PC Magazine’s article Election 2012: Fact-Checking the Candidates
provided a great list of places to check the veracity of what we’re being fed. Most of the article is consolidated here on one page rather than being spread over 6 pages in its original form.
- Run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center and staffed by journalists and academics, FactCheck.org calls itself a “consumer advocate” for voters. Readers can not only check up on the ads, speeches, and other comments of the candidates and their campaigns, but also post a question to Ask FactCheck, become Spin Detectors by sending in campaign materials they believe might contain false claims, find out who’s funding the campaigns in the 2012 Players Guide, and make sure chain emails they receive from friends and relatives aren’t part of the Viral Spiral.
- PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning offshoot of the Tampa Bay Times, susses out the truth in national and state elections and monitors how already-elected officials are living up to campaign promises, with an Obameter and GOP Pledge-O-Meter built into the site. PolitiFact’s most famous meter is the Truth-O-Meter, which has settings that go from “Truth” to “Pants on Fire.” Lest flip-floppers think they can walk away, candidates are tracked for when they “Half Flip” and “Full Flop” on earlier sentiments and positions. The Truth-O-Meter is available to-go as an app.
- Super PACs (political action committees) number in the hundreds and go by generic or just flat-out odd names, making it hard to distinguish them, not to mention determine where they stand. The Super PAC App works like Shazam for super PACs; download the TuneSat-powered audio-recognition iOS app, open it during an ad, and get the name of the super PAC, how much funding it has, how much it’s spent, and the facts behind the ad. Super PAC App got its start in the MIT Media Lab and is now housed under Glassy Media, a company founded by former management consultant Dan Siegel and journalist Jennifer Hollett.
- Nobody owns the truth, especially when everybody owns it. TruthMarket aims to crowdsource what’s factual and what’s fictional. The site’s users put their money where others’ mouths are; when a user hears a questionable statement, he or she can start a campaign and stake money on disproving it. The TruthMarket’s “jury of neutral, professional, scientifically trained adjudicators” then weighs in and the bounty gets divvied up depending on where the truth lies.
- The Washington Post has a somewhat whimsical take on political truth-telling. Its blog, The Fact Checker, run by in-house fact-checker Glenn Kessler, doles out a check mark for factual accuracy or up to four Pinocchios for fallacy from candidates and Congress. Readers can submit statements for scrutiny by email, a form, or via Twitter using #FactCheckThis.