Latest Posts

When Fact Checkers Can’t See Error

Two examples from the past several weeks help solidify our impression that the new journalistic genre of “fact-checking” needs a basic upgrade. In both examples, key principals in the fact-checking industry could not see an error staring them in the face.   PolitiFact, Louis Jacobson On Sept. 12, 2018 PolitiFact published a fact check of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough through…
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Email Outreach to PolitiFact, Sept. 12, 2018:

Our message to PolitiFact pointing out an error in its PunditFact fact from Sept. 12, 2018 resulted in an automated response. We will update this item if we receive additional response from PolitiFact. Message from Zebra Fact Check (Sept. 12, 2018 10:32 p.m. EDT): Dear Truth-O-Meter, A PunditFact fact check published on Sept. 12, 2018 requires correction. The fact check examines the…
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August 2018 Q&A with Alexios Mantzarlis

Each month we pose a question to International Fact-Checking Network Director Alexios Mantzarlis. Our arrangement permits Mantzarlis to reply to questions at any time as his schedule permits.   ZEBRA FACT CHECK (Aug. 17, 2018) The IFCN has published a review of its first year enforcing its principles. It has also revamped its web presence, including making the rules for compliance with…
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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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July 2018 Q&A with Alexios Mantzarlis

Each month we pose a question to International Fact-Checking Network Director Alexios Mantzarlis.   ZEBRA FACT CHECK (July 9, 2018) Hypothetical: Evidence reveals the Washington Post Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, as a long-time partisan Republican (with a history of partisan political donations and advocating for political issues that he fact checked). What happens in terms of IFCN verification, if anything?…
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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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Does PolitiFact Care About Accuracy?

PunditFact mistake corrections

PolitiFact Does a Poor Job With Corrections. We’ve belabored the point that PolitiFact has yet to fix two problems we pointed out to the International Fact-Checking Network. The independent assessor chosen by the IFCN wrote that the problems we pointed out deserved a reply. But despite the passage of months we have seen no evidence PolitiFact has either run a…
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Fact checker rating systems: Why?

Last month we asked the director of the International Fact-Checking Network, Alexios Mantzarlis, to give the strongest comprehensive case in favor of fact-checking organizations using rating systems. We asked because most fact-checking organizations use some sort of sliding scale rating system. Given the popularity of the practice we felt it was beneficial to encourage the IFCN to publish a rationale…
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