Zebra Fact Checks

Fact checks and commentary articles that fact check fact checkers

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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Was the BCRA Aimed at Reducing the Number of Medicaid Enrollees?

“The Medicare reduction was aimed at cost efficiency, while the Medicaid reduction was aimed at reducing the number of enrollees.” —PolitiFact’s Angie Drobnic Holan, during a May 9, 2018 Reddit AMA     “The Senate bill takes several steps to restrain Medicaid spending. It rolls back who is eligible.” —PolitiFact fact check of a Kellyanne Conway claim about Medicaid, written…
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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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Does CHIP renewal save $6 billion over 10 years?

“(W)e wanted permanent CHIP, which, by the way, saves $6 billion.” —Nancy Pelosi, from a Jan. 18, 2018 press conference   “CBO analyses back up Pelosi’s numbers. Because the reauthorization of CHIP would essentially take the place of more expensive programs, doing so would eventually net savings for the government. We rate her statement True. —PolitiFact, from a Jan. 24,…
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Fact checkers, Medicaid & the individual mandate

How well do fact checkers fact check? Each of the “elite three” mainstream media fact checkers, PolitiFact, the Washington Post Fact Checker and FactCheck.org, has had the opportunity to weigh in on the effects of the GOP’s health care reform proposals. The “Affordable Care Act” passed under the administration of President Barack Obama applies a tax to individuals and families…
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Did Sarah Sanders say the diversity visa lottery system does not vet applicants?

“White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that immigrants coming to the United States through the diversity visa program are not vetted before their arrival.” —PolitiFact, from a Nov. 2, 2017 fact check of Sarah Huckabee Sanders   Summary PolitiFact may have misled its readers about what Sanders was saying. Background facts After an immigrant acting in the name…
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Kicked off insurance? Fact-checking the Fact Checker

To what degree do GOP health care reform proposals kick people off health insurance? Is there a Democrat who has failed to repeat the talking point that one or another such bill will kick some millions off their insurance? The claim appears ubiquitous, yet fact checkers like the Washington Post Fact Checker and PolitiFact have pretty much ignored the deceptive…
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Fact checkers take odd approach to Trump Southwest border claim

President Donald J. Trump has said illegal border crossings dipped 78 percent under his administration. Mainstream fact checkers have lumped that claim in with an associated claim, that immigration has gone up under other administrations. Their fact checks have tended to focus on this second claim instead of Trump’s claim of a 78 percent decrease. PolitiFact piqued our interest in…
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