We’re often asked if there are other sites like ours, trying in a nonpartisan way to help voters sort out fact from fiction. Now, there is.
The St. Petersburg Times of Florida and Congressional Quarterly of Washington, D.C. announced a new Web site called PolitiFact.com. The official launch date is Tuesday, Sept. 4th, but the site has been available to the public for several days.
The new site does something we don’t. It offers a “truth-o-meter” that rates statements by the 2008 presidential candidates on a scale from “true” through “half true” to “pants on fire.” We tend to leave “truth” to theologians and philosophers and aspire to nothing more lofty than sorting out mundane facts and figures. We admire their panache.
So far we like what we’ve seen. The writing is crisp and clear, sources are clearly cited with hyperlinks where appropriate, and the Web site is nicely organized. Visitors can browse the articles by candidate or ad sponsor, by issue, by truth-o-meter ruling, and in the case of attack ads, by who is attacking whom. The site also lists a staff of 21 researchers, writers and editors who work for Congressional Quarterly and the St. Petersburg Times, bringing considerable journalistic talent to bear. If there is a partisan tilt we’ve yet to detect it. Both sponsors are affiliates of the Times Publishing Company, which is owned by the Poynter Institute, a center for journalism education.
Naturally, we don’t necessarily endorse everything PolitiFact says or might say in the future. We may even see things differently from time to time. But if you like FactCheck.org we think you also will like PolitiFact.com, and we invite you to give it a try.
-by Brooks Jackson