Latest Posts

July 2018 Q&A with Alexios Mantzarlis

Each month we pose a question to International Fact-Checking Network Director Alexios Mantzarlis.   ZEBRA FACT CHECK (July 9, 2018) Hypothetical: Evidence reveals the Washington Post Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, as a long-time partisan Republican (with a history of partisan political donations and advocating for political issues that he fact checked). What happens in terms of IFCN verification, if anything?…
Read more

Fisking Newsy’s Flimsy Fact Check Fix

PolitiFact recently partnered with a television news channel, Newsy, to spread its fact-checking content. Ordinarily the video version of a fact-check simplifies the fact check and further distorts any inaccuracies. But the Newsy version of a July 2, 2018 PolitiFact fact check actually does a more complete job of reporting. That said, the fact check of a President Trump claim…
Read more

Does PolitiFact Care About Accuracy?

PunditFact mistake corrections

PolitiFact Does a Poor Job With Corrections. We’ve belabored the point that PolitiFact has yet to fix two problems we pointed out to the International Fact-Checking Network. The independent assessor chosen by the IFCN wrote that the problems we pointed out deserved a reply. But despite the passage of months we have seen no evidence PolitiFact has either run a…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more