Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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Fact-checking the Democrats and the Republicans

August 30, 2012

Tags: fact-checking, political rhetoric, half-truths, accuracy in reporting, political lies

Which political party is gutting Medicare? Which is saving it? Good resources for sorting truths from half-truths include FactCheck.org, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), The Fact Checker, and PolitiFact.com. And there are more.
• FactCheck.org (Annenberg sorts political truths from half-truths). See, for example, A Campaign Full of Mediscare, 8-22-12. (Obama and Romney both aim to slow Medicare spending. But each accuses the other of hurting seniors in the process. What are the facts?)
• Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) (Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986). See for example Paul Ryan's 'Self-Reliance'
• The Fact Checker (Glenn Kessler, Washington Post column, The Truth Behind the Rhetoric).
• PolitiFact.com (nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire"), St. Petersburg Times service, and here are articles on current issues, events
For further reading:
OnThe Issues (every political leader on every issue)
• Real Clear Politics
• The Reddit Edit . (Here's A journalist's quick guide to Reddit (Jeff Sonderman, Poynter, 8-30-12)
• Miscellaneous research tools (SPJ, Journalists' Toolbox)

For checking email stories or warnings you suspect are unreliable:
• Snopes.com (E-mail story sound too good or scary to be true? Check to see if it's an urban legend)
• Truth or Fiction (another reality check on email hoaxes, rumors, viruses, and advisories). See if that Kenyan birth certificate for Barack Obama is real or faked.


  1. August 30, 2012 3:03 PM EDT
    Add to that 4thEstate.net, which replaces anecdote and speculation with visual intelligence based on statistical analysis. For example: Liberal media bias: fact or fiction?
    - Pat McNees
  2. August 31, 2012 12:25 PM EDT
    Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches (Michael Cooper, Check Point, NY Times, 8-31-12). "The two speeches [Romney's and Ryan's] — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside." "One of Mr. Ryan’s most pointed attacks on Mr. Obama was on the deficit. 'He created a new bipartisan debt commission,' Mr. Ryan noted. 'They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way and then did exactly nothing.'” Left unsaid: Mr. Ryan served on that commission himself, and his opposition to its final proposals helped seal its fate. The panel, known as the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, made a number of recommendations that Mr. Ryan ultimately opposed on the grounds that they would have raised some taxes while failing to cut enough from health programs. His dismissal of the plan was seen as a significant blow to its chances of success, since it soured other House Republicans on it." Real the whole article for point-by-point corrections of inaccuracy and untruths.
    - PM
  3. September 6, 2012 2:18 PM EDT
    Fact-checking: What exactly are we debating again? (Erik Wemple, Washington Post 9-5-12). First in "an endless, tireless, exhaustive series of blog posts on the fact-checking industry." And I quote: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.,” declared Mitt Romney pollster Neil Newhouse last week. FactCheck.org Director Brooks Jackson last night told me that editors across the industry more or less freaked out upon hearing that salvo. Says Jackson: “Neil Newhouse stated it out loud. The obvious attitude of the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign has forced news editors to pay attention to this.”
    - PM
  4. September 6, 2012 2:22 PM EDT
    Fact check: A look at Bill Clinton's speech (Detroit Free Press, 9-6-12, the day after Clinton's speech at the Democratic convention)
    - PM
  5. September 18, 2012 11:12 AM EDT
    #presspushback (Jay Rosen's PressThink).
    - PM
  6. September 18, 2012 11:18 AM EDT
    He Said, She Said, and the Truth (Margaret Sullivan, The Public Editor, NY Times, 9-16-12)
    - PM
  7. September 20, 2012 12:28 PM EDT
    The Two-Way (National Public Radio's news blog, which invites conversation). For example: What We Know About 'Sam Bacile,' The Man Behind The Muhammad Movie , which reveals that Bacile is a made-up name and he is not a Jew, that the inflammatory Yahoo "sample" was dubbed over (and that the actors hired to create the film were deceived about its purposes), that Coptic Christians were involved, and that to some extent it was probably a disinformation campaign.
    - PM
  8. November 1, 2012 3:59 PM EDT
    - PM
  9. November 1, 2012 4:02 PM EDT
    - PM