Thursday, January 13, 2011

PolitiFact sets its meters on Congress, governors; The Washington Post revives its FactChecker

PolitiFact, the fact-checking website that won a Pulitzer Prize for the St. Petersburg Times in 2009, has launched new watchdog measurinmg devices to track the campaign promises of congressional Republicans, and its state-level partners are doing likewise for new governors.

"Pledge-O-Meter" uses the same approach as Obameter, which tracks more than 500 of President Obama’s promises. Six levels will provide a broad picture of whether GOP leaders are making progress: Promise Kept, In the Works, Compromise, Stalled, Promise Broken ot Not Yet Rated. New govenors in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin will get similar measures, named after each of them.

PolitiFact says it will continue to use its Truth-O-Meter, left, to fact-check statements by politicians and interest groups. Personally, we think the meters are a little gimmicky. They do provide voters a clear handle for judgments, but we prefer the old-fashioned narratives of, a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It's run by Brooks Jackson, formerly of CNN and The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post has revived the paper's FactChecker column, which Michael Dobbs brgan during the 2008 presidential race. "We will not be bound by the antics of the presidential campaign season, but will focus on any statements by political figures and government officials -- in the United States and abroad -- that cry out for fact-checking," Kessler writes. "we will not be limited to political charges or countercharges. We will seek to explain difficult issues, provide missing context and provide analysis and explanation of various "code words" used by politicians, diplomats and others to obscure or shade the truth." (Read more)

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