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The Week in Fact-Checking: Debate fact-checking still elusive

The latest news in fact-checking and accountability journalism.


The Univision fact-checking team at work during the Democratic debate Wednesday night.

Nineteen (!) debates into this primary season, we have yet to see a truly effective effort by the hosting networks to fact-check the candidates live on air.

Live fact-checking by Univision’s Detector de Mentiras, which officially began during Wednesday night’s debate, was planned but didn’t quite work out. The network’s data team nonetheless launched online the first Spanish-language fact-checking project in the United States.

Fact-checking in the U.S.

Quote of the week
“Our highest value as journalists and news organizations is to seek truth and report it. This means going beyond the faux balance of he-said-she-said stories to learn, document and state what is true. Once our reporting has established the truth of a situation, future reporting should repeat that truth, especially if newsmakers continue to repeat statements that have been documented as false.”— #ThrowbackThursday quote from Digital First Media, 2012

Fact-checking the 2016 elections
PolitiFact kicks off its first Political TV Ad Fact-Check-A-Thon this week with particular scrutiny of the nasty attack ads in Florida. If you don’t live in that crucial primary state you likely won’t see those ads, but you can watch them here.

Fact-checking: Not just for politics 
Where can you find a bunch of guys bloviating, dissembling, stretching the truth and making statements that are “completely bogus”?  That’s right, baseball spring training. The Chicago Sun-Times checks the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz. Read it.

Fact-checking Hollywood 
If you’re a “Ghostbusters” film fan, or a physicist, you’ll be happy to hear that “for a movie that deals with hypotheticals and ghost slime, the details are remarkably and commendably sound.” Read the Inverse fact-check.

Fact-checking is fun
Call it fun, call it pitiful, but this topic got a lot of attention over the last week: What is the real meaning of the size of a man’s hands? Several news organizations examined this important political debate and its meaning for democracy. See Fusion, Quartz, Snopes,Vox.

Fact-checking around the world

Fact checks of the week on women’s rights
To celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Poynter collected articles published by fact-checkers around the world over the past year on the topic of women’s rights.

Embedded in BA: what a UK fact-checker learned in Argentina
Full Fact’s Phoebe Arnold was in Argentina last week to observe Chequeado’s work and activities. She sat through their live fact-checking of the President’s speech to Congress. Here’s what she took home.

Fact-checking infographic of the week
From Pagella Politica’s promise tracker for Matteo Renzi, published two years after his government was sworn in.

Quick fact-checking news
(1) Full Fact scored a quick 1-2-3 in terms of impact: praised in The Economist, saw corrections in the BMJ and in Parliament (2) The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas wrote about fact-checkers in Latin America (3) PolitiFact launched its 17th state affiliate in New York (4) Ojo Bionico in Peru is holding a workshop on fact-checking ahead of general elections (5) The New York Times tried out a pretty cool homepage fact-check ticker.


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