The week in fact-checking: Lazy stoners, the truth about birds+bees, cheap flights

FCP logoThe American Press Institute presents a roundup from the world of fact checking, debunking and truth telling — just in case you haven’t been paying as much attention as we do.

Extreme fact-checking
School controversies come and go, but there’s nothing quite like a fight over the birds and the bees. In Toronto, a proposed sex-education curriculum has been hounded by dozens of rumors: First-graders will be exposed to “gay-trans propaganda” and middle-schoolers will study porno mags. This prompted The Sun news staff to tackle each one of the rumors in what might be a rare NSFW fact-check. Read it.

Fact-checking in another form
Fact-checking journalism doesn’t always need to fit a format or feature a catchy name. The Conversation blog, for instance, sets itself apart by asking an expert to write a review of the day’s fact-check. Another difference: The blog’s Creative Commons license means you can freely republish its content without getting threatening letters from lawyers. And because The Conversation has its roots in Australia and the UK, we get to learn the meaning behind terms like “rough sleepers.” Read it.

What? Something is fake on the internet?9740026677_2275a5d4ef_z
Stop being a lazy stoner. And while you’re at it, watch “Schoolhouse Rock” and find out how a bill becomes a law. That’s blogger Scott Gacek’s advice to people who decided to believe (and spread on social media) that marijuana had been legalized in Pennsylvania.  Read it.

Behind the fact check
“Many times I have spent hours trying to find information regarding a topic with nothing to show for it,” said no student ever in the age of Google. Until now. College students in Wisconsin are doing serious, official research to help with the ongoing Encyclopedia of Milwaukee project. And it is hard. Read it.

Quote of the week
“Ethical journalism means dedication to accuracy, fact-checking, and credible sources. It means educating oneself on a variety of topics to ensure stories are well-informed.”  U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip S. Goldberg on the definition of a “real journalist.”

Fact-checking the 2016 election
Time for a new category in our weekly blog. Here’s where we’ll show you the week’s top fact-checking news/feature of the week in the increasingly frenetic 2016 presidential campaign. Today’s highlight: the Washington Post Fact Checker’s new “visual analysis” of 2016 presidential hopefuls. Browse it.

14314697939_d5df070172_mNot just for politics
Seriously, haven’t you wondered what’s up with those $19 fares being offered by Frontier Airlines? Do you sit on the floor with a cargo net on top of you or what? Channel 7 News in Denver figured it out with a fare fact-check. Spoiler alert: Unpack your bags. Read it.

How to fact check
Cleveland Plain Dealer editor George Rodrigue this week offered readers some “self-defense tips against fake news.” Those tips include being skeptical about any story that is written “like it was almost designed to scare or anger you.”  Looking at you, Jade Helm 15.  Read it.

Fact-checking around the world
Reeling from the weirdness that is the British election, some voters surely arrived at the polls yesterday holding a PDF of Full Fact’s groundbreaking voters guide. In it, Full Fact— which had been fact-checking election rhetoric 18 hours a day — includes a list of ways politicians have managed to “cockup” the process and deceive voters. Read it.

Some fact-checking fun
Look what fact-checking has wrought: The exponential fact-check. At least this fact-check-of-a fact-check-of-a-fact-check from Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin is funny. And that gingham-check shirt: Who wore it better? You decide. Watch it.

For media organizations: The American Press Institute, a non-partisan and non-profit research organization, can help you assess reader engagement and impact of your fact-checking/accountability journalism.  Contact us for information. 

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