But at this point, more should be expected of a typical newsroom, even one working on deadline—especially when you know the theme in advance, and especially when a line of attack has been in the news for weeks. As The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta recently argued, factchecking is the responsibility of all news organizations, and one way to meet that challenge is with “basic, simple, brief factual boilerplate” deployed after every recitation of a political lie. And at the very least, an alert copy editor can provide a link online to previous reports and include a box in print summarizing highlights of a speech and offering counterpoints to claims.
When a campaign repeatedly makes a baseless claim, it becomes an old story for political junkies and for the reporters who cover the race. But we need to do a better job of serving our casual readers, and in ensuring the accuracy of what we report.