Who fact-checks the fact-checkers?

  • Article by: CATHY YOUNG
  • Updated: September 17, 2012 - 8:36 PM

Liberal bias or not, it's always a slippery slope from fact-checking to fact interpretation and labeling dissenting analysis a lie. What should pundits do?

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borisbadenovSep. 16, 12 6:18 PM

The problem is is that liberals are fact checking things that were not said by Romney or Ryan. True or false: Obama "I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give the assistance you need to retool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another 100 years" TRUE!

Ryan: "Obama said: `I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.” TRUE!

So, go ahead and try and spin the truth again!

goferfanzSep. 16, 12 7:11 PM

"Fact checking" has become a joke. How about a simple story about Biden's cognitive functioning, as he is the proverbial "heartbeat away," and his history of gaffes are legendary. Even at his Thursday convention speech, he twice guessed on which convention night Michelle Obama spoke, and Biden was 0-2. Yet, factcheckers obsess about Ryan misstating a marathon time from 20 years ago. It really has become inane.

hobie2Sep. 17, 1212:28 AM

You have hit the nail on the head - in the past three weeks, there have been three "FACT CHECK" articles from AP so far from fact it boggles the mind - not a little, but misstating the SSIA issue and using total fabrications on unemployment compared to the BLS numbers to "fact check" a candidate. Just because it says "Fact Check" does not mean it has facts - one of the articles even took RNC talking points as fact.

hobie2Sep. 17, 1212:41 AM

And don't forget the end around on fact checking... the latest anti-Obama ad has Obama speaking in Jaynesville saying that the plant can retool and be there for a hundred years, with the date he said it under him. Then it puts up a picture of the plant and puts up the date it closed, and says "Promises, promises - etc., and goes on about how Obama didn't deliver on that promise"... True? The date Obama made the statement that if it was retooled, it could be there a hundred years was 12 months before he took office - before he was even the candidate. The date it was closed by GM? as he took office. Each part is technically true, but arranged to paint a blame for something not within the power of the person.

hobie2Sep. 17, 1212:51 AM

borisbadenov - You forgot part of the quote, and missed a fact --- "Obama "I believe that if our government is there to support you, AND GIVE YOU THE ASSISTANCE YOU NEED TO RETOOL and make this transition, that this plant will be here for ..." That is true if that is what he believes. No disputing there.... "Ryan 'Obama said: `I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008.".. That is NOT what he actually said in 2008 - look at you own cite of the quote.... And besides, in the beginning of Feb 2008, he was 12 months away from taking office - heck, he wasn't even the Dems' candidate in February 2008. Bush, Ryan's buddy, was running the place.

pumiceSep. 17, 12 6:39 AM

And why is fact-checking such a growth industry? Because controversy draws eyes to Internet websites, because misinformation is far too common on 24-hour cable outlets, because hyperbole draws ears to talk radio, and because legitimate journalism has been cowed into both-sides-have-their-facts-on-every-issue reporting "neutrality".

jonnyappSep. 17, 12 7:08 AM

borisbadenov - Technically, he did not lie. But what he said was very dishonest. He's obviously blaming Obama for the Janesville plant closing, even though it closed in Dec 2008 (a skeleton crew stayed on a few months longer to finish an SUV order). Ryan also said on Aug 16th "I remember President Obama visiting it [Janesville plant] when he was first running, saying he'll keep that plant open. One more broken promise." Here Ryan is lying. And if you don't believe he was misleading pepol

elmore1Sep. 17, 12 9:30 AM

Great article! If anything, the fact checkers have made it even harder to tell what is true. We need "Ross Perot" simple charts and timelines to see the big picture and we can sift through the individual statements by the candidates ourselves.

drichmnSep. 17, 12 9:32 AM

and who really is gutting the welfare work requirement? HR 4297 that passed a major House Committee in June chaired by John Kline would actually gut the welfare requirement according to the Congressional Research Committee. Another example of Republican projection.

beebee82Sep. 17, 1210:16 AM

"Fact interpretation" (the author's words) is something that jumped out at me and illustrates perfectly what is wrong with political discourse today. If "just the facts" are presented without the distortions, contrived leaps of cognitive reasoning, and blatant fabrications, we wouldn't need to "interpret" the facts. Rather than leave the fact checking to someone else down the road, it would be incredibly refreshing if our journalists started calling out these "interpretations" right then and there when they're uttered. If politicians are put on the spot more often to explain these "interpretations" rather than relying on the 24-hour news cycle to move their distortions to the bottom of the page, perhaps they wouldn't be so quick to use them.


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