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matt b

I agree. Factcheck.org drives me crazy....the last thing any of us needs...

Neil the Ethical Werewolf

Not knowing much about how this kind of stuff works, I'm curious how pressure gets to media outlets like Factcheck.org. What kind of groups send the faxes? And what goes into writing something that will actually affect Factcheck.org's view?

Thomas Nephew

The damage is spreading: E. J. Dionne cites FactCheck today "-- not a haven for the right-wing conspiracy --" and the lead Post editorial runs with his view that NARAL smeared Roberts.


On Thursday night John Stewart also criticized the ad severely; he didn't cite a source or sources but made much of the seven-year gap. NARAL has now withdrawn the ad; but as an influenceable voter, I must say that I tend to be UNpersuaded by so much vitriol, so it's probably a good plan to stop running that particular ad.



I heard Karl Rove controls FactCheck with his secret weather machine... that also doubles as a vote stealer.


The ad in question does "imply" that he directly supported the bombers, although it does not specifically state it, in my opinion. Technically, it was not a false ad. But in the spirit of campaign ads that have been going on for quite a while now, it mimics the pattern of association = support.
So technically, you're right and factcheck is wrong. But in spirit, the ad was misleading. Of course, factcheck is still wrong in some of their statements.
I don't think that factcheck loses its veracity in other areas, however, as you seem to believe.


I think FactCheck exists simply to point out occasions where other groups present something as fact that is either not true, or not proven.

However, since FactCheck is non-partisan, they have no obligation to substitute some "truthhood" in its place. They are not doing anything intellectually fallacious by pointing out the flaws in someone else's argument.

Scott: "Did you know that 150 million people died in car accidents in the U.S. last year?"

Bob: "What? 50% of the population? That's not true."

Scott: "Just because you're skeptical doesn't mean it's not true. Since you didn't provide any facts of your own, and I did, we'll go ahead and assume that I am correct."


Andy -

Your point doesn't make sense when extended to a place called 'Factcheck'. If two people are walking down the street talking and one makes a specious claim the other can't go research it in the confines of the conversation. If some makes a public assertion it can be researched.

Your argument reminds me of the Onion head line where two people argue over the capital of Hungary with in arms reach of an Almanac.


factcheck.org has lost all credibility since november 04. How they conveniently witewashed Cheney on his 'differed payment' and stock-options from Halliburton in the run-up for the election, forgetting to point out the most interesting part of the story, definitively discredited their so-called 'neutrality'


For those who'd like to see exactly what I meant, see this


Factcheck.org has pretensions to non-partisanship, but these remain largely unfulfilled. The root problem is the source of its "primary" funding -- the [Walter] Annenberg Foundation, whose trustees still are dominated by the right-wing Annenberg family. An 18 1/2 minute gap runs through their genes.

Another problem is the organization's own appetite for publicity, the sine qua non of fund-raising and professional standing. Factcheck.org can't attract extra-Foundation funding or retain its pretnesions to be properly placed in the U. of P. academic community if it doesn't stay in the news. So there is a natural tendency to hype themselves, build mountains out of molehills, and scrounge for face time on TV.

The largest problem of all is Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Despite her carefully cultivated image of "neutrality" she's just not very bright. If you can't do it, teach. If you can't teach, work for a foundation.

One also must question Jamieson's supervisory skills. She has only two listed "fact-checkers" on staff, both of whom are relatively inexperienced and both need closer supervision than Jamieson seems capable of giving them.

Professional journalists routinely cite Factcheck.org because they assume, without evidence, that it's as neutral as it claims. Which just goes to show that most journalists are clueless. Clueless about who Walter Annenberg was, what he did, how deep his DNA is embedded in the Annenberg Foundation, and how superficial the trade of journalism has become.

Rob W

Isn't it affiliated with the Annenberg family? I thought they were hardcore Republicans who used the media to punish their enemies and who were in bed with Nixon. Perhaps the family still has some level of control of the foundation and who runs what amongst the donees. http://slate.msn.com/?id=2071870

Bruce Wilder

I have followed FactCheck.org for some time, and I think that they are both
1.) amateurish
2.) reflective of a right-wing bias

A fact check of People for the American Way's pro filibuster ad, earlier this year was instructive on both points, but particularly on the amateurishness.

Repeatedly, they got the arithmetic of the Senate's filibuster rule wrong.

Here's a quote: "Under present Senate rules, 60 votes are required to end debate. That means ,as a practical matter, that 40 of the 100 senators can block any measure". If 60 can end debate, then 41 are required to block a measure. How difficult could it have been to get that right? And, how difficult would it have been to correct that mistake, after I e-mailed them about it repeatedly.


Thanks for bringing this up again. The irony of calling themselves "factcheck" while engaging in some of the most egregious errors of he said-she said journalism has been a thorn in my side for a long time. On more than one occasion the right has used them, effectively, to wrongly declare an argument decided. And everyone laps it up.

The only question is, what can people do to discredit this 'service' and put it it out of commission? It's not like a newspaper that has some kind of accountability to readers and subscribers, or a university with an academic reputation and the confidence of a massive community of faculty and alumni to uphold. At the risk of sounding like a foundation basher (especially since I work for one) this is quite a disturbing example of the deadly combination of nonexistent oversight, claimed impartiality, and a pretense of academic rigor that can make foundations trading in information very, very dangerous.


This could be one of my favorite posts of 2005. These are exactly some of the concrete issues that can be addressed yielding tangible benefits for our country.

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