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In Case You Missed It

The New York Times Liz Spayd

The risk of unnamed sources? Unconvinced readers

"Reporters and editors trust such information, sometimes risking their reputation on it. Readers, on the other hand, couldn’t be more suspicious — and with reason."

The New York Times MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Trump calls the news media the ‘enemy of the American people’

"President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media 'is the enemy of the American people.'"

The New York Times ERIN GLORIA RYAN

The downfall of Kellyanne Conway

"I gasped so frequently when she spoke that after each interview was over, I’d feel faint, like I’d spent the last several hours blowing up balloons."

NPR BENTE BIRKELAND

When a politician says 'Fake News' and a newspaper threatens to sue back

"The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in Colorado is accusing state Sen. Ray Scott of defamation and threatening to sue. If filed, legal experts said it would be the first suit of its kind, potentially setting a legal definition for what is considered fake news and what is not."

Politico Media JACK SHAFER

Trump hates the press? Take a number.

"No White House has ever loved the press corps, and its current resident isn’t about to change that."

The Houston Chronicle Carol Christian

Houston paper gets caught up in Hollywood-funded fake news

"The Leader, a decades-old small Houston weekly appears to be the victim of 'fake news' planted to generate publicity about a new movie."

The House of Representatives Uncredited

The case for cameras in federal courtrooms

Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, argues for still and TV cameras in courtrooms.

The Atlantic ADRIENNE LAFRANCE

The Mark Zuckerberg manifesto is a blueprint for destroying journalism

"Lip service to the crucial function of the Fourth Estate is not enough to sustain it."

Bloomberg Gerry Smith

BuzzFeed tries to break readers out of their social-media bubbles

"The idea is an attempt to get readers to understand — or even acknowledge the existence of — the viewpoints of people who don’t think like them."

Nieman Lab JOSEPH LICHTERMAN

How BBC Persian is using Instagram and Telegram to get around Iranian censorship

"This is a social circumvention strategy rather than a social media strategy."

Nieman Lab LAURA HAZARD OWEN

Think The Wirecutter invented affiliate revenue? Meet the mom who’s been doing it since 2010

"Lucie’s List has 360,000 subscribers and pulls in enough revenue to support a family and a staff in San Francisco."

The Huffington Post Michael Calderone

Leaks renew scrutiny of New York Times’ pre-election story finding no Trump-Russia ties

"'Our focus, now as it was last fall, is on getting out the full story about the Russia issue,' says Managing Editor Joseph Kahn."

The Washington Post Erik Wemple

Washington Post media critic: President Trump wants my job

"It is now clear that Trump wants the job of the Erik Wemple Blog. This is the material with which he feels most comfortable."

Recode Kara Swisher

I talked to Mark Zuckerberg about his manifesto on the future of Facebook (and the rest of us)

"The question is, do we come together more or reverse course and separate?"

The New York Times MICHAEL D. SHEAR, MAGGIE HABERMAN and GLENN THRUSH

In 77 Chaotic Minutes, Trump Defends ‘Fine-Tuned Machine’

"From there he offered a disjointed and emotional performance in which he appeared to release pent-up anger and suspicion about the 'dishonest media,' Democrats, intelligence officials, 'criminal' leakers, Hillary Clinton, environmentalists and judges."

In case you missed it

The New York Times Liz Spayd

The risk of unnamed sources? Unconvinced readers

"Reporters and editors trust such information, sometimes risking their reputation on it. Readers, on the other hand, couldn’t be more suspicious — and with reason."

The New York Times MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Trump calls the news media the ‘enemy of the American people’

"President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media 'is the enemy of the American people.'"

The New York Times ERIN GLORIA RYAN

The downfall of Kellyanne Conway

"I gasped so frequently when she spoke that after each interview was over, I’d feel faint, like I’d spent the last several hours blowing up balloons."

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4 factors that influence people’s attitudes toward facts

The simple but frustrating truth is that facts alone are not enough to provide context and clarity for your audience. Even the most thorough, accurate piece of reporting might still be trumped by a poorly reasoned and false counterargument.

Decades of research into the way humans process information and deal with misinformation and propaganda show that people are more inclined to believe things that are in line with their existing views — even if proven truth contradicts their beliefs.

Here are some factors that make it difficult to convince people of facts.

Selective Exposure: We tend to gravitate toward  — and even seek out — sources and information that fit with our existing views. Even with a multitude of sources available online, people do not actively seek out information that contradicts what they believe.

The Backfire Effect: People do not view contrary evidence with a sense of detachment. When we become invested in a point of view or a set of facts about the world or ourselves, contrary evidence causes us to double down on our beliefs. When challenged, we react. We don’t reason. This means that it matters how journalists present contradictory evidence. (For additional background, see The Backfire Effect, a column from the Columbia Journalism Review by Craig Silverman.)

Motivated Reasoning: We think we're being rational about what we read, but we are ruled by emotion on things we care about. We tend to cherry-pick experts' opinions and select statistics that back up our beliefs. This may seem like a totally conscious act, and it can be. But it can also occur on a subconscious level. We often don't realize that we are naturally gravitating toward "facts" and other material that fits with what we already believe — practicing selective exposure.

Illusion of Truth: Familiar claims start to seem true over time. This explains why message saturation (or propaganda) can have such a powerful effect on people and why even seemingly ineffective ads or ridiculous claims can be potent. Recognizing this phenomenon means that, as journalists, we need to be cautious about how we choose to express false claims when attempting to debunk them.

Taken from Getting It Right: Accuracy and Verification in the Digital Age, a self-directed course by Craig Silverman at Poynter NewsU. You can also join our Poynter NewsU webinar with Silverman, Investigating the Internet: How to Sniff Out Scams.

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