This chapter draws on the findings from Chaps. 3 and 4 to argue that fact-checking is at its most effective when it assesses truth claims in the context of the wider political argument rather than being limited to narrow empirical facts, which are often uncontested or defensibly accurate even when used misleadingly. The most contested political arguments typically hinge on less easily checkable truth claims, such as causal relationships and predictions, but it is not necessary for fact-checking to conclusively prove or disprove these claims but need only ask the appropriate critical questions to guide a ‘reasonable enough’ judgement. The audience may—contrary to the assumptions of social psychological effects research—have reasonable disagreement with the verdicts, but this does not invalidate their usefulness.
KeywordsFact-checking Political argumentation Empirical truth Reasonable Interpretation Analytical journalism
- Cammaerts, Bart, Brooks DeCillia, and César Jimenez-Martínez. 2017. ‘Journalistic Transgressions in the Representation of Jeremy Corbyn: From Watchdog to Attackdog’, Journalism. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884917734055.
- Fairclough, Isabela, and Norman Fairclough. 2012. Political Discourse Analysis (Routledge: Abingdon).Google Scholar
- Graves, Lucas, and Federica Cherubini. 2016. The Rise of Fact-Checking Sites in Europe (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism: Oxford).Google Scholar
- Walton, Douglas. 2006. Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge).Google Scholar