April 2 is International Fact-checking Day, a new holiday that the International Fact-checking Network launched in 2017. We celebrate it every year at PolitiFact.
This year, I wrote a column in the context of the coronavirus, meditating on how, these days, everyday people have to fact-check their own information consumption.
Knowing whether a particular statement or claim is true or false is the foundation on which we make sound decisions for our families and about our health. It’s the basis on which we can judge our elected officials and make decisions about how to govern ourselves in a democracy.
But the true spirit of fact-checking is so much larger than that.
We have to ask ourselves: Are we willing to use evidence, reason, science and logic to govern our actions? Or do we react on impulse and emotionally, often out of an intense flash of fear or anger? Do we use prudence and thoughtfulness to come to a decision, or do we indulge our instincts and then stick to our stance no matter what?
It’s a critical decision, and one we each get to make daily, even hourly.“In the time of coronavirus, we’re all fact-checkers now”