The Week in Fact-Checking: What do Pontius Pilate, Justin Timberlake and Bernie Sanders have in common? Nothing.
The 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.
Quote of the week
“But if you’re going to vote based on which party has been the most truthy, I can’t help you. As Pontius Pilate says to Jesus in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’: “We all have truths, are mine the same as yours?” Nora Loreto, writing for Rabble on this week’s Canadian elections
Fact check of the week
A full-time mom and past PTA president — not a professional political reporter —owned fact-checking this week. Writing for her community blog called Port City Notebook, Melynda Dovel Wilcox fact-checked city council candidates’ claims about school enrollment. She dug up dense documents and data such as “the kindergarten capture rate” and the “cohort survival rate.” Read it.
The fact-checking gold mine
The fact-stretching meme of shadowy male refugees slinking out of Syria “who are easily people who could be infiltrated by terrorists” just won’t go away. FactCheck.org rounds up politicians’ statements that most Syrian refugees are single men and then thwarts those claims with facts. Read it.
How can anyone really know that GMOs are safe to eat? That’s one of the “100 questions in 100 days” being answered through a web site which invites skeptics of genetically modified organisms to post their questions. So be a good skeptic and don’t forget to investigate the origins of the web site itself. Read it.
The technology of fact-checking
Is this the “Holy Grail” of automated fact-checking we’ve been waiting for? Alexios Mantzarlis, who leads the new International Fact-Checking Network, describes the “Claimbuster” machine and its efforts to help journalists identify statements that should be checked. Read it.
Fact-checking the 2016 elections
The Truth-O-Meter will be running in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio for the 2016 elections. A partnership between Scripps-owned television stations and the Florida-based PolitiFact means regional candidates in those states will come under scrutiny just like the presidential candidates. Scripps also will distribute the fact checks to its 33 stations in 23 markets. Read it.
Tips for better fact-checking
Leave it to a teenager to come up with a new way to rate politicians’ statements. When presented with one candidate’s quote — “There are more honors students in China than in the U.S.” — the freshman called it a “punk argument.” Amber Kelly, who teaches composition at Howard College in Texas, writes about using critical thinking to find the “punk arguments” in campaign rhetoric. Read it.
Fact-checking around the world
This is The List that every political reporter should want to be on: The list of fact-checkers in the U.S. and around the world. The Duke Reporters’ Lab, which keeps tabs on accountability journalism, counted six new sites from the U.S. to Nepal. Read it.
Fact-checking: Not just for politics
The Commercial Appeal annotated and fact-checked Justin Timberlake’s speech during his induction into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, where he set records for being the youngest inductee and the longest-winded. Read it.
Some fact-checking fun
Good work, you’ve made it to the end of the newsletter! And your reward is … CNN’s fact-check of Bernie Sanders’ underwear. Read it.
For media organizations: Are you publishing fact-checking articles during this election season? We can help you determine the impact of that content. Contact us for a free assessment.
All photos: Flickr Creative Commons
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