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Fact-Checking the Pundits: Ready to Watch Them Squirm?
Posted By Steve Mencher On November 1, 2013 @ 10:59 am In Bulletin Today,Politics | Comments Disabled
Right-wing commentator/politician Sarah Palin once demanded to “fact check the fact checkers.” From the other end of the political spectrum, TV commentator Rachel Maddow says PolitiFact is “terrible.”
Starting Nov. 4, the folks behind PolitiFact will double the fun by launching PunditFact , taking exclusive aim on “pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows.”
Judging public figures  to be truth-tellers or liars — not to mention awarding the dreaded “Pants on Fire!” label — can, of course, be controversial. But the editor of PunditFact, Aaron Sharockman, says he will be an equal opportunity scold. Bill O’Reilly or John Stewart would get equal criticism.
“We’re trying to help the viewers, the listeners and readers to make the best informed decisions they can on the issues of the day,” Sharockman says.
“Whether it’s Social Security or Medicare, or the new health care law, we want to give them the information in a transparent way that shows our sources — everyone we’ve talked to — that details exactly the process we went through to reach our conclusion — to help those people make the decision they need to make.”
The Tampa Bay Times  operates PolitiFact, and the site has some local offshoots in Texas and eight other states. The Times, in turn, is owned by the Poynter Institute , a journalism school and think tank. Poynter is a partner in PunditFact.
With about 7,700 facts held up to its “Truth-O-Meter” in the past six years, the journalists at PolitiFact have a lot of practice separating truth from fiction. A couple of recent examples:
Will PunditFact deliver similar zingers? Watch this video promoting the Nov. 4 launch:
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Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org
URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/11/01/fact-checking-the-pundits-ready-to-watch-them-squirm/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://static.politifact.com.s3.amazonaws.com/rulings%2Ftom-pantsonfire.gif
 PolitiFact: http://politifact.com
 statements by politicians: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/10/22/dont-trust-the-government-join-the-club/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 PunditFact: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/oct/10/politifact-launch-punditfact-checking-pundits-and-/
 >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter: http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=29636&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-MONY
 Judging public figures: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/06/13/whats-congress-up-to-how-you-can-find-out/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 Tampa Bay Times: http://www.tampabay.com/
 Poynter Institute: http://www.poynter.org/
 Pants on Fire!: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/oct/23/paul-lepage/maine-gov-paul-lepage-says-47-percent-able-bodied-/
 eliminate all forms of birth control.: http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2013/oct/27/next-generation-climate-action-committee/no-basis-nextgen-claim-cuccinelli-wants-ban-all-co/
 Support for Obamacare Inches Upward: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/10/24/support-for-obamacare-inches-upward/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL
 Slideshow: 10 DIY Home Improvement Fixes: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-09-2013/diy-home-improvement-fixes-photo.html#slide1?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS
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