Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Adding an annotation to PolitiFact's annotation of the third 2016 presidential debate

Is it news that fact-checkers are far from perfect?

Behold, a screen capture from PolitiFact's annotated version of the third presidential debate, hosted at Medium. PolitiFact says you can't see it unless you follow PolitiFact on Medium. If our readers can't see it without following PolitiFact, then maybe they're right (we have our doubts about that, too):



PolitiFact highlights Trump's claim that Clinton wants open borders. By hovering over an asterisk on the sidebar, a window appears showing PolitiFact's comment. PolitiFact says it rated Trump's claim that Clinton wants open borders "False."

Click on the link and you eventually end up on PolitiFact's web page and PolitiFact's fact check of Trump's claim about wanting open borders, where it is rated "Mostly False."


There's no editor's note announcing a change in the rating, so we assume that no issue of timing excuses PolitiFact for falsely reporting its own finding.

PolitiFact. The best of the best. Right?

2 comments:

  1. As the fact checker fact checker, surely you don't have a bias. If you did, this would be pretty funny.
    Then again, as you said, it ought be no surprise that fact checkers are imperfect.

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    Replies
    1. oggey wrote:

      **As the fact checker fact checker, surely you don't have a bias. If you did, this would be pretty funny.**

      Laugh away, then. Everybody has bias. But that bias only matters if it somehow affects the way one reports the issues and facts. We needle PolitiFact over its claims of objectivity because they are so obviously bogus. We think all fact checks should realize everyone is biased and then act to keep that bias from affecting their journalism.

      If we allow our bias to lead to mistakes in our work, let us know. We'll correct it with a correction notice that shows what we got wrong and what we did to change it. And if it was pointed out by somebody other than Jeff and me, we'll be delighted to credit our critic.

      You can find out more about our views on bias by visiting our FAQ/About page, listed on the website's sidebar.

      **Then again, as you said, it ought be no surprise that fact checkers are imperfect.**

      A pattern of imperfections benefiting one political party more than the other is a pretty good sign of bias affecting journalism, right?

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