Of course, all this doesn’t mean that news organizations don’t have a responsibility to ensure that their own content is accurate, and it doesn’t mean that they should throw in the towel when it comes to correcting others. But it does mean that we know is that the orthodox journalistic approach to correcting misperceptions is ineffective, and we should be looking for a better way to accomplish the task. And if there are any strategies that might help, everyone who produces and consumes serious journalism has an interest in uncovering them. After all, the ability to convey a basic fact is not just about the outcome of any particular policy debate. As Nyhan put it, “It’s a larger question about what’s the actual effect of journalism on readers.”

Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.