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Oxymoron - "Real Time Fact Checking"?
Old 10-19-2016, 07:58 PM   #1
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Oxymoron - "Real Time Fact Checking"?

OK, this obviously has political ties, but I'm really thinking strictly in terms of logic and, well, I guess intelligence. So I'm putting it in the "other" sub-forum. Separate from any specific political debate or discussion.

Isn't "Real Time Fact Checking" an oxymoron? Actual fact checking means studying the issue, checking your sources, weighing the matter, considering other input, and probably running it by a committee for consensus to try to remove personal bias.

"Real Time Fact Checking" seems to come down to - this is what I think right now, as I speak, w/o checking and w/o anyone to play devil's advocate.

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?

-ERD50
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Old 10-19-2016, 08:10 PM   #2
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Totally understand and agree. I was responsible for a reporting system that was called real time, it wasn't.

We eventually changed the docs to say near real time, didn't help.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:02 PM   #3
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Depends on the alleged fact. If someone said Ronald Reagan was President of the United States in 1967, it would not require much time to say that is incorrect.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:05 PM   #4
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+1 especially since many debate points are just a regurgitation of stump speech points that have already been researched and whether they are fact or not are known.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:07 PM   #5
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Depends on the alleged fact. If someone said Ronald Reagan was President of the United States in 1967, it would not require much time to say that is incorrect.
True, some facts are clearly binary True/False.

But most of the subjects being "real time fact checked" are far more nuanced than that. Sometimes, a 'fact checker' makes a subject look simple and provide a simple answer, but it is nuanced.

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Old 10-19-2016, 09:58 PM   #6
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+1 especially since many debate points are just a regurgitation of stump speech points that have already been researched and whether they are fact or not are known.
Yes, in many cases, the point is a repeat and the research has been done and could be confirmed/denied almost instantly. But very few of these points can be rated as a fact (Gumby gave a safe example of one that could), they are nuanced.

Check the dictionary definition of fact, there's no wiggle room, no room for interpretation. So we are often ending up with opinions being 'sold' as fact.

That's my opinion anyway .

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Old 10-19-2016, 10:27 PM   #7
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....
...... probably running it by a committee for consensus to try to remove personal bias.

.....
If you have to run it by a committee then it's probably not a fact, but simply a vote of opinions.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:35 PM   #8
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If you have to run it by a committee then it's probably not a fact, but simply a vote of opinions.
Could be, but not necessarily. Writers use proofreaders to double check their work, to make sure they didn't miss and say "double Czech their work". But it's a fact that "check" is the correct usage in that context. I just used the term committee to indicate it can't just be one person, because mistakes can be made.

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Old 10-19-2016, 10:38 PM   #9
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One big problem with all the "facts" is they are without context. A partial statement, as example. I'm glad I don't live in a state where they are spending all the money on political ads, trying to convince me of facts.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:53 PM   #10
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One of the problems I have is that the 'fact' that one side complains about the other is that they can take a stmt that says one thing and make it look like they said something completely different...

An example that is not political...

I can say "Coke is not my favorite drink".... which can be spun where they say I said "I hate Coke".... No, I am fine with Coke.... just would rather have something else if I could...

So, there is a positive, a neutral and a negative... If you say you are not for the positive it does not mean you automatically for the negative... you might just be neutral on it...

Another example... "I do not like nuts in my food" can be spun to I hate nuts... well, no... I do eat nuts sometimes.... I just want them by themselves and not cooked in my food....

It happens all the time... and both sides do it....
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:41 AM   #11
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Its really sad when the so-called fact checkers need to be fact checked.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:59 AM   #12
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Another problem with fact checkers is whether or not the fact is a lie, or a mis-statement. Or whether or not it is relevant. If someone says Ronald Reagan was president in 1967, but meant to say 1987, it is likely irrelevant, bit not a fact.

When someone says they did not violate a law, and they actually did, that is a lie.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:12 AM   #13
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If someone has been prosecuted and found by a judge or jury to have violated the law, then it would be a fact to say that they violated the law. Short of that, it is just your opinion. This is a crucial aspect of our justice system and far too many people want to take shortcuts. You are presumed not to have violated the law. Even an indictment is not a fact. It is merely an allegation unless and until proven.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
If someone has been prosecuted and found by a judge or jury to have violated the law, then it would be a fact to say that they violated the law. Short of that, it is just your opinion. This is a crucial aspect of our justice system and far too many people want to take shortcuts. You are presumed not to have violated the law. Even an indictment is not a fact. It is merely an allegation unless and until proven.
+1

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Old 10-20-2016, 07:54 AM   #15
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Depends on the alleged fact. If someone said Ronald Reagan was President of the United States in 1967, it would not require much time to say that is incorrect.
Precisely. What's puzzling isn't the term or concept of "real-time fact-checking" but rather that it is possible and necessary. Given the readily-available facts related to claims for which real-time fact-checking would be applicable why would there be so many lies?

The answer is scary: There are so many easily-refuted claims because some people just hear the claims they want to believe, and disbelieve the facts presented to refute those claims. Therefore, false claims can still have their desired effect, despite being easily proven false or misleading.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:17 AM   #16
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Precisely. What's puzzling isn't the term or concept of "real-time fact-checking" but rather that it is possible and necessary. Given the readily-available facts related to claims for which real-time fact-checking would be applicable why would there be so many lies?

The answer is scary: There are so many easily-refuted claims because some people just hear the claims they want to believe, and disbelieve the facts presented to refute those claims. Therefore, false claims can still have their desired effect, despite being easily proven false or misleading.
As Jonathan Swift said "as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…" (from The Examiner, No. 15, Nov. 2, 1710)
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:25 AM   #17
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If someone has been prosecuted and found by a judge or jury to have violated the law, then it would be a fact to say that they violated the law. Short of that, it is just your opinion. This is a crucial aspect of our justice system and far too many people want to take shortcuts. You are presumed not to have violated the law. Even an indictment is not a fact. It is merely an allegation unless and until proven.
What about all the convicted people that were later found innocent? Was it a "fact" they violated the law for a little while then that fact was no longer a fact? The fact was they didn't do it. I don't accept the consensus of a jury to be the evidence of a "Fact".
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:42 AM   #18
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One big problem with all the "facts" is they are without context. ...
Agreed, context is a big issue I believe. And sadly, the out-of-context-statement often 'works' as a soundbite for the media, while providing context takes a few sentences, and some background info, so they just skip it, and go for the soundbite. Hypothetical example:

At the scene of a fire, a reporter might get a statement from the Fire Chief, saying "We don't have any direct evidence of arson". And that's all that gets played on the news. But maybe the Chief went on to say "We haven't been able to get our forensics team in there yet to collect any evidence, but arson is a distinct possibility, and we have reason to suspect it was arson".

So a 'fact checker' might technically be able to say that "There is no direct evidence of arson" is TRUE. But when you look at the context, you get a very different story.

I'll also add - this puts the 'explainer' at a disadvantage, even if they are very, very right, especially in a debate, where you get 2 minutes. The 4 second soundbite 'wins' over the 30 second context.

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... The answer is scary: There are so many easily-refuted claims because some people just hear the claims they want to believe, and disbelieve the facts presented to refute those claims. Therefore, false claims can still have their desired effect, despite being easily proven false or misleading.
Sadly true as well. And the out-of-context soundbite is a tool that is used.

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Old 10-20-2016, 08:48 AM   #19
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What about all the convicted people that were later found innocent? Was it a "fact" they violated the law for a little while then that fact was no longer a fact? The fact was they didn't do it. I don't accept the consensus of a jury to be the evidence of a "Fact".
The fact is that they were found to have violated the law in accordance with the long established rules of our justice system. Could that finding subsequently be determined to have been wrong? Yes, of course. That is why we have appeals. But the system relies on the presumption that if a judge or jury finds you violated the law, then you did, unless a subsequent appeal exonerates you. If you don't accept the verdict of the trier of fact, after all appeals, then you simply can't have a justice system.

In any event, this whole diversion misses the point, which is that my opinion that you violated the law is not a fact at all. I prosecute people for a living. If I bring a case against you, I will have reviewed far more information than is ever available in the news media, I will understand exactly what the relevant statute says, how it has been interpreted over the years by courts, precisely what predicate facts I must establish to make out the elements of the case and where the gray areas of legal interpretation lie. I will certainly allege that you violated the law, and I will sincerely believe it or I would not bring the case in the first place. But I am acutely aware that it is not a fact that you violated the law unless and until I prove it to the satisfaction of a judge and/or jury.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:51 AM   #20
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As Jonathan Swift said "as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…" (from The Examiner, No. 15, Nov. 2, 1710)
Nice. He also wrote, (quite relevant as well), "Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice." (from [via Wikipediea] A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, 1729)
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