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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Why People Continue to Believe Objectively False Things

Amanda Taub and Brendan Nyhan
New York Times - The Upshot
Originally posted March 22, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Even when myths are dispelled, their effects linger. The Boston College political scientist Emily Thorson conducted a series of studies showing that exposure to a news article containing a damaging allegation about a fictional political candidate caused people to rate the candidate more negatively even when the allegation was corrected and people believed it to be false.

There are ways to correct information more effectively. Adam Berinsky of M.I.T., for instance, found that a surprising co-partisan source (a Republican member of Congress) was the most effective in reducing belief in the “death panel” myth about the Affordable Care Act.

But in the wiretapping case, Republican lawmakers have neither supported Mr. Trump’s wiretap claims (which could risk their credibility) nor strenuously opposed them (which could prompt a partisan backlash). Instead, they have tried to shift attention to a different political narrative — one that suits the partisan divide by making Mr. Obama the villain of the piece. Rather than focusing on the wiretap allegation, they have sought to portray the House Intelligence Committee hearings on Russian interference in the election as an investigation into leaks of classified information.

The article is here.
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