Tag Archive: fact checking

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…
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Polls, fact-checking, and public trust

In the past month, two pollsters have collected data about how much the public trusts fact-checking. Rasmussen Reports On Sept. 30, 2016, Rasmussen Reports surveyed likely voters and found a low level of trust in media fact-checking: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 29% of all Likely U.S. Voters trust media fact-checking of candidates’…
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A reply to Politico’s Jack Shafer

In a Dec. 24, 2015 column, Politico’s Jack Shafer wonders why the mainstream media fact checkers have no discernible effect on the presidential race. Republican Donald Trump, for example, pays them about the same heed Godzilla pays the Japanese Air Force. Shafer writes: It would stand to reason that the documentation of Trump’s lies—not to mention his rudeness and crudeness—would…
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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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Fact-checker agreement—and disagreement

In recent months we’ve pored over a pair of scholarly works on the topic of fact-checking. One, Checking the Fact-checkers in 2008: Predicting Political Ad Scrutiny and Assessing Consistency by Michele A. Amazeen, we reviewed earlier this year. The second, a doctoral dissertation by former PolitiFact writer Lucas Graves, contains much material we’ll address in one way or another over…
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Alligator attacks, guns and PolitiFact Florida

PolitiFact Florida

“(Erek) Culbreath said, ‘According to the state of Florida, you are almost twice as likely to get attacked by an alligator than by someone with a conceal-and-carry permit.’” … We find the statement has an element of truth but ignores other information that would give a different impression. So we rate it Mostly False.” —PolitiFact Florida, from a March 23,…
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The Plain Dealer’s ‘Truth in Numbers’ project

Last year, the Cleveland Plain Dealer stopped publishing stories under the PolitiFact Ohio banner.  We read with interest the criticisms of PolitiFact coming from Plain Dealer staffers. On June 7, 2014 Plain Dealer reader representative Ted Diadiun lauded the start of the paper’s Truth in Numbers fact check effort.  He told how the Truth in Numbers system improved on PolitiFact’s…
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The Atlantic: “It’s not the rating that matters.”

The Atlantic recently published a column about fact checking by Alesh Houdek.  Houdek asks a question and by the end he gives us an answer.  The answer reveals the key problem with modern fact checking, though Houdek apparently doesn’t completely see it. The question (from the story’s deck):   Seen from the right angle with the right squint, the claim…
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George Washington and the Second Amendment: Unsettling the question with expert opinions

While fact checking claims PolitiFact Texas made in its fact check of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) I ran into the problem of experts giving contradictory opinions. Gohmert answered a journalist’s question about the justification for citizens having arms similar to those used by law enforcement.  Gohmert said his reason was the same as the one that George Washington had for…
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Is it worth trying to improve on FactCheck.org?

I’m on record calling Annenberg Fact Check, perhaps better known as FactCheck.org, the gold standard for mainstream fact checking.  At the same time I’m trying to make the case that there’s ample room for competition.  There’s potential to supplant today’s gold standard with an improved standard. A Nov. 14 story by former PolitiFact writer Robert Farley serves as an example. …
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