Zebra Fact Checks

Fact checks and commentary articles that fact check fact checkers

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…
Read more

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,…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

Why the “elite three” fact checkers miss out on public trust

America’s “elite three” fact checkers all bring an inconsistent approach to fact checks that address budget cuts. Specifically, PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and the Washington Post Fact Checker each defended the Democrats’ Affordable Care Act against the charge it cut Medicare.  But each made sure that the Republicans’ 2017 budget proposals for Medicaid were understood as clear budget cuts. The cases had…
Read more

Poynter: A Florida gag order on climate change?

Note (Dec. 29, 2016): We have updated this item in response to a critique from Aaron Huertas, the main target of our criticism. Find a description of the changes as well as the original version of the article here. Did Florida’s state government issue a gag order stopping state employees from discussing climate change? A Dec. 22, 2016 article published…
Read more

PolitiFact California walks back its ‘conversion therapy’ ruling

On July 29, 2016, we fact checked PolitiFact California’s ruling finding it “True” that Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence once advocated diverting federal money from AIDS care efforts toward gay “conversion therapy. On Dec. 2, 2016 PolitiFact California changed its ruling to “Half True.” As with Snopes.com’s “Mixture” rating of the claim about Pence and conversion therapy, we regard…
Read more

Is context optional at PolitiFact?

If it’s about Trump it’s too good to check? Fact checkers in 2016 (not to mention 2015) showed a tendency to take vague statements from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and upgrade those statements via interpretation into relatively clear statements. On December 2, 2016  a new PolitiFact story led us indirectly to a great example of this tendency. Lauren Carroll’s…
Read more