IFCN News: IFCN re-verifies PolitiFact

The International Fact-Checking Network re-verified PolitiFact on June 20, 2019. The re-verification serves as the IFCN’s assurance that PolitiFact has complied with the IFCN’s Code of Principles.

The Poynter Institute owns the IFCN and PolitiFact.

Independent assessor Michael Wagner judged that PolitiFact fully complied with each of the established criteria from the Code of Principles.

[Disclosure: Zebra Fact Check submitted a series of complaints to the IFCN concerning PolitiFact, none of which received mention in Wagner’s report]

Wagner’s summary, while noting PolitiFact’s compliance with the Code of Principles, offered some suggestions for improvement:

PolitiFact is an excellent, transparent, industry-leading fact-checking site owned by Poynter. It complies with each of the IFCN criteria in clear, easy-to-find ways. I recommend that PolitiFact’s appplication [sic] be accepted. I also recommend that PolitiFact consider informing readers about the number and nature of the corrections requests they receive. I also recommend that PolitiFact considers either making the distinctions between “half true” and “mostly false” on the Truth-o-Meter more distinct or further specifying how decisions are made that place checks on claims in one category over the other. Perhaps a link to an “anatomy of a fact check” page that explains why claim A was half true and claim B was mostly false, for example.

The report praised the consistency and scope of PolitiFact’s fact-checking (criterion 2a):

PolitiFact conducts fact-checks on a wide variety of political elites from all sides of the political spectrum. My analyses over three randomly sampled months of fact-checks does not find systematic bias in the subjects, speakers, and contexts that get checked. Each fact-check is conducted using the same set of priniciples [sic] that are clearly articulated on their website. Moreover, each fact-check is conducted using the same ratings scale (the Truth-O-Meter).

Wagner’s report was dated May 27, 2019.

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