Zebra Fact Checks

Fact checks and commentary articles that fact check fact checkers

PolitiFact botches judgment on Ben Carson tax plan

PolitiFact vs. Ben Carson

“[Becky] Quick’s math is sound, based on what’s publicly known about Carson’s plan. Carson’s 15 percent flat tax would generate a $1.1 trillion hole. By his own math, his plan would create a $1 trillion hole.” —PolitiFact, from a Nov. 4, 2015 fact check of GOP presidential contender Ben Carson   Overview PolitiFact’s omissions and misrepresentations leave behind a misleading…
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PolitiFact Wisconsin and the Rouhani-Obama fauxto

On July 24, 2015, PolitiFact Wisconsin published a fact check piggybacking on a recent BuzzFeed criticism of a political ad. On July 23, 2015 BuzzFeed published a story about a political ad aired by Restoration PAC in support of the re-election campaign of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). The BuzzFeed story, by Ilan Ben-Meir, focused in part on one of the…
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Fact-checker agreement—and disagreement

In recent months we’ve pored over a pair of scholarly works on the topic of fact-checking. One, Checking the Fact-checkers in 2008: Predicting Political Ad Scrutiny and Assessing Consistency by Michele A. Amazeen, we reviewed earlier this year. The second, a doctoral dissertation by former PolitiFact writer Lucas Graves, contains much material we’ll address in one way or another over…
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Alligator attacks, guns and PolitiFact Florida

PolitiFact Florida

“(Erek) Culbreath said, ‘According to the state of Florida, you are almost twice as likely to get attacked by an alligator than by someone with a conceal-and-carry permit.’” … We find the statement has an element of truth but ignores other information that would give a different impression. So we rate it Mostly False.” —PolitiFact Florida, from a March 23,…
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FiveThirtyEight and atheists in prison

“Atheists are underrepresented [in federal prison].” Mona Chalabi, in a March 12, 2015 article for FiveThirtyEight   Overview FiveThirtyEight uses data inadequate for the task of estimating the percentage of atheists in federal prison. FiveThirtyEight’s argument won’t even support a probabilistic case that atheists are underrepresented in the federal prison population. The Facts FiveThirtyEight’s Mona Chalabi received a request from…
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Did Netanyahu take Kerry out of context?

“Netanyahu Takes Kerry Out of Context” —FactCheck.org, from a March 3, 2015 fact check of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu   Overview FactCheck.org’s assertion that Prime Minister Netanyahu took Secretary of State Kerry out of context appears to lack any basis in fact. The Facts On March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a well-publicized address to both…
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Revisiting the Romney Jeep ad

Fact Checkers are Great Because They Condemned Mitt Romney’s Jeep Ad? In the peer-reviewed article Revisiting the Epistemology of Fact-Checking, researcher Michelle A. Amazeen offers readers an example of the beneficial effects of good fact-checking: When a framework of fact-checking becomes established, it should become more difficult for a politician to fabricate claims. For example, at the end of the…
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