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PolitiFact is a fact-checking website set up by the Florida newspaper Tampa Bay Times. The site was the 2009 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. It attempts to document and verify claims made by prominent public figures, but has frequently been accused of muddled thinking and the balance fallacy. In 2018 ownership passed to the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school that was founded by an endowment from publisher Nelson Poynter and that also owns the Tampa Bay Times; PolitiFact is funded by online advertising, grants, and commercial partnerships.
In addition to applying a "Truth-O-Meter" to thousands of statements, ranking them from "true" to "pants on fire," the site maintains a "GOP Pledge-O-Meter",, an "Obameter", and now a "Trump-O-Meter". It is essentially an American version of FactsCan.
Being debunked sucks!
Like all skeptical fact checking sites, PolitiFact is not very popular with those who deal in falsehoods. For example, conservative publication Human Events claims that the fact that conservatives are about three times more likely to lie than liberals is clear evidence of bias, not of conservative deceit.
Also, Jon Cassidy stated that PolitiFact is more critical of conservative statements, and it even labels true statements made by conservatives as false.
One example given was how PolitiFact fact-checked a statement made by Gerard Robinson, a Republican schools commissioner from Florida. He stated annual standardized tests "account for less than 1 percent of the instructional time provided during the year." The actual percentage of class time spent on standardized tests annually is between 0.26 percent and 0.90 percent. PolitiFact found Robinson's statement false, however, on the grounds that his figure only covered the time spent taking the actual test, and not the amount of time spent by teachers on test preparation.
Mediabiasfactcheck.com lists PolitiFact as a least-biased media source and gives it a "Very High" rating in factual reporting.
- PolitiFact announcement
- Weigel, Dave. "PolitiFact Weirdly Unable to Discuss Facts", Slate.
- Crook, Clive. "Lies, Damn Lies, and PolitiFact", The Atlantic.
- Who pays for PolitiFact?, PolitiFact, accessed July 26, 2018
- "GOP Pledge-O-Meter," PolitiFact.
- "Obameter", PolitiFact.
- "Trump-O-Meter", PolitiFact.
- Helderman, Rosalind S. "Bitter campaign and its rhetoric bring fact checkers to the center of debate." The Washington Post, 30 August 2012.
- Cassidy, Jon. "PolitiFact bias: Does the GOP tell nine times more lies than left? Really?" 30 August 2012.
- Sherman, Amy."Florida education commissioner says the FCAT takes up "less than 1 percent of the instructional time" during the school year." PolitiFact, 30 July 2012.