Objectivity and Interpretation in Fact-Checking Journalism
This chapter outlines the tensions between fact-checking journalism and the dominant epistemological norms and practices of ‘objective’ journalism to explain why elements of fact-checking practice can be controversial. Whilst scientific objectivity is associated with facticity or truth, as a journalistic norm it is understood only as avoiding subjective bias, and operationalised through direct quotation, distancing the journalistic voice. Verification is therefore typically limited to names, dates, places and accurate transcription. Fact-checking, in contrast, involves verifying the substance of sources’ claims, and can therefore be criticised as too interpretive, subjective and biased, criticisms that aim to draw narrow bounds around the legitimate ground for fact-checking.
KeywordsFact-checking Journalism Objectivity Interpretation Verification Epistemology
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