Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of Politifact, one of the best fact-checking websites in the business, says that more readers — and reporters — see the importance of verifying what presidential candidates say and challenging them when they lie:
That’s not to say that fact-checking is a cure-all. Partisan audiences will savage fact-checks that contradict their views, and that’s true of both the right and the left. But “truthiness” can’t survive indefinitely in a fact-free vacuum.
If Mr. Trump and his fans saw video of thousands of people cheering in New Jersey, why has no one brought it forward yet? Because it doesn’t exist.
Fact-checking’s methodology emphasizes the issue at hand and facts on the ground. Politicians can either make their case or they can’t. Candidates’ fans may complain about press bias, but my impression is that less partisan voters pay a lot of attention to these media moments, especially when elections are close and decided by a few percentage points. Trust and integrity are still crucial assets for a politician.
Contrary to the prophecies that truth in politics is doomed, I’m encouraged by the effect that fact-checking is having. When friends conclude despondently that the truth doesn’t matter, I remind them that people haven’t started voting yet. I don’t take current polls too seriously because data suggests that most people don’t settle on a candidate until much closer to casting their vote.