Want to know if whatever vile garbage spewing from the mouth of some TV pundit is actually true? PolitifFact wants to give you a place to go.
PolitiFact, the fact-checking operation owned by the Tampa Bay Times, has just announced a new venture called PunditFact. Just as PolitiFact spends its time fact-checking the statements of government officials, Congress, and interest groups, PunditFact will devote its time to fact-checking pundits, columnists, bloggers, and various other talking heads.
Talk about an undertaking.
“Pundits on TV and radio, as well as bloggers and columnists, are prominent voices in our political discourse, yet sometimes they blur the lines between opinion and fact,” said Neil Brown, editor and vice president of the Times. “Now we will hold them accountable, much as we’ve done with politicians. PunditFact will be about accountability, not sanctimony. We think consumers of political information will welcome our independent and credible reporting.”
Thanks to $625,000 in grants from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund, PunditFact will have a dedicated staff to comb through the numerous claims made by political commentators and give them one of the well-known PolitiFact ratings (Pants-on-Fire!).
“PunditFact will be an edition of PolitiFact that will invoke the look and feel of the national site. Each fact-check will be part of a pundit’s report card, so readers can see whether his or her ratings skew to the True or False end of the scale. PunditFact will publish analyses of its findings — the patterns of the falsehoods, the most popular talking points and stories about how they originated. The website also will tally ratings by news organization and will publish periodic report cards,” says Amy Hollyfield on PolitiFact’s announcement.
PolitiFact has occasionally fact-checked the media, but with the new venture they can devote more resources to it. There’s a lot of bullshit being vomited out on TV, and in papers. But to tackled bloggers? Good luck, PunditFact.
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