Political facts

I’ve been reading FactCheck.org for a few years now, and have been subscribed to their email newsletter as long as I’ve been reading the site. The site, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, works to point out the misleading statistics, factual inaccuracies and errors, and flat-out lies spread by politicians and the organizations that support them. I’ve learned so much about politics over the years just from learning where politicians have mislead us (the general public).

While catching up on my FactCheck reading today, I learned that there is another source of political fact checking on the web now – PolitiFact. Going beyond FactCheck’s more reserved misinformation corrections, PolitiFact gives you the Truth-o-meter to simplify evaluating statements from the bearers of (mis)truths.

PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly to help you find the truth in the presidential campaign. Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times and CQ will analyze the candidates’ speeches, TV ads and interviews and determine whether the claims are accurate.

I think it is worth taking 2-3 minutes to read more details on the Truth-o-meter to see how it works and why it is worth checking. Interested in who is lying or misleading us? Well, here are a couple of quotes for you to check out for factual accuracy. I’ve chosen individuals from both sides of the US political debate, and selected short quotes with short PolitiFact responses or analysis.

  • Sen. Joe Biden: “The president is brain-dead.”
    Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Sen. John McCain: Sen. Clinton said “the surge of troops in Iraq was ‘working.’ Now…. Sen. Clinton says the surge ‘has failed’ and that we should ‘begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.'”
    Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 in a news release

I appreciate the fact that those running the site have enough of a sense of humor to even include the Biden comment, and the linked article includes links off-site to explanations of what exactly constitutes brain death. Each story has a graphical label for true, barely true, pants on fire (i.e., liar), and so on. I wanted to include the images for the above stories, but haven’t received permission from PolitiFact yet to do so. If I get a response, I’ll update my article with the images.

[tags]PolitiFact, FactCheck, Truths and Lies from politicians, The watcher watchers[/tags]


3 thoughts on “Political facts”

  1. Oooh — thanks for this. Great site, and you’re right about the sense of humor. It makes a nice change. (BTW, the guy in charge of CQ is Mike Riley, former editor of the Roanoke Times.)

  2. And this being simply an extended arm of the media, I am sure that their bias will have zero effect on their fact checking or interpolation of the facts found.


  3. Only the deluded believe any presentation of facts would be unbiased. It certainly beats the stupidly extreme “fact” presentation of Fox, NBC, CNN, or any of the others.

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