Zebra Fact Checks

Fact checks and commentary articles that fact check fact checkers

Scandal: Fact Checkers Fail at Accountability

The International Fact-Checking Network’s Epic Fail on Fact-Checking Accountability It’s a scandal when an accountability organization fails to provide accountability. After years of finding fault with mainstream media fact checkers, especially PolitiFact, it came as welcome news in 2018 that the International Fact-Checking Network would institute a formal system for registering complaints about its stable of fact-checking organizations. A properly…
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Email outreach regarding IFCN error reporting on Pew Research findings

In July 2019, Zebra Fact Check discovered an error in the International Fact-Checking Network’s coverage of a Pew Research survey. The IFCN-published story falsely said “Almost half of Americans believe that fact checkers are biased, and the majority of those skeptics are Republican.” Pew Research data apparently do not support the latter proposition. Zebra Fact Check received no reply to…
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PolitiFact’s subjective treatment of Val Demings

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,” said the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan, “but not to his own facts.” Fact checkers like PolitiFact have a way around Moynihan’s maxim. They first choose which claim to check, then choose how to check the claim. Both steps feature subjective judgments. The end result? The fact checkers choose their own facts. PolitiFact’s Feb….
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A Trifecta of Fact Checker Error on IG Report

The so-called “elite three” mainstream fact checkers, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and the Washington Post Fact Checker, all followed the mainstream press in making a serious error reporting on the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. What the IG Report Said The IG report repeatedly said investigators failed to find “documentary or testimonial evidence” of political bias. But the…
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PolitiFact's Medicare-For-All Unexplainer

CORRECTION: This article received a significant correction the same day it was published, affecting three paragraphs. Find specific details here. In addition to its “Truth-O-Meter” and “Flip-O-Meter” judgments on political speech, PolitiFact delves fairly often into the “explainer” genre. PolitiFact’s November 2019 “Medicare For All” explainer contained a number of misleading elements while offering its readers a credulous view of…
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Washington Post Fact Checker wrongly dings Gabbard on Russian ‘grooming’

When numerous media outlets produced conflicting reports, op-eds and fact checks on whether Hillary Clinton said the Russians were grooming Democratic Party presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Zebra Fact Check weighed in on the issue. After looking at the whole context of the Clinton interview on David Plouffe’s podcast, we said Clinton had tended to mix statements about Trump campaign…
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‘Lead Stories’ and the hoax that wasn’t

An Oct. 18, 2019 story at National Review said Hillary Clinton claimed the Russians were grooming Democratic Party presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) for a third-party campaign. And the fact checkers at Lead Stories, a fact-checking organization verified by the International Fact-Checking Network called it a hoax. Lead Stories was wrong. But its role as a Facebook fact-checking partner…
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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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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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