Fact-checking is a tool for disinformation. Politicians and other public figures use it to delegitimize their opponents or to put out their agenda. By labeling their opponents’ statements as untrue or misleading, they can undermine their credibility and cast doubts on their character.
Fact-checking promotes a false sense of security.
Fact-checking suggests that there are definite answers to questions or issues when, in reality, there may be none. This can give people a false sense of security, thinking that they now have all the information they need to make an informed decision, when, in fact, the truth is much more complicated than what fact-checkers present.
On the upside, when a fact-check notification is attached to online articles or social media posts, it’s a helpful queue that there is more to explore about the issue. Those who dismiss information simply because a fact-checker says its false will find themselves persisting in ignorance.