I don’t. Of course I’m a certified cynic who spent way too many years in the advertising agency business so I’m professionally trained to notice these things. Didn’t you ever wonder who checks the fact checkers?
FactCheck is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. In addition to checking political facts, the Annenberg Foundation generously supports PBS. Recently they’ve expanded their mission to include environmental stewardship, social justice and animal welfare. Anyone or anything promoting “social justice” is a big red flag for me. But please, draw your own conclusions as to the political persuasion of the Annenberg group.
Politifact is owned by the Tampa Bay Times. The Fact Checker is owned by the Washington Post. These fact checkers claim to be non-partisan, non-profit, consumer advocates. Each purports to apply the best practices of journalism and scholarship. In fact, these fact evaluators are just parts of two daily newspapers.
Unfortunately, all these organizations start with a fallacy – truth is not black and white. In addition, these seekers of some-kind-of-truth may lack a certain gravitas. PolitiFact uses a Truth-O-Meter which is a close cousin to the old Applause-O-Meter. The Fact Checker measures the truth by the number of “Pinocchios” stuck on a particular piece of work.
Now some of you may find this hard to believe, but these fact checking organizations are not always accurate – or politically neutral. The National Rifle Association (NRA) used content from a Washington Post story in which Sarah Brady was quoted: “We are working on gun control… but under the radar.” Over a year later when PolitiFact contacted Sarah Brady, she denied making the statement. Based on nothing more than Brady’s denial, the NRA received an official “Pants-on-Fire” rating.
A study by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs found Republicans victims of fact checkers at a rate three times greater than Democrats. Regardless, the Communications Director of the Democratic Governors Association recently made this statement: “… a lot of the fact checkers today play the ultimate political game of twisting the truth to suit their own ends.” I think he’s being kind. Why should we believe that any of the fact checkers are any better at what they do than the reporters they’re checking on? Why would they want to disappoint or create bad blood with their fellow liberal media people?
My research is limited, but all the fact checking entities I’ve looked into are very politically liberal. They are cavalier in their pronouncements. They have their own agenda – and it’s not finding the truth.
On my Founding Fathers Know Best web site, I’ve posted a Reader’s Alert. It’s appropriate for me to share it now.
I hope you’ll follow my advice. I’m certainly going to continue with my cynical ways.
This blog is sincerely dedicated to my friend Bob, aka “Lefty the fact checker”… bless his heart.
Ross Puskar is the author of Founding Fathers Know Best the political satire now available for sale at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. You can follow Ross on Twitter and Facebook and you can subscribe to his blog and you can like FFKB on Facebook.