Fact-checking: Channeling Arendt

Instead of naming opinions lies, we are better served by good investigative reporting and opinion journalism that makes sound arguments and clarifies the stakes. A well-reasoned article that seeks to argue pro or contra can offer a depth of opinion and insight that far surpasses the gotcha journalism of fact checking. What is needed is not a demand for simple factual reporting, but a willingness to read and talk with people with whom one disagrees.

From “Fact Checking the Fact Checkers,” by “RB” at the Hannah Arendt Center. The argument that too strong a focus on “fact checking” leads to the belief that the world is simpler and cleaner than it is seems close to prima facie true. But why believing in a simpler world is attractive, and what kind of utility the belief brings, look like they’re deep in Arendt theory, particularly regarding a person’s need for some sort of coherence and stability. Where would one go to start learning more about Arendt’s thinking?


2 thoughts on “Fact-checking: Channeling Arendt

  1. Roger

    I’d begin with Arendt’s essays Truth and Politics and Lying and Politics. You might also look at the last few chapters of Origins of Totalitarianism. These are the main places where Arendt addresses the questions of the importance and contingency of facts and their relations to opinions.


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