Americans are not invulnerable to factual information. They do not 'backfire'; facts do not make them less accurate. Instead, they become more accurate, even when corrections target co-partisans. Corrections of fake news yield similar results. Among Republicans, Trump's misstatements are less susceptible to corrections than identical misstatements attributed to other Republicans. While we do not observe facts affecting attitudes, multiple instances of misinformation can increase approval of the responsible politician - but corrections can reduce approval by similar amounts. While corrections do not eliminate false beliefs, they reduce the share of inaccurate beliefs among subjects in this study nearly in half.
1. Introduction; 2. Facts, the backfire effect and the 2016 Election; 3. Fake news; 4. Is Trump different?; 5. Conclusion; 6. References.
Ethan Porter is Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Washington DC. Thomas J. Wood is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Ohio State University.