PolitiFact, corrections and accountability

We have long criticized PolitiFact for failing to heed reasonable requests for corrections as well as its too-frequent failures to follow its own corrections policies.

When the International Fact-Checking Network committed itself to the role of policing signatories to its statement of principles and stated it would accept and review specific complaints about the fact-checking organizations under its umbrella, we saw an opportunity. We would test the IFCN’s ability to monitor fact-checking organizations by sending the IFCN our observations about PolitiFact’s follies and failures on corrections and reporting.

PolitiFact served as the perfect subject for testing the IFCN thanks first to our familiarity with PolitiFact’s work and history and second owing to the Poynter Institute owning both entities.

Poynter’s powerful position of influence over the organization that holds fact-checking organizations accountable makes accusations of favoritism immediately plausible if the IFCN fails to conspicuously hold Poynter’s own fact-checking organization to the very highest standard.

We look forward to reporting what we have found over the past twelve months or so. The collection of stories and email messages will carry the tag “IFCN/PolitiFact Corrections 2018-2019.”

We are publishing the unheeded complaints we sent to PolitiFact along with the complaints we sent to the IFCN after each instance of PolitiFact deciding it need not issue a correction or clarification.

And, pending the IFCN’s treatment of the set of complaints we sent, we expect our collection to culminate in a story that will shock those who put strong trust in Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.

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