The Facts on the Fact Checking Community

Friday, December 16, 2011

Transcript

In order to cut a path through the reams of information that inundates media consumers, more organizations then ever are fact-checking claims made by partisan outfits and politicians. But press accuracy watchdog Craig Silverman tells Bob that people deliberately spreading untruth are so well-organized and well funded that this campaign season, news consumers may find it even harder to sort fact from fiction.

Comments [7]

Dave J. from Michigan

I love these fact-check sites/services. I realized that (outside of listening to NPR), they are my first and *only* news source on politics. Not only do I find out the latest news, but also get the scoop on the spin at the same time.

Dec. 20 2011 10:07 AM
Rob Funk from Columbus, OH

I was really disappointed that this piece omitted any mention of the criticisms of PolitiFact and other nonpartisan fact-checking outlets (but especially PolitiFact). Chris Mooney wrote recently of the problem with these outlets bending over backward to appear nonpartisan, and in the process being less accurate than the partisan checkers:
http://www.desmogblog.com/can-fact-checking-be-politically-neutral-when-facts-are-not-equally-distributed-across-political-spectrum

Most egregiously, PolitiFact has now declared that the "Lie of the Year" is the claim that Republicans voted to end Medicare; their position seems to be the inverse of the "rose by any other name" line, that anything called Medicare is still Medicare, regardless of what it actually is. One of the many articles decrying this choice:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/politifact_ought_to_be_ashamed034211.php

Dec. 20 2011 10:00 AM
Charles

So, OTM producers;

Craig Silverman works for the Poynter Institute. And the Poynter Institute does joint projects with PolitiFact (?!)

http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2011/10/28/poynter-politifact-create-politifact.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+industry_22+%28Industry+Education%29

Is Craig Silverman really the best critic you could find, regarding PolitiFact? Why not talk to Mark Hemingway or any of the folks at the Wall Street Journal who have been writing about this topic for a couple of years?

Dec. 19 2011 10:42 AM
Charles

Bob Garfield, and Craig Silverman, both paid lip-service to the column written by Mark Hemingway in the Weekly Standard online; but you didn't supply the link. Not only did you not supply the link, but you never really gave much voice to what his specific complaints were. (Craig Silverman, for his part, suggested that Hemingway's complaints were somehow overwrought.)

So in the interest of fairness and balance, here is the story that started last week's debate:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/lies-damned-lies-and-fact-checking_611854.html

The reliance on the so-called "fact-check organizations" is most pernicious at NPR, complete with use of the "Truth-O-Meter" icon.

I am going to suggest to NPR's Ombudsman that he take up the matter of NPR's politically biased reliance on organizations like PolitiFact.

Dec. 19 2011 10:33 AM

harry,

I think you maimed the messenger. I can't find anywhere in this piece where the interviewer or interviewer said that commentary is a synonym for fact checking. I do find it "shameful & shameless" that the Romney campaign official said the campaign was happy that their deceptive misquote of Obama had worked well in misleading people. I think this feature was an excellent check on the fact checkers.

Dec. 18 2011 07:30 PM
harry nudel

I thought your program on Fact Checking was shameful & shameless, your commnetator essentially said the A.P used commentary as a synonym for fact checking and he didn't mind becaue he agreed with their politics. There is something reprehensible about this double talk & maddening about the bias,

Dec. 18 2011 03:35 PM
listener

Politicians talk for a living and being human they all by accident or design stray from the exact truth but the cultural temptation and professional pressure to take a greater interest in Republicans and hold them to a higher standard than Democrats may exist for all of the media.
The contrast in coverage of the Tea Party and Occupy movements is a stark example that most media commentators cannot bring themselves to explore yet.
Perhaps a new cottage industry checking Politifact could emerge as they become regular guests and trusted fact checkers for the famously nonpartisan and unbiased NPR. Perhaps they could start with that last sentence.

Dec. 17 2011 09:59 AM

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