Friday, December 16, 2011

Forbes: "How to Fix Fact-Checking"

It's gratifying to see journalists and pundits piling on PolitiFact for all the reasons PFB preaches.  The latest to jump on is Forbes magazine with a story by John McQuaid titled "How to Fix Fact-Checking."

McQuaid uses the recent Weekly Standard story by Mark Hemingway as his jumping-off point:
The Weekly Standard deplores fact-checking – the journalistic efforts, by PolitiFact and others, to vet what politicians and others in the public eye say and call out lies and half-truths. So much that Standard editor Mark Hemingway is trying to knock down the whole fact-checking enterprise, arguing it’s a liberal media scam.
McQuaid doesn't buy into Hemingway's suggestion that fact checkers intentionally skew to the left.  But he grants that the fact checking biz does have problems (bold emphasis added):
Here’s the thing, though. The Standard piece offers up some genuine examples of faulty fact-checking in service of its tendentious argument. The problem with fact-checking is not that it’s a liberal media plot. The problem is that fact-checking – like everything – is sometimes a lazy, half-assed business. If fact-checking is as important as it claims, its practitioners need to acknowledge its problems and fix them.
We argue that the tendency of journalists to lean left translates into a tendency for the preponderance of "half-assed" fact checking to harm conservatives and benefit liberals.  McQuaid is probably right that the bias isn't intentional--but often it's so bad that one is hard pressed to detect the difference between intentional and unintentional bias.

Read it all.  The snippets above come from Page 1, while Page 2 contains McQuaid's prescriptions for the tainted industry.

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