People Remember The Lie

It’s great to see that “This Week” will try harder to fact check guests, but it is probably too little too late – the benefit of telling a lie or half truth to a big audience far outweighs the risks of having a late and likely convoluted explanation several days later about shades of gray. Why is this? Because people remember what they heard first, and no matter how many times they subsequently hear either the rebuttal or the the nuance, they stick with what they heard first. In my line of work, that is why rapid correction (as in the first few hours of a news cycle) are so crucial – you have to get the correction out there so that it lands and sinks in first time – there are no do-overs.

For a long time, I held the conviction that if there were more rapid fact checking that people would be embarrassed into moderating their behavior. But I’ve decided that there is a certain class  of person, often ideologically driven, who has thick enough skin to simply endure the subsequent pain of correction, secure in the knowledge that in many cases, first wins out over truth.

But we shouldn’t give up. The richest line in the story?

But David Gregory, the moderator of “Meet the Press” on NBC, said that accountability is “in the DNA” of his program. He said he had considered Mr. Rosen’s idea but concluded that people can fact check the program on their own online.

If that is not total abrogation of journalists responsibility, I just don’t know what is.

2 Responses to “People Remember The Lie”

  1. David Treadwell Says:

    “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” –Mark Twain

  2. Katie Ford Says:

    Unfortunately for This Week, fact checking won’t solve their ratings problem. His name is Jake Tapper.

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