The Zebr-O-Meter?

Not long after I first started criticizing the fact checkers at PolitiFact, I declared that I could come up with a better system of rating fact checks than the “Truth-O-Meter” system PolitiFact uses.

I gradually fleshed out the main idea over the course of a year.

The system would not jam statements into ill-defined categories and would summarize the key findings of the fact check without unduly encouraging readers to judge the results of the fact check without reading it.

A set of icons would represent specific mistakes in the claim. If a claim was based on a logical fallacy, then an icon or icons depicting that fallacy would follow the conclusion of the fact check. I looked forward to designing the icons. I dreaded figuring out how to put the presentation into effect.

In the end, it wasn’t that difficult. I found that the job of designing the icons was already done as well or better than I envisioned, and the creators of graciously gave permission for me to use the icons they created however I chose. I’m choosing to link their icons to their explanations of each individual fallacy. Thanks and credit go to Jesse Richardson and his associates. I’ve added couple of icons of my own to the set, and I’ll create more as needed.

As for the idea of a physical representation of the “Zebr-O-Meter,” I decided against it.  Fun, yes, but it’s too close to what PolitiFact does.


Above Here (so much for WYSIWYG) is the icon that will accompany a true statement.  It will often appear in the company of an icon indicating that charitable interpretation was used in finding the truth to the statement.

Below, find an example of a fallacy icon from

FallacyIcon straw man

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.