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Fact Checker Fail on Pre-existing Conditions

The Washington Post Fact Checker Turns Fact-Checking on its Head Health care has emerged as a key issue for the 2018 mid-term elections. The mainstream press has largely supported a narrative that support for a lawsuit asserting the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional shows opposition to protections for pre-existing conditions. The Washington Post Fact Checker published a fact check showcasing…
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PolitiFact Gives Zebra Fact Check the Brush-off

The Brush-off On Oct. 3, 2018 Zebra Fact Check contacted PolitiFact to point out the need for a correction to a PolitiFact Missouri fact check from Sept. 20, 2018. Our message explained the correction was necessary because PolitiFact Missouri had rated “Mostly False” a claim PolitiFact had stated as true in 2013. PolitiFact gave Zebra Fact Check the brush-off. PolitiFact…
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Email Exchange With PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders, Oct. 3-9, 2018

On Oct. 9, 2018 we received a response to an email message we sent to truthometer@politifact.com. Katie Sanders sent the response. Sanders serves as PolitiFact’s managing editor. Note that Sanders may well have also read a different description of the same issue forwarded through the International Fact-Checking Network. ZEBRA FACT CHECK (Oct. 3, 2-018) The Sept. 20, 2018 PolitiFact Missouri fact…
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Watching the Watchmen: Corrections

Not long after the International Fact-Checking Network committed to policing whether signatories to its code of principles were following that code, we observed that the means the IFCN chose to ensure compliance with its code set a low bar for fact-checking organizations. That bar was especially low for organizations’ policies for “open and honest” corrections: How does one verify scrupulous…
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September 2018 Q&A with Alexios Mantzarlis

Each month we pose a question to International Fact-Checking Network Director Alexios Mantzarlis. Our arrangement permits Mantzarlis to reply to questions at any time as his schedule permits.   ZEBRA FACT CHECK (Sept. 3, 2018) Earlier this year, PolitiFact issued a new statement of principles, including a corrections policy that apparently gives it license to correct all spelling errors without issuing any…
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Email outreach to PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson, Sept. 19, 2018

We sent the following email to PolitiFact Senior Correspondent Louis Jacobson on Sept. 19, 2018 at 11:23 a.m. (EDT): A Sept. 12, 2018 PunditFact story, where you received the writing credit, contains the following line (given bold emphasis) in the section assessing Joe Scarborough’s claim in terms of percentage of GDP: The chart does show that, when looking at a percentage…
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Email exchange with reporter Daniel Funke of the International Fact-Checking Network

This is a formatted version of an email exchange taking place between Aug. 13, 2018 and Sept. 5, 2018. We have condensed the conversation to focus on the topic, omitting pleasantries and material not clearly offered “on the record.”   ZEBRA FACT CHECK (Aug. 13, 2018) Your August 10, 2018 article on the PolitiFact language inventory study misleads in ways…
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When Fact Checkers Can’t See Error

Two examples from the past several weeks help solidify our impression that the new journalistic genre of “fact-checking” needs a basic upgrade. In both examples, key principals in the fact-checking industry could not see an error staring them in the face.   PolitiFact, Louis Jacobson On Sept. 12, 2018 PolitiFact published a fact check of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough through…
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Email Outreach to PolitiFact, Sept. 12, 2018:

Our message to PolitiFact pointing out an error in its PunditFact fact from Sept. 12, 2018 resulted in an automated response. We will update this item if we receive additional response from PolitiFact. Message from Zebra Fact Check (Sept. 12, 2018 10:32 p.m. EDT): Dear Truth-O-Meter, A PunditFact fact check published on Sept. 12, 2018 requires correction. The fact check examines the…
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