Commentary

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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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…
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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…
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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…
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Why Fact Checkers Need a Watchdog

Who fact checks the fact checkers? Since it started publishing occasional fact checks in 2010, Zebra Fact Check has found quite a few significant errors by mainstream media fact checkers. Unfortunately, our criticisms only rarely result in adequate changes in the original mainstream media fact checks. We held out some hope that the International Fact-Checking Network, hosted by the Poynter…
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Zinke, gas prices and PolitiFact

Does some form of Trump Derangement Syndrome make it impossible for mainstream media fact checkers to do their work properly? Consider President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And consider PolitiFact. At the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, Zinke claimed that under the Obama administration consumers paid about $100 to fill the tank with gas. Today, Zinke said, it costs…
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Biased reporters and nonpartisan reporting

On Feb. 2, 2018, the International Fact-Checking Network added the Daily Caller’s fact-checking project, Check Your Fact, to its list of “verified signatories” to its fact-checking code of principles. We’re disappointed at the rush to subscribe to the IFCN’s statement of principles. We find some of the principles arbitrary, and one in particular we find deceptive. The Daily Caller’s effort…
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Media Matters has a point about Poynter Institute’s IFCN

Media Matters For America attacked the International Fact-Checking Network, headquartered at the Poynter Institute, for verifying The Weekly Standard Fact Check. A Dec. 8, 2017 article by Cristina López G. noted the IFCN gave verified status to the conservative Weekly Standard’s fact check effort despite the concerns of an independent assessor. López makes one particularly valid point despite otherwise providing…
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