Sunday, May 24, 2020

Research update, May 2020

PolitiFact updated its website in 2020, and we acknowledged one clear improvement when the fact checkers added a link to the "Corrections and Updates" page on the main menu.

As we've moved to update our research, particularly the "Pants on Fire" bias research, we've noticed that PolitiFact has made made our job more tricky.

In times past, PolitiFact neatly separated its stories into categories. PolitiFact National once had its own page, and did not include stories from the state operations such as PolitiFact California and PolitiFact Texas.

This year PolitiFact changed it hierarchical tree. That means older links from our spreadsheet probably won't work.

PolitiFact now relies on its tagging system to separate and group its stories. The site has no "PolitiFact National" menu item, but using the "PolitiFact National" tag creates a page of such stories. Or would, if PolitiFact had done a precise job of applying its system of tags to its content. We're finding stories tagged with contradictory tags, such as "Pennsylvania" for PolitiFact Pennsylvania and "National" for PolitiFact National. Many items by the staff of PolitiFact National now appear categorized as though they came from the distinct state operations.

We'll have to take a closer look at some of these cases to categorize them appropriately for our research, and we'll take note when a state operation might as well count as PolitiFact National.

Is it PolitiFact Arizona or PolitiFact New York?

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