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Annenberg studies find TV, newspaper reporters raise political fact-checking efforts

Two new studies released Nov. 9 have found that broadcast and newspaper journalists are becoming more aggressive in challenging false or misleading political claims.

The studies by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania were unveiled by and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at a conference "Pants on Fire, Political Mendacity and the Rise of Media Fact-Checkers."

Among the findings:

  • According to an Annenberg study of stories published by 34 of the largest U.S. newspapers, the number of adwatch type stories run in the 2005/2006 election cycle was more than 3-1/2 times larger than the number run in the 1999/2000 election cycle.
  • A separate Annenberg survey of all U.S. TV stations that originate news programming showed that 38.8 percent of those responding ran adwatch or fact-checking stories in the 2006 election cycle.
  • The trend is continuing — 45.6 percent of TV stations that responded said they planned to run such stories during the 2008 campaign. An additional 34.2 percent said they were unsure.

To download the reports, visit