Author Archive: Bryan W. White

Juggling apples & oranges

Zebra Fact Check considers the avoidance of apples-to-oranges comparisons a completely basic task in fact-checking. Thus, it especially piques our interest when two mainstream fact checkers fact check the same apple fact with orange data when researching the same subject. During his inauguration speech, President Biden said the coronavirus deaths from the past year equaled the number of Americans killed…
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Complaints to the International Fact-Checking Network about FactCheck.org and PolitiFact

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FactCheck.org and PolitiFact committed an error in common in fact-checking President Biden’s inaugural address. Both made statements representing the total U.S. death toll from World War II using statistics for U.S. military deaths and omitting all mention of civilian war dead. Both fact-checking organizations failed to address the error or acknowledge the complaint within a week’s time, leading to the…
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Email outreach to the International Fact-Checking Network, Jan. 19, 2021

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On Jan. 19, 2021, Zebra Fact Check again asked the International Fact-Checking Network to explain the verification status for the fact-checking organization PolitiFact. PolitiFact’s annual verification expired June 20, 2020. The IFCN ordinarily allows a three-month grace period for renewal. The three-month grace period expired Sept. 20, 2020. In 2020 the IFCN also allowed for longer grace periods to counter…
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Transparency statement from IFCN lacks transparency

International Fact-Checking Network revised logo

The IFCN’s 2020 transparency statement about its “Code of Principles” enforcement strangely lacks transparency. The IFCN does a particularly bad job of explaining how it handles complaints about its signatory organizations. The IFCN first allowed the public to lodge complaints about its signatory fact-checking organizations in 2018. Little fanfare accompanied the move, continuing through 2019. But apparently word got out…
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Complaint to the IFCN about PolitiFact, Dec. 18, 2020

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On Dec. 18, 2020 Zebra Fact Check submitted a new complaint about the mainstream fact checker PolitiFact to the International Fact-Checking Network. PolitiFact and the IFCN are both owned by the nonprofit Poynter Institute. In a nutshell, the complaint points toward a long-running study of PolitiFact’s subjective application of its “Pants on Fire” rating as evidence PolitiFact does not exhibit…
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Email outreach to the International Fact-Checking Network, Sept. 22, 2020

The International Fact-Checking Network allowed its stable of verified fact-checking organizations an extended period to complete their renewal process, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The normal window for renewal is three months. The IFCN, so far as we are aware, has established no limit on the extended grace period. The IFCN has, however, invited the public to ask the IFCN…
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