Why objectively false things continue to be believed

There are ways to correct information more effectively. Adam Berinsky of M.I.T., for instance, found that a surprising co-partisan source (a Republican member of Congress) was the most effective in reducing belief in the “death panel” myth about the Affordable Care Act.

But in the wiretapping case, Republican lawmakers have neither supported Mr. Trump’s wiretap claims (which could risk their credibility) nor strenuously opposed them (which could prompt a partisan backlash). Instead, they have tried to shift attention to a different political narrative — one that suits the partisan divide by making Mr. Obama the villain of the piece. Rather than focusing on the wiretap allegation, they have sought to portray the House Intelligence Committee hearings on Russian interference in the election as an investigation into leaks of classified information.

In Monday’s hearing, for instance, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, asked Mr. Comey which Obama administration officials would have had access to the leaked information, implying that officials from the previous administration must be responsible for the leaks.

The result is that the same hearings may appear completely different to voters of different parties. Democrats may see a defeat for Mr. Trump because Mr. Comey rejected his wiretap claims and confirmed that the F.B.I. is investigating whether there was any coordination between his campaign and the Russian intelligence officials who interfered in the election.