The Washington Post has canceled its “What Was Fake on the Internet This Week” column. According to Caitlin Dewey, when the paper inaugurated the column in 2014, the goal was to correct misinformation that Internet readers had accepted due to “honest ignorance or misinformation.” This, the paper says, has become impossible—rumors now circulate at a much faster pace, and are therefore difficult to correct. Dewey says that readers, too, have become less interested in the truth, because they are driven by “schadenfreude—even hate.”
The Knight Foundation is donating $140,000 to the publishing platform Medium, with the agreement that the money will be used to fact-check political posts leading up to the presidential election. Among other things, this means that Medium will scrutinize all of the publications that presidential candidates (including Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Marco Rubio) post on the site. The fact-checking will be handled by Politifact, and corrections will be posted on the Medium site. One imagines that the politicians, knowing of this safeguard at Medium, will save their misinformation for other outlets.
At the New York Times, Matthew Schneier reflects on the “most discussed fashion model of 2015,” namely Joan Didion. Did her much-discussed appearance in ads for Celine affect her career as a writer? It seems so: “According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales of print books, sales of her work in 2015 to date are up nearly 55 percent over the comparable period the previous year.”
A new study has revealed that bestselling books are getting longer. The average length of a bestseller in 1999 was 320 pages; in 2014, the average length jumped to 407 pages. If you trust Amazon reviews, then novels are also apparently getting better.
Tickets are on sale for the Poetry Project’s 42nd Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading. The list of this year’s performers includes Christian Hawkey, Dorothea Laskey, Eileen Myles, Patricia Spears Jones, and many others.