the Blog

Short news items and site announcements.

Of fallacy and the rhetorical “booby trap”

We’re adding a new icon to our ratings arsenal. We use fallacy icons and descriptions from yourlogicalfallacyis.com because that site did a great deal of good work designing fallacy icons—work we’d have ended up doing otherwise.   Yourlogicalfallacyis.com also provides simplified descriptions of the fallacies well-suited to readers new to analyzing rhetoric in terms of logic. We use a variety of…
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Updated look

We’re close to making the site look like the way we planned it.   We have revised the pages of posts to show only the beginning of stories and posts with a “Continue reading” option, making it much easier to see all the recent stories with just a bit of scrolling.  The images accompanying the stories and posts give the site…
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Where’s the beef?

Alas!  Sorry for the lack of new content lately.  It’s not for lack of effort, as I’ve been working furiously on a fact check of PolitiFact Texas.  PolitiFact’s fact check had to do with a statement from President George Washington. My research on this one has proved so extensive that I’m planning a fact check entry as well as a…
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Two new rating icons added

Over the past weekend we created two new icons for use with our rating system. First, we filled the anticipated need for an “out of context” icon. We also added an icon for use with statements that rely on or suggest apples-to-oranges comparisons. More planned changes include a revised front-page presentation as well as  category pages that display only a…
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The Zebr-O-Meter?

Not long after I first started criticizing the fact checkers at PolitiFact, I declared that I could come up with a better system of rating fact checks than the “Truth-O-Meter” system PolitiFact uses. I gradually fleshed out the main idea over the course of a year. The system would not jam statements into ill-defined categories and would summarize the key…
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Is the United States “the oldest democracy in the world”?

Sometimes political statements include would-be facts that pique our curiosity but aren’t of any special importance to the overall message.  One such occurred during President Obama’s joint press conference with Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra:   PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me just say, first of all, that democracy is not something that is static; it’s something that we constantly have…
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Is it worth trying to improve on FactCheck.org?

I’m on record calling Annenberg Fact Check, perhaps better known as FactCheck.org, the gold standard for mainstream fact checking.  At the same time I’m trying to make the case that there’s ample room for competition.  There’s potential to supplant today’s gold standard with an improved standard. A Nov. 14 story by former PolitiFact writer Robert Farley serves as an example. …
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