A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

SciCheck’s Extended Run


We are pleased to announce that SciCheck will be around to fact-check the science-based claims of politicians throughout the 2016 campaign.

A year ago, with the support of the Stanton Foundation, we launched SciCheck to focus exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims made by major political figures. Since then, SciCheck has fact-checked President Obama, heads of federal agencies, congressional leaders and several presidential candidates, among others. It has tackled subjects such as climate change, vaccinations, fetal pain, the California measles outbreak, the Human Genome Project, recreational and medicinal marijuana, fracking, and sexual orientation.

In all, the project has produced 36 articles and four videos, and has reached millions of readers — not only on FactCheck.org, but also on the websites of major media outlets, including MSN.com, USA Today and Discover Magazine. Its articles have even been translated and redistributed by Chequeado, a Spanish-language fact-checking website in Argentina.

Now, SciCheck will be entering its second year — thanks to the continued support of the Stanton Foundation.

The foundation was founded by the late Frank Stanton, who was president of CBS for 25 years, from 1946 to 1971. Stanton was widely recognized as one of television’s top executives in its formative years. The New York Times called Stanton “a central figure in the development of television broadcasting,” and credited him with helping to persuade Congress to suspend the “equal time” provision so that the 1960 presidential debates could be aired on television.

The Stanton Foundation will generously provide FactCheck.org with $150,000 not only to continue funding SciCheck but also to underwrite the FactCheck.org Fellowship program for undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania.

The year-round, paid fellowship program has benefited 27 students since it was launched in the summer of 2010. Some of those students are still in school, including those who have gone on to pursue advanced degrees. But half of those who have joined the workforce are using the research and writing skills they learned at FactCheck.org at jobs in the media, government, politics and at nonprofit think tanks.

We are also pleased to announce Vanessa Schipani has joined our staff and will lead SciCheck in its second year. Her first story appears today.

For the past six years, Schipani has split her time covering a spectrum of scientific subjects as a journalist and analyzing trends in science as a philosopher and historian.

In 2008, Schipani received a Bachelor of Science in zoology and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at the University of Florida. She has also nearly completed a Master of Science degree in the history and philosophy of science from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Over the years, she has freelanced for publications such as BioScience, The American Scholar, EARTH and EuroScientist. Previously, she also interned with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan and The Scientist in New York.