I graduated from the journalism program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in 200
8. The university campus is located across the street from the Poynter Institute, which owns both the Tampa Bay Times (then known as the St. Petersburg Times) and PolitiFact.
I regarded Poynter’s 2007 foray into fact checking with hope and interest at first, but that changed quickly to horror. I couldn’t believe that the Times would produce a product so deeply inferior to the Annenberg Fact Check model.
My blogging gradually changed its focus to criticism of PolitiFact. I hoped that vigorous criticism would help PolitiFact reach for a higher set of standards.
The passage of time has made clear that process is either slow or simply not occurring.
So it’s time for Zebra Fact Check. Zebra Fact Check will help provide ideological diversity in fact checking. Aside from the problems at PolitiFact, all the major fact check services have an ideological hole in their fact checks. Zebra will look to shore up that weakness and shine some light on statements the other fact checkers overlook. And Zebra won’t hesitate to call out other fact check services for mishandling facts.
We’ll do our own fact checks with an eye toward resisting criticism.