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Gender Differences in Reactions to Fact Checking of Negative Commercials

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2016

Kim L. Fridkin
Arizona State University
Jillian Courey
Arizona State University
Samantha Hernandez
Arizona State University
Joshua Spears
Arizona State University


One of most negative campaigns in history may have taken place during the 2014 Senate election cycle. Nearly 75% of senate ads aired during a two-week period in early fall of 2014 showed a candidate in a negative light, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. A postelection analysis by the Center for Public Integrity showed that 46% of the more than one million ads aired during the 2014 senate campaigns were negative. And, in the most competitive states, the proportion of negative ads was even higher (e.g., 67% in North Carolina, 58% in Kansas). Negative advertisements sponsored by candidates, interest groups, and political parties are being launched on the airways, in newspapers, on radio, and via the Internet at an unprecedented pace. These advertisements, however, are now routinely subjected to fact checking. The Washington Post, along with many other fact-checking organizations, such as PolitiFact, The AP Factcheck, and, examine thousands of statements and political advertisements during campaigns to determine the accuracy of the claims. For instance, during the 2012 election cycle, PolitiFact had 36 reporters and editors working in 11 states producing more than 800 fact checks on the presidential campaign and hundreds more for candidates running for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

Thematic Issue: Women, Media, and Politics in a Comparative Perspective
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2016 

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