Latest Posts

Fact checker rating systems: Why?

Last month we asked the director of the International Fact-Checking Network, Alexios Mantzarlis, to give the strongest comprehensive case in favor of fact-checking organizations using rating systems. We asked because most fact-checking organizations use some sort of sliding scale rating system. Given the popularity of the practice we felt it was beneficial to encourage the IFCN to publish a rationale…
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Was the BCRA Aimed at Reducing the Number of Medicaid Enrollees?

“The Medicare reduction was aimed at cost efficiency, while the Medicaid reduction was aimed at reducing the number of enrollees.” —PolitiFact’s Angie Drobnic Holan, during a May 9, 2018 Reddit AMA     “The Senate bill takes several steps to restrain Medicaid spending. It rolls back who is eligible.” —PolitiFact fact check of a Kellyanne Conway claim about Medicaid, written…
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Email Outreach to PolitiFact’s Angie Holan and Jon Z. Greenberg

Email sent to PolitiFact’s Angie Drobnic Holan and Jon Z. Greenberg on May 10, 2018. I’m currently writing up a fact check of statements PolitiFact has supported. First, that the BCRA’s Medicaid cut was aimed at reducing Medicaid enrollment (Holan). Second, that the BCRA eliminates the ACA option for states to expand Medicaid (Greenberg). The other day during your Reddit…
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May 2018 Q&A with Alexios Mantzarlis

ZEBRA FACT CHECK From the start, the rating systems for PolitiFact and the Washington Post Fact Checker have drawn criticism over their inherent subjectivity. At the same time, such systems draw some strong support from members of the fact-checking community (a Duke Reporters Lab article from 2016 estimates a majority of fact-checking organizations use such rating systems).  PolitiFact’s founder, Bill Adair, reportedly participated…
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To & From Michael Wagner (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Email message sent to Michael Wagner on April 26, 2018: Following the announcement that the International Fact-Checking Network would serve as a type of quality control organization for fact checkers, I have carried the concern that the verification process lacks teeth. The issue of error correction served as the issue of greatest concern. The IFCN verification process appeared to place…
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Accountability? The International Fact-Checking Network Re-verifies PolitiFact

Does the International Fact-Checking Network effectively confirm that its list of “verified” signatories follows its code of principles? The task makes for a tall order, and we see plenty of reason to doubt. Over the years PolitiFact has impressed us with its ability to ignore well-reasoned criticisms sent to its staff in response to its invitation to find problems with…
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Why Fact Checkers Need a Watchdog

Who fact checks the fact checkers? Since it started publishing occasional fact checks in 2010, Zebra Fact Check has found quite a few significant errors by mainstream media fact checkers. Unfortunately, our criticisms only rarely result in adequate changes in the original mainstream media fact checks. We held out some hope that the International Fact-Checking Network, hosted by the Poynter…
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Email outreach to the Des Moines Register et al

Upon finding dubiously sourced information in a byline-less Des Moines Register editorial, Zebra Fact Check reached out to try to find the primary source backing the editorial’s claims. Quickly we realized that the editorial had very probably borrowed, without credit, material from the Whitehouse.gov website. We started our outreach solely with the purpose of obtaining information about the primary source….
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Email Outreach to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Brenda Looper

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Brenda Looper

After we noticed an April 11, 2018 newspaper opinion article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette making misleading statements about Zebra Fact Check and another site I help run, we tried to contact the author, Brenda Looper, via the email address listed on the Democrat-Gazette’s website. We sent the first email on April 11, 2018 and the second on April 13, 2018….
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