George Washington and the Second Amendment: Unsettling the question with expert opinions

While fact checking claims PolitiFact Texas made in its fact check of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) I ran into the problem of experts giving contradictory opinions. Gohmert answered a journalist’s question about the justification for citizens having arms similar to those used by law enforcement.  Gohmert said his reason was the same as the one that George Washington had for…
Read more

John McManus’ ‘SMELL test’

Veteran journalism critic John McManus came forth with a good article on evaluating online information sources, published online by PBS. “Don’t Be Fooled: Use the SMELL Test To Separate Fact from Fiction Online” encourages readers to test claims with a process that follows the SMELL acronym:   Introducing the SMELL test S stands for Source. Who is providing the information?…
Read more

Brooks Jackson and firefighting

Brooks Jackson, the founder of Annenberg Fact Check, published a review in December of his past nine years at  Titled “Firefighters, Fact-Checking and American Journalism,” the review focuses largely on the role of the fact checker. Jackson deserves credit for steering what is and has been the best fact-checking organization.  But his defense of mainstream fact checking does much…
Read more

Experts and agendas

Journalists who fact check tend to rely on experts. It makes sense.  Journalists possess limited pools of knowledge, and that knowledge is mostly of a general character.  Journalists know something about quite a few things rather than having a great deal of knowledge about one specific thing. Therein lies the dilemma for the fact checking journalist.  Which expert is right…
Read more

The reason behind the journalistic fact check movement

I’ve blogged in the past that the recent trend for journalists to engage in political fact checking amounts to a type of power play.  A guest column by Mike Deupree in Iowa’s The Register yesterday helped inspire me to sharpen the point. “At some point,” writes Deupree, “some journalists — probably frustrated because readers weren’t making the decisions the journalists…
Read more

Introducing Zebra Fact Check

Zebra Fact Check logo

Journalists trend ideologically left. That’s just a fact.   In findings likely to fuel the raging debate over the issue of media bias, a new book concludes that the nation’s journalists have moved a bit to the right since the 1990s, but are still considerably more liberal than the general public. This political snapshot of the media comes from the…
Read more