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The “backfire effect” is mostly a myth, a broad look at the research suggests
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Oct. 8, 2013, 10:42 a.m.
LINK: nation.foxnews.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   October 8, 2013

When Fox published a video of its new broadcast newsroom — the Fox News Deck — yesterday, more than one (in fact, more like a dozen) journo-nerds immediately wondered whether we had all been transported aboard a Starfleet vessel.

The guffaws across the Internet were loud and long. The set features giant tablets with 55-inch screens called BATs — big-area touch screens. (“Area,” sure) There’s a 38-foot-long video wall that host Shepard Smith controls with a wand, causing story images to zoom around him like in a whirlwind of news. In the video that announced this “revolutionary” advancement, we see a floor dotted with dapper looking young producers — called “information specialists” — whose job it is to sift through streams of information from Twitter and beyond, organizing the data into columns of “Investigating” and “Verified.”

At any time, Smith tells us, what’s happening on those enormous tablets can be broadcast as news breaks or new information is uncovered, offering what I imagine to be an experience much like watching over someone’s shoulder as they check Twitter.

But there’s something about Fox’s use of the rhetoric of verification that makes it very 2013. The rise of fact-checking outlets like PolitiFact; social media’s endless stream of information, some true, some not; the always-on flows of online news; the filter bubble: All of these reflect a time when news is defined in the popular imagination both by its ubiquity and its unreliability. Fox News — originators of “We Report, You Decide” and easy target for accuracy concerns — has decided that the time is right to make the TV world reflect a vision of the online one.

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