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United Facts of America: A festival of fact-checking

United Facts of America: A festival of fact-checking

EVENT DATES: Sept. 27-29, 2022

LOCATION: Online event

TIMES: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time each day

Early Bird: $35 (extended through Aug. 19)
General Admission: $50 (available Aug. 20-Sept. 29)

Are you a member of PolitiFact’s Truth Squad? Email marketing@poynter.org for an exclusive offer! 

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Celebrate facts with the Poynter Institute and its Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking enterprise PolitiFact at the second annual United Facts of America Sept. 27-29, 2022.

This three-day online festival of fact-checking will offer forward-thinking discussions about the role of facts in everyday life with the nation’s top experts in media, politics, technology and counterintelligence.

Discussions will provide context and clarity on America’s most pressing issues leading up to the midterm elections like inflation, privacy, climate change, misinformation and more.

Tune in as leading voices from a variety of perspectives discuss the importance of fact-based voting, holding the powerful to account and standing up for facts in service to democracy.

This virtual festival is for everyone interested in fact-based expression, civic engagement and the role of facts in a free society. Grab your ticket to come celebrate facts with us!

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We’d love to hear from you. Please send your inquiries to marketing@poynter.org.

Unable to attend but want to support events like this? Please make a donation today at poynter.org/support.

The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating journalism for those who create and consume it. Proceeds from this event support Poynter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact and strengthen journalism’s role in helping citizens govern themselves. Learn more at poynter.org/support

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The festival will feature more than nine hours of lively conversations about facts. Sessions will take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time each day.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

11-11:10 a.m. — Welcome and opening remarks

  • The speed and reach of bad information is disheartening as ever — and we all feel the toll it has taken on our communities and even our relationships. Poynter Institute President Neil Brown shares his thoughts on the state of facts, and how Poynter and PolitiFact believe accountability journalism is essential to a working democracy. Then, PolitiFact Managing Editor Katie Sanders  and Senior Correspondent Jon Greenberg kick off the first day of United Facts of America live from Washington, D.C.

11:10-11:30 a.m. — One on one with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has put climate change at the center of his Senate legacy. He’ll join PolitiFact Executive Director Aaron Sharockman to discuss the facts of climate change, the misinformation Whitehouse is seeing, and what he is doing to try to speak with skeptical or disinterested audiences.

11:30 a.m.-12:05 p.m. — “The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth”

  • Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. On the surface, these recent additions to our daily vocabulary appear to have little in common. But together, they are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America’s ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood. Author and Brookings senior fellow Jonathan Rauch probes the war on reality and arms defenders of truth with a clearer understanding of what they must protect in this facilitated discussion with PolitiFact Editor-in-Chief Angie Holan.

12:15-12:50 p.m. — The truth of Trump

  • He isn’t on the ballot this fall, but the presence of Donald Trump continues to shape U.S. politics in a way most cannot remember. What do the Jan. 6 hearings and FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago mean for November? And how are the facts of those two major events being manipulated and twisted? Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Toluse Olorunnipa, Gray Television White House Correspondent and Senior National Editor Jon Decker, and former FBI special agent and legal and national security analyst for CNN Asha Rangappa discuss in a roundtable with PolitiFact senior correspondent Jon Greenberg.

12:50-1:00 p.m. — What makes a fact-check catchy? Drew Comments talks about his poignant and popular strategy

  • After encountering COVID-19 vaccine doubts online, in entertainment and sports, Drew Comments, aka Andrew Bullock, went on his social media channels to give his reasons for getting vaccinated (“Moderna Gang, mah boi”). He has used his social media channels to help expose common misinformation related to the vaccine, offering the latest peer-reviewed science journals to back up his argument. Bullock acknowledges and negates vaccine hesitancy, bringing pop culture references, a great soundtrack and humor to his fact-checks. “Not only are people going to listen to it and hear it, but they are bobbing their heads to it.” Moderated by PolitiFact Audience Director Josie Hollingsworth.

1:05-1:30 p.m. — Standby… We’re having factual difficulties

  • The television channel you’re watching says a lot about the news you hear and see, and that means it affects how you view major political and policy issues. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans joins Poynter Institute Senior Media Writer Tom Jones for a discussion about the future of facts on your television.

1:30-2 p.m. — Cable news confusion

  • What happens when Fox News viewers are paid to watch CNN instead? And is there any hope for Americans to escape their individual echo chambers? Hear from two researchers, David Broockman of UC Berkeley and David Rothschild of Microsoft Research who have been studying how cable news is affecting the misinformation landscape in the United States. Moderated by PolitiFact’s Deputy Editor Rebecca Catalanello.

Wednesday, Sept. 28

11-11:10 a.m. — Welcome and opening remarks

  • PolitiFact Managing Editor Katie Sanders and Senior Correspondent Jon Greenberg recap Day 1 and get you ready for all of Day 2 of United Facts of America live from Washington, D.C.

11:10-11:35 a.m. — One on one with Judy Woodruff

  • The trusted broadcast journalist joins PolitiFact Managing Editor Katie Sanders for a conversation about the midterm elections and her future after five decades in journalism. Woodruff announced she will leave the PBS NewsHour anchor’s seat at the end of this year to focus on special projects and stories.

11:35 a.m.-12:20 p.m. — Broken news: Why the media rage machine divides America and how to fight back

  • Former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt reveals in a conversation with PolitiFact editors how news organizations have succumbed to the temptation of “rage revenue” through slanted coverage that drives political division and rewards outrageous conduct. Stirewalt, who worked on Fox News’ Decision Desk and helped call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden in 2020, testified before the Jan. 6 committee in June.

12:20-12:30 p.m. — Media literacy minute

  • No one can speak to teenagers quite like their own peers. Learn how Poynter’s innovative digital media literacy program MediaWise is working with teenagers to fact-check viral claims online through its Teen Fact-Checking Network.

12:30-1:15 p.m. — “Meme Wars: The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America”

  • Memes have long been dismissed as inside jokes with no political importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Memes are bedrock to the strategy of conspiracists such as Alex Jones, provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalists like Nick Fuentes, and tacticians like Roger Stone. While the media and most politicians struggle to harness the organizing power of the internet, the “redpill right” weaponizes memes, pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation into the mainstream to drag people down the rabbit hole. Join authors Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss and Brian Friedberg to discuss their new book with PolitiFact’s Senior Correspondent Jon Greenberg.

1:20-1:30 p.m. — Why fact-checking isn’t enough: Media literacy educators and researchers talk about the questions we aren’t asking

  • We know that where we get our information shapes how we see the world. People need to be able to process what they come across online. Media literacy, like Poynter’s MediaWise program, teaches people to become more critical consumers of content online. For United Facts of America, we gathered researchers who are exploring the mechanisms and methods behind media literacy with a critical eye.

1:20-1:30 p.m. — The front lines of democracy

  • Three elections officials share what it’s like to safeguard your vote, and how they deal with threats, harassment and intimidation, in a conversation with PolitiFact staff writer Amy Sherman.

1:30-1:45 p.m. — The future of fact-checking

  • PolitiFact founder and Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism & Public Policy at Duke University Bill Adair forecasts the future of fact-checking.

6-7 p.m. — VIP EXCLUSIVE Beyond Politics: Facts and the Supreme Court of the United States

  • Guests with VIP ticket access will be invited to attend an exclusive in-person conversation in Washington, D.C., with author and CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic. The event, called “Beyond Politics: Facts and the Supreme Court of the United States,” will focus on the judiciary’s constitutional oath and its recent decisions on laws that impact the rights of millions of Americans, such as the reversal of Roe v. Wade, gun control, climate protection and religious freedom. Guests also will have the opportunity to ask Biskupic questions about her experience covering the highest court in the land for more than 30 years. Click here to purchase your VIP ticket to this exclusive event.

Thursday, Sept. 29

11-11:05 a.m. — Welcome and opening remarks

  • PolitiFact Managing Editor Katie Sanders and Senior Correspondent Jon Greenberg get you ready for the final day of United Facts of America live from Washington, D.C.

11:05-11:30 a.m. — Meet the latest fact-checker: Your doctor

  • COVID vaccine debates emphasized how critical physicians are to fighting misinformation, whether locally in their own communities or nationally on television. Join American Medical Association President Dr. Jack Resneck in a one-on-one conversation with Kaiser Health News Partnerships Editor and Senior Correspondent Mary Agnes Carey.

11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. — The real world of online misinformation

  • In the months leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan traveled the country reporting on the role conspiracy theories were playing in voters’ attitude to the election and to the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also reported live from outside the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. Donie, who will be joined in a one-on-one conversation with PolitiFact’s Editor-in-Chief Angie Holan, has become a leading expert at tracking and identifying online disinformation campaigns targeting the American electorate, and how social media platforms, Congress, and the American intelligence community are responding to the threat of disinformation and troll campaigns.

12:20-12:30 p.m. — How a fake fight against birds became a very real movement

  • What happens when millions of people rally around an absurd conspiracy? The Birds Aren’t Real satirical conspiracy gives us important clues. Co-Founder Peter McIndoe shares his insights as part of a revealing conversation with fact-checkers worldwide.

12:30-1:05 p.m. — When seeing can be believing

  • Go behind the scenes with Tegna’s VERIFY fact-check team to see how local television stations are trying to combat the spread of misinformation through innovative video and a viewer-focused approach.

1:05-1:35 p.m. — Conspiracies grow everywhere. In Spanish, they often flourish unchecked.

  • As bad as the misinformation ecosystem may seem in English, it may be worse in Spanish in the United States. Fewer journalists, even fewer fact-checkers and less investment from social media companies has created a climate where conspiracies can often thrive. What can we do about it? PolitiFact Deputy Editor Miriam Valverde leads a discussion with Brittny Mejia of the Los Angeles Times and Lesley Cosme Torres of the Miami Herald.

1:30-2 p.m. — Sorting out fact from fiction online

  • Fact-checkers are sifting through thousands of pieces of content online every day, looking for viral claims that may contain conspiracies or misinformation. What are they seeing, and how can you be better prepared for what you encounter in your daily life? MediaWise Director Alex Mahadevan interviews three journalists managing fact-checking programs across North America, Christina Anagnostopoulos of Reuters, Arthur MacMillan of Agence France-Presse and Martina Stewart of USA Today.

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  • Judy Woodruff
    Broadcast Journalist, Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour
    Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. She has covered politics and other news for five decades at...
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    Assistant Dean and Senior Lecturer, Yale University’s Jackson School of Global Affairs
    Asha Rangappa is assistant dean and a senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson School of Global Affairs and a former Associate Dean at Yale Law...
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    Correspondent, CNN
    Donie O'Sullivan is a CNN correspondent covering the intersection of politics and technology. Based in New York City, O'Sullivan is a top expert in his...
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    TV Critic, NPR
    Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic. He came to NPR from the Tampa Bay Times newspaper in Florida, where he served as TV/Media...
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    White House Bureau Chief, The Washington Post and Author
    Toluse Olorunnipa is the White House bureau chief for the Washington Post and co-author of "His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the...
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    Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
    Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, is the author of eight books and many articles on public policy, culture and...
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    Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley
    David Broockman is an associate professor of political science at UC Berkeley. He, along with another researcher, recently studied a group of regular Fox News...
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    Social Media Influencer
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    Audience Director, PolitiFact
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  • Bill Adair
    Knight Professor for the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy Duke University
    Bill Adair is the Knight Professor for the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University and the founder of PolitiFact. The fact-checking site...
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    Economist, Microsoft Research
    David Rothschild’s work focuses on solving practical and interesting questions: mapping public opinion, market for news, effect of advertising, behavioral economics, and public policy. He...
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    Senior Editor, Fact Check & Supreme Court, USA TODAY
    Martina Stewart is the senior editor of USA TODAY’s fact-checking team which she helped launch in early 2020. Prior to fact-checking, she worked primarily covering...
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  • Rebecca Catalanello
    Deputy Editor, PolitiFact
    Rebecca Catalanello is a deputy editor for PolitiFact, for which until recently, she was serving as a contributing editor. Previously, she spent 18 years as...
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  • Jon Decker
    White House Correspondent & Senior National Editor, Gray TV
    Jon Decker is the White House Correspondent and Senior National Editor for Gray Television and has been a member of the White House Press Corps...
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  • Tom Jones
    Senior Media Writer
    Tom Jones is Poynter's senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30...
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  • Christina Anagnostopoulos
    Fact Check Editor, Reuters News Agency
    Christina Anagnostopoulos is a senior producer at Reuters News Agency working on the new fact-checking initiative to identify misinformation in partnership with Facebook. She leads...
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  • Arthur MacMillan
    Head of Digital Investigation for North America, Agence France-Presse
    Arthur MacMillan is a foreign correspondent based in Washington DC, after time in New York, Paris, Tehran, Baghdad, and Hong Kong. From Scotland, he began...
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  • Miriam Valverde
    Deputy Editor, PolitiFact
    Miriam Valverde is a fact-checker for PolitiFact. Previously, she reported for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Bradenton Herald, the Boston Globe and a Boston Spanish-language...
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  • Jack Resneck
    President, American Medical Association
    Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., a nationally recognized leader in dermatology and health policy from the San Francisco Bay Area, is the 177th president of the...
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  • Alex Mahadevan
    Director, MediaWise
    Alex Mahadevan is the Director of the MediaWise project. Alex was most recently the Program Manager of MediaWise. Prior to joining the staff at Poynter,...
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  • Belinha S. De Abreu
    Media Literacy Educator, Sacred Heart University
    Belinha S. De Abreu, Ph.D. is a global media literacy educator. She served as an International Expert to the Forum on Media & Information Literacy...
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  • Jeff Share
    Lecturer, UCLA
    Jeff Share currently teaches in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program and in the School of Education and Information Studies undergraduate programs. He continues his research and...
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  • Jodie Jackson
    Author, researcher, News Literacy Network
    Jodie has a Master’s in Positive Psychology and widely cited research has made her an influential figure within the movement for “Constructive Journalism." Jodie has...
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  • Shashidhar Nanjundaiah
    Media Literacy Researcher, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
    Shashidhar Nanjundaiah currently works and studies at the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He has earned an MS in...
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  • Joan Donovan, PhD
    Research director, Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center
    Dr. Donovan is a leading public scholar and disinformation researcher, specializing in media manipulation, political movements, critical internet studies, and online extremism. She is the...
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  • Lesley Cosme Torres
    Spanish Disinformation Reporter, Miami Herald
    Lesley Cosme Torres covers Spanish-language Disinformation in South Florida elections for the Miami Herald, where she focuses on false narratives being spread on Spanish radio...
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  • Mary Agnes Carey
    Partnerships Editor and Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News
    Mary Agnes Carey, Partnerships Editor and Senior Correspondent, oversees placement of KHN content in publications nationwide and covers health reform and federal health policy. Before...
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  • Sara Roth
    Senior Editor, Digital, VERIFY
    Sara Roth is the Senior Editor, Digital for VERIFY. In her role, Sara manages VERIFY's digital and audience teams, and oversees VERIFY's website, social platforms...
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  • Lindsay Claiborn
    Senior Editor, Video, VERIFY
    Lindsay Claiborn is the Senior Editor, Video at VERIFY. She leads video production across broadcast and digital platforms for VERIFY.  She has more than 15...
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  • Emily Dreyfuss
    Senior Managing Editor, Harvard Shorenstein Center
    Emily Dreyfuss is a writer who has covered technology's impact on society in publications like WIRED, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Boston...
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  • Chris Stirewalt
    Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
    Chris Stirewalt is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focuses on American politics, voting trends, public opinion, and the media....
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  • Brian Friedberg
    Senior Researcher, Harvard Shorenstein Center
    Brian Friedberg is the Senior Researcher of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at...
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    U.S. Senator from Rhode Island
    Sheldon Whitehouse has earned a reputation in the Senate as a fierce advocate for progressive values and a thoughtful legislator capable of reaching across the...
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    Senior Correspondent, PolitiFact
    Jon is a senior correspondent with PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking news service. Since 2011, he has vetted claims from politicians, pundits, Facebook posts and...
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  • Brittny Mejia
    Metro Reporter, Los Angeles Times
    Brittny Mejia is a metro reporter who joined the Los Angeles Times in 2014. She writes narrative pieces with a strong emphasis on the Latino...
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  • Jonathan Forsythe
    Managing Editor, VERIFY
    Jonathan Forsythe manages the VERIFY team.  His two decades of journalism experience include stints at The Washington Post and McClatchy.  He is a multiple Emmy,...
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  • Ariane Datil
    National Host, VERIFY
    Ariane is a VERIFY Host, writing stories and appearing in video for both broadcast TV and digital. Ariane is also the lead host for VERIFY's...
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  • Natalie Adona
    Assistant Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, Nevada County, California
    Natalie Adona is the assistant clerk-recorder/registrar of voters and the incoming clerk-recorder elect for Nevada County, California. Natalie has held the position of assistant since...
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  • Stephen Richer
    Maricopa County Recorder
    Stephen Richer is the Republican-elected Maricopa County Recorder.  His office is statutorily responsible for recording public documents, registering voters, maintaining the voter registration database, and...
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    Director of Elections, Durham County, N.C.
    Derek Bowens joined the Durham County Board of Elections in June of 2017 as the Director of Elections. Previously, Mr. Bowens was the Director of...
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    Fact-Checker, PolitiFact
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  • Neil Brown
    Neil Brown is the president of The Poynter Institute. He joined Poynter in September 2017, after serving as the editor and vice president of the...
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  • Angie Drobnic Holan
    Editor-in-Chief, PolitiFact
    Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact. She previously was an editor, deputy editor and reporter for PolitiFact, helping launch the site in 2007....
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  • Katie Sanders
    Managing Editor, PolitiFact
    Katie Sanders is the managing editor of PolitiFact. Previously, she fact-checked talking heads and opinion-shapers for PunditFact as well as the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott for PolitiFact Florida, reporting from the Tallahassee...
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  • Aaron Sharockman
    Executive Director, PolitiFact and Vice President for Sales & Strategic Partnerships
    Aaron Sharockman is the executive director of PolitiFact, the largest fact-checking organization in the United States. Aaron leads the growth and development of PolitiFact, manages...
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