Commentary

How Science Feedback flunked Fact-Checking 101

Note: See statement of transparency following the article. Science Feedback’s fact check of a pro-life video used poor methods and the IFCN’s review missed it An August 30, 2019 Science Feedback fact check (updated Sept. 3, 2019) ruled “Inaccurate” pro-life advocate Lila Rose’s claim “Abortion is not medically necessary.” Science Feedback’s status as a Facebook fact-checking partner, made possible through…
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Poor Measures of Fact Checker Bias

After Sen. Ted Cruz needled mainstream fact-checker PolitiFact by calling it “a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party,” PolitiFact responded with a hilariously tone-deaf article PolitiSplaining why it was not, in fact, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. The conservative media criticism site Newsbusters piled on with an article intended to show PolitiFact’s partiality to the political left. But…
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PolitiFact, corrections and accountability

We have long criticized PolitiFact for failing to heed reasonable requests for corrections as well as its too-frequent failures to follow its own corrections policies. When the International Fact-Checking Network committed itself to the role of policing signatories to its statement of principles and stated it would accept and review specific complaints about the fact-checking organizations under its umbrella, we…
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Fact Checkers with Two Faces

With the exception of Zebra Fact Check, which features a rating system designed to minimize subjectivity, there are two kinds of fact checkers. The first type follows the FactCheck.org model and offers readers fact-checking and explanatory journalism using a traditional media presentation with text, pictures and graphs.. The second type follows the PolitiFact model, expanding on the FactCheck.org model by…
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Fact check shenanigans at the Poynter Institute

What message does it send if the Poynter Institute declines to correct mistakes in its reporting on fact-checking? On July 3, 2019 the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute published a review of a Pew Research report on public trust in the media. We flagged an error in Daniela Flamini’s reporting. And with a month having passed, the error…
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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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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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What if Fact Checkers Knew Logic?

An Aug. 3, 2018 PolitiFact fact check of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Medicare For All helps show the disadvantages of issuing fact check ratings without the benefit of logic. PolitiFact’s system ends up giving a “Half True” rating to Sanders’ entirely spurious argument. PolitiFact quotes Sanders to introduce his argument: Sanders said, “Let me thank the Koch Brothers of…
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