Latest Posts

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

Review: ‘Heroes or hacks: The partisan divide over fact-checking’

Does a partisan divide exist in attitudes toward political fact checkers? Bill Adair and Rebecca Iannucci of Duke University and the Duke Reporter’s Lab took up the question in a June 17, 2017 report, Heroes or hacks: The partisan divide over fact-checking, hereafter HOH. We will review HOH in two sections, first critiquing the report itself and second exploring the…
Read more

Do fact checkers follow their principles?

A look at the International Fact-Checking Network’s effort to enforce its code of principles In 2016 the mainstream media and its fact-checking brethren discovered the threat of “fake news” and started moving to protect people from the threat. Facebook acknowledged the problem by arranging for fact-checkers to flag intentionally false “news” stories. To help quell public concerns that biased fact-checkers…
Read more

The Secret to Transparency (Updated)

In late 2016 the International Fact-Checking Network issued a statement of principles held in common by its members.* Today we looked at the IFCN’s methods for evaluating compliance with its code of principles. Our examination of the process, as it is described, left us with concerns. In particular, the methods the IFCN chose to help ensure compliance with its statement…
Read more

Corrections to our critique of Aaron Huertas and the Poynter Institute

After we posted our critique of Aaron Huertas’ evidence backing his claim about a Florida government gag order on discussion of climate change, Huertas contacted us to let us know he annotated the article on the Genius website. Though Huertas’ response failed in answering the meat of our criticism, he found two mistakes that we hasten to correct. Moreover, reviewing…
Read more