Tag Archive: Bill Adair

The ‘Truth-O-Meter’ Trap

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“Lord knows the decision about a Truth-O-Meter rating is entirely subjective.” –Bill Adair, 2016 “It’s not as subjective as some people think.” –Bill Adair, 2022 When we first encountered PolitiFact in late 2007, we immediately noticed the apparent subjectivity of its trademarked “Truth-O-Meter.” We thereafter realized their aggregated ratings could easily mislead people. And we realized the ratings were opinion,…
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Torture narrative trumps facts at PolitiFact

There’s no solid evidence that waterboarding works. https://t.co/rWBEn8n9r2 — Bill Adair (@BillAdairDuke) May 24, 2016   Bill Adair, Duke University’s Knight professor of computational journalism, helped found PolitiFact. That likely helps explain his “Truth-O-Meter”-ish Twitter avatar. Adair’s tweet about waterboarding helps show the way mainstream fact checkers help reinforce false partisan beliefs, in this case the popular narrative that torture…
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Journalism’s brave new world?

Over the years, we’ve noticed that fact checkers tend not to target other mainstream media for fact checks even though those media are at times directly responsible for the misinformation. Apparently media outlets don’t want to show each other up and start the equivalent of an informational gas war (no pun intended). Because Zebra Fact Check breaks with that tradition,…
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PolitiFact’s artful dodger, editor Bill Adair

A May 28 press release announcing a new study of PolitiFact pushed the issue of selection bias in fact checking to the political front burner this week.  The response from PolitiFact’s founder and editor, Bill Adair, provides a perfect avenue for highlighting some of the worst aspects of that fact check operation. The study, from the Center for Media and…
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