20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
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2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
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2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

A Nobel Prize, a Brad Pitt film, and a Taylor Swift song

“In campaigns around the country, there will be fewer exaggerations and falsehoods. Politicians will try to out-do each other by bragging about their good records for Pinocchios and Truth-O-Meter ratings.”

Fact-checkers will win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. “The prize is meant to recognise the tireless work of all the journalists who sought the truth,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee will say. “In an age of unprecedented misinformation, the fact-checkers have exposed the world’s liars in powerful new ways.”

The committee will note that fact-checking is no longer just a niche form of journalism but now a key part of everyday news coverage. “Fact-checkers are now the backbone of global reporting,” the committee will say.

Hollywood will start production on Seeking the Truth, a film starring Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron as courageous journalists who run a nonpartisan fact-checking site. They discover that shadowy forces are spying on them and rummaging through their past to try to pressure them about a fact-check on Medicaid expansion. The Pitt and Theron characters believe the rating should be Pants on Fire, but in a meeting in a dark alley, a mysterious representative of the shadowy forces says it should be Mostly False. The movie will co-star Tom Hanks as a curmudgeonly but supportive publisher.

Taylor Swift will release “Get the Facts,” the first pop song to celebrate fact-checking. (“Lost my way / Couldn’t find the truth / Scoundrels on TV and Twitter / Liars are so uncouth / Liii-iiii-arrs are soooooo uncouth”). Swift will donate her earnings from the song to the International Fact-Checking Network. She will perform “Get the Facts” during halftime at the Super Bowl, with 69 dancers representing the 69 journalism organizations that have signed the International Fact-Checking Code of Principles. The dancers will wear tasteful costumes with big check marks. Aerosmith will also be there.

Also in 2020, tech companies will dramatically expand their use of fact-checking. Facebook, Google, and YouTube will append fact-checks to ads by politicians and will take unprecedented steps to demote false content. Politicians and partisans will complain, but the companies will say it’s important to empower democracy. Twitter will make the shocking move of putting red checkmarks on the faces of politicians who earn lots of false ratings. The company will provide a $10 million grant to fact-checkers to fund their work.

Fox, CNN, and MSNBC will each launch nightly fact-checking shows. Unlike the cable channels’ other programming, the shows will truly be non-partisan, with actual journalists instead of pundits. The shows will even call out exaggerations and falsehoods by their own hosts and commentators. The fact-checking programs will earn double the ratings of the partisan shows.

The infusion of money from Taylor Swift and Twitter will pay for a historic surge of fact-checking just in time for the November election. The money will create something of a space race at the local level, as TV stations, public radio, newspapers, and nonprofit news organizations mobilize to check politicians at all levels. Media companies will put aside their rivalries and share content.

Politicians will notice. In campaigns around the country, there will be fewer exaggerations and falsehoods. Politicians will try to out-do each other by bragging about their good records for Pinocchios and Truth-O-Meter ratings. Voters will go to the polls in November with an extraordinary understanding of what was true and what wasn’t. Some of them will be humming “Get the Facts.”

Bill Adair is the founder of PolitiFact and the Knight Professor of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University.

Fact-checkers will win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. “The prize is meant to recognise the tireless work of all the journalists who sought the truth,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee will say. “In an age of unprecedented misinformation, the fact-checkers have exposed the world’s liars in powerful new ways.”

The committee will note that fact-checking is no longer just a niche form of journalism but now a key part of everyday news coverage. “Fact-checkers are now the backbone of global reporting,” the committee will say.

Hollywood will start production on Seeking the Truth, a film starring Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron as courageous journalists who run a nonpartisan fact-checking site. They discover that shadowy forces are spying on them and rummaging through their past to try to pressure them about a fact-check on Medicaid expansion. The Pitt and Theron characters believe the rating should be Pants on Fire, but in a meeting in a dark alley, a mysterious representative of the shadowy forces says it should be Mostly False. The movie will co-star Tom Hanks as a curmudgeonly but supportive publisher.

Taylor Swift will release “Get the Facts,” the first pop song to celebrate fact-checking. (“Lost my way / Couldn’t find the truth / Scoundrels on TV and Twitter / Liars are so uncouth / Liii-iiii-arrs are soooooo uncouth”). Swift will donate her earnings from the song to the International Fact-Checking Network. She will perform “Get the Facts” during halftime at the Super Bowl, with 69 dancers representing the 69 journalism organizations that have signed the International Fact-Checking Code of Principles. The dancers will wear tasteful costumes with big check marks. Aerosmith will also be there.

Also in 2020, tech companies will dramatically expand their use of fact-checking. Facebook, Google, and YouTube will append fact-checks to ads by politicians and will take unprecedented steps to demote false content. Politicians and partisans will complain, but the companies will say it’s important to empower democracy. Twitter will make the shocking move of putting red checkmarks on the faces of politicians who earn lots of false ratings. The company will provide a $10 million grant to fact-checkers to fund their work.

Fox, CNN, and MSNBC will each launch nightly fact-checking shows. Unlike the cable channels’ other programming, the shows will truly be non-partisan, with actual journalists instead of pundits. The shows will even call out exaggerations and falsehoods by their own hosts and commentators. The fact-checking programs will earn double the ratings of the partisan shows.

The infusion of money from Taylor Swift and Twitter will pay for a historic surge of fact-checking just in time for the November election. The money will create something of a space race at the local level, as TV stations, public radio, newspapers, and nonprofit news organizations mobilize to check politicians at all levels. Media companies will put aside their rivalries and share content.

Politicians will notice. In campaigns around the country, there will be fewer exaggerations and falsehoods. Politicians will try to out-do each other by bragging about their good records for Pinocchios and Truth-O-Meter ratings. Voters will go to the polls in November with an extraordinary understanding of what was true and what wasn’t. Some of them will be humming “Get the Facts.”

Bill Adair is the founder of PolitiFact and the Knight Professor of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University.

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