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Journalism and Communication, Greenlee School of

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Book Chapter

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Published Version

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An Unprecedented Election: Media, Communication, and the Electorate in the 2016 Campaign

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The 2016 presidential race was unprecedented in many ways and brought to the center of public discussion the role the news media must play in correcting information provided by political figures. Unfortunately, the campaign season made Americans too familiar with slanted campaign statements, false claims made by both presidential candidates, and the rise of fake news (Patterson, 2016). The slew of misleading information has highlighted the importance of a specific type of journalism meant to weed out the truth-namely, fact-checking. Looking back at the 2016 presidential campaign, some media critics have questioned how well the media performed, and some even blamed the media for the election outcome (Benton, 2016). In light of these criticisms, the goal of our study is to take a systematic look at the media's attempt to fact-check the presidential candidates during the final stretch of the 2016 race for the Oval Office. We examine how the news media performed their watchdog role by looking at several established criteria for fact-checking in the aftermath of the three presidential debates.


This book chapter is published as Dimitrova, Daniela V. & Nelson, Kimberly. "Fact-checking and the 2016 presidential election: News media’s attempts to correct misleading information from the debates." In Benjamin R. Warner, Dianne G. Bystrom, Mitchell S. McKinney, and Mary C. Banwart, editors. An Unprecedented Election: Media, Communication and the Electorate in the 2016 Campaign. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC. (2018): 134-150. Posted with permission.

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