Anchor Rising's Justin Katz included the following tantalizing tidbit in a post introducing the new category:
I've actually been offered a bit of inside description of the PolitiFact process: Apparently, we can't attribute all of the blame to the journalists who pen the pieces, because at least at the Providence Journal, there's a PolitiFact board that rules on the statement and tasks the writers with explaining it.Katz's description appears at odds with what PolitiFact claims as its process.
I couldn't get details on the makeup of the board, but the process sounds exactly as the skeptical public already suspected: The analyses back-fill to the conclusions.
A PolitiFact writer researches the claim and writes the Truth-O-Meter article with a recommended ruling. After the article is edited, it is reviewed by a panel of at least three editors that determines the Truth-O-Meter ruling.Note that the first sentence in PolitiFact's description of its process may be taken in either of two ways. The "recommended ruling" may either precede the work of the author by coming from an editor or editors, or it may be the work of the writer.
Certainly the description suggests that the writers produce the recommended ruling based on their research. But perhaps that isn't the case.
March 14, 2011: Edited to achieve subject-verb agreement in final paragraph