And even if fact-check stories don’t persuade every reader, the research and digging that go into them—and that take the coverage past he-said, she-said—should be de rigueur.
“If someone says something that is wrong, you can’t legitimize the claim,” Gomez said. “You can’t just write that Mandel says jobs are going to China on one hand, and then on the other hand write that Brown says he is full of crap.”
That’s especially true in this race, where there’s so much at stake. The contest has already drawn more outside money—$5 million—than any other Senate race in the country. And the Senate’s thin Democratic majority could hang in the balance, as noted in a recent Columbus Dispatch story by Jessica Wehrman.
One thing is for sure: Burger King won’t be the only place to find a Whopper in coming months. Reporters need to dig in more and find the real meat for their audiences.