In 2021 PolitiFact produced a video explainer about its “Truth-O-Meter” process. We reviewed the video in our article “PolitiFact’s misleading ‘Truth-O-Meter’ explainer” on Oct. 4, 2021. A tweet from PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson on March 10, 2022 impels us to revisit the subject.
Jacobson’s mention of the “chamber” suggested he was talking about the “star chamber” for PolitiFact New York. That is, the group of editors responsible for voting on “Truth-O-Meter” ratings at PolitiFact New York.
Contradicting PolitiFact’s ‘Truth-O-Meter” Explainer?
PolitiFact’s explainer video assured viewers that experienced PolitiFact staffers decide the ratings.
PolitiFact’s Josie Hollingsworth, the spokesperson for the explainer video, said “everyone in a ratings jury has multiple years under their belt at PolitiFact. And they’re familiar with the PolitiFact Rating System.”
But, as we noted in our critique, that simply cannot work if state franchises supply their own star chambers. PolitiFact can’t give them years of experience right off the bat as soon as they start. It would take years to produce years of experience.
Color us skeptical of the notion that a group of editors such as those at the Buffalo News would put in two or more years of “star chamber” training before sitting to independently decide ratings.
We sent a tweet to PolitiFact New York hoping for some type of explanation. By March 15, 2022 we had received no reply. But we will update this item if we find somebody from PolitiFact addressing the issue.
With no explanation from PolitiFact, it seems that not everyone in a ratings jury has multiple years under their belt at PolitiFact. There may have been stretches where that has been the case. But a new franchise simply isn’t equipped to provide for itself that kind of experience.
The line apparently intended to boost trust in PolitiFact looks like a falsehood.
Fact checkers, fact check thyselves.
Note: Updated immediately after publishing to make tweet appear properly.