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FactCheck Mailbag, Week of June 19-25


This week, a reader challenged claims that FactCheck.org has a bias.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

 

‘Fair and Unbiased’

Every month, it seems, a letter gets posted declaring you biased because you might be checking more conservative, or more liberal, statements within a given time set. I believe that people need to realize the contextual time frame in which these checks are made.

For example, for a few months there were more comments being checked by conservatives. However, this was during the hotly contested Republican primary. Candidates jockeying for top position were making comments that were incendiary and that needed verification. However, there was no contest in the Democratic primary. Liberals weren’t making as many comments at all (at least not as many that caught the attention as in the early Republican primary).

After the [GOP] primary’s candidate finally showed itself as Gov. [Mitt] Romney, comments were more evenly checked between parties. President Obama was making more commentary against his rival which required more fact-checking. Likewise, Gov. Romney continues to press the attack on the president. There is more parity in comments being made between the two parties.

The fact of the matter is that this is not an indicator of bias. Comments are made by both sides and need to be checked. However, there are times when one side requires more fact-checking than the other simply because they produce a higher volume of claims at that time. In the end, it balances out. What matters is that, when a candidate makes an incorrect statement on a matter of importance, correct information is available to counter it. If the incorrect claim is repeated, the candidate should be brought to task for it. I believe this strongly no matter which party is making the questionable claim.

I find your site to be a fair and unbiased source for information. I sometimes cringe at information being fact-checked from my candidate. However, if he made the statement, I see no fault in giving the truth. All candidates make false statements. Many candidates continue making those statements even when they are shown to be bogus. I happen to feel that exposing this shows some of the character of the person going for that office. In that, you provide an invaluable service, and I thank you while continuing to read your work.

Steven Laskoske
Columbia, Pa.