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Research note: Lies and presidential debates: How political misinformation spread across media streams during the 2020 election | HKS Misinformation Review

By Jaren Haber, Lisa Singh, Ceren Budak, John Pasek, Meena Balan, Ryan Callahan, Rob Churchill, Brandon Herren, Kornraphop Kawintiranon
December 17, 2021
When U.S. presidential candidates misrepresent the facts, their claims get discussed across media streams, creating a lasting public impression. We show this through a public performance: the 2020 presidential debates. For every five newspaper articles related to the presidential candidates, President Donald J. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., there was one mention of a misinformation-related topic advanced during the debates. Personal attacks on Biden and election integrity were the most prevalent topics across social media, newspapers, and TV. These two topics also surfaced regularly in voters’ recollections of the candidates, suggesting their impression lasted through the presidential election.
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Source: Research note: Lies and presidential debates: How political misinformation spread across media streams during the 2020 election | HKS Misinformation Review

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