Wick Communications

Checking the facts

In First Amendment on August 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

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One of the most persistent complaints about “the mainstream media” is a perceived lack of interest in the truth. Many, many people think we sacrifice the truth in trying to be fair to each side – regardless of whether one or both sides are just plain lying.

There is truth to that complaint. We are hard-wired in many instances to seek a rebuttal. The mayor says this. His chief rival responds thusly. Etc. You see it every day in coverage of the presidential campaigns. Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. She says she doesn’t. Ad nauseam.

But which side is telling the truth?

Too often, we don’t even try to say. That is partly because ferreting out the truth is harder than he-said, she-said reporting.

Well, Green Valley News Editor Dan Shearer has stumbled on one way to get at the truth without having to do it all himself. He pointed me toward FactCheck.org. It describes itself here:

We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding. …

Pretty cool, huh? What’s more, under the terms laid out in its copyright policy, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania allows anyone to reprint this work, with proper attribution, of course.

Dan says he may run one of these fact-checks this weekend. I’m interested to see how it looks. It could be a great way to provide something useful and interesting – for free – on your editorial pages.

Clay

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