Monthly Archive: December 2015

Trump supporters & truth: A reply to Rider University’s Michelle A. Amazeen

Last week I posted in reply to Politico’s Jack Shafer, who suggested in an article that Trump supporters don’t care if Trump does not tell the truth. We responded with a post suggesting Trump supporters have reason to distrust fact checkers such as PolitiFact. We tagged Shafer in a tweet highlighting our reply and Shafer retweeted it. Meanwhile Michelle A….
Read more

A reply to Politico’s Jack Shafer

In a Dec. 24, 2015 column, Politico’s Jack Shafer wonders why the mainstream media fact checkers have no discernible effect on the presidential race. Republican Donald Trump, for example, pays them about the same heed Godzilla pays the Japanese Air Force. Shafer writes: It would stand to reason that the documentation of Trump’s lies—not to mention his rudeness and crudeness—would…
Read more

PolitiFact vs. Rubio on defense spending

Back in May 2015 PolitiFact, specifically PolitiFact Florida, published an amazingly incompetent fact check. PolitiFact Florida’s fact check looked at whether Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio was right that the United States is not building aircraft, aircraft carriers and submarines. PolitiFact Florida said it found plenty of evidence the United States was building aircraft, aircraft carriers and submarines, rating Rubio’s…
Read more

Interview: Zbiegniew Mazurak

We sought the opinion of Zbiegniew Mazurak on defense issues. Mazurak’s “About Me” page says “I’m a defense analyst with 6 years of experience in the field, specializing in the defense budget, nuclear weapons strategy, and missile defense.” We wanted to see how Mazurak would approach the fact check issue without our leading toward a particular angle. As a follow…
Read more

Time off

There’s a heretofore unexplained gap in the output at Zebra Fact Check running from July through October of 2015. I was hired by a non-profit, non-partisan organization to work on a new fact-checking project. Ballotpedia’s Verbatim project launched in October 2015 and we parted amicably shortly after that. I plan to write a review of Verbatim in 2016 as it…
Read more

Brendan Nyhan blunders closer to the truth

Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College

Maybe political scientist Brendan Nyhan is closing in on the truth. Nyhan, of Dartmouth College, was part of a New Hampshire Public Radio interview on Dec. 7, 2015. On the bad side, Nyhan still clings to his dubious fact-checking “backfire effect”: “My research suggests that it’s very hard to change peoples’ minds about these very controversial issues and political figures….
Read more

Review: “His Lips Are Moving: Pinocchio Effect and Other Lexical Indicators of Political Deceptions”

Near the tail end of November 2015 somebody shared with me a link to an NPR story about a new study looking at the lexical features of political lying, “Researchers Examine How to Spot a Lying Politician“: SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Well, Steve, this is research by social scientists who are doing what social scientists do, which is they look for…
Read more