Poynter Results

  • Fact-checking can deter politicians from making false statements

    In this study, researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that the threat of fact-checking deters politicians from making false claims. To do that, they sent mailers to a random selection of state legislators in nine states — all with PolitiFact affiliates — in the run-up to the 2012 election in the United States outlining how their reputations would be affected by fact checks of their inaccurate statements. Researchers found that, in the group that received the letters, lawmakers were much less likely to receive a false rating from PolitiFact. They also found no evidence that those observations were due to less coverage or politicians speaking less than before.

    Study Title
    The Effect of Fact‐Checking on Elites: A Field Experiment on U.S. State Legislators
    Study Publication Date
    Study Authors
    Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler
    American Journal of Political Science
    Peer Reviewed
    Inferential approach
    Number of studies citing
  • Fact-Checking


    It's been a year since Trump's inauguration. Here's how his promises stack up.

    This time last year, Americans were waiting for a new president to take office.

    Donald Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20, 2017, came after a presidential campaign in which he made a laundry list of big promises, from repealing Obamacare to getting Mexico to pay for a border wall. And since then, fact-checkers have been keeping tabs on the details.

  • Article

    Yes, Virginia, it is okay for a writer to play with the form

    Editor's note: This story was first published on Dec. 25, 2014. It's premise is especially topical in this year of "fake news," so we decided to reprise it again.

    As a boy, my favorite story genre was the cowboy movie.  As I got a little older, I left Hopalong Cassidy behind in favor of parodies of cowboy movies, the kind of thing Mad magazine produced or Mel Brooks perfected in Blazing Saddles.

  • Fact-Checking


    For American fact-checkers working around gaps in government data, a lesson from Argentina

    Gaps in information frustrate the work of fact-checkers. But what about when a government agency creates them?

    “To know that the data has been tracked in the past and is maybe still tracked currently and is not being released — that just seems like a step backward,” said Angie Holan, editor of PolitiFact (a project of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times).

  • Fact-Checking


    In Oklahoma, PolitiFact used campaign strategy to appeal to new readers. Will it work?

    TULSA, Oklahoma — The first question was about Bigfoot.

    “If a U.S. senator said that Bigfoot is real, would you feel compelled to assert that, actually, Bigfoot is a myth?” asked Scott Pendleton.

    Jon Greenberg, a national staff writer for PolitiFact, took that one.

    “If people were talking about Bigfoot — if it’s in the news — we might take our time to do that,” he said. “But if it’s a purely random statement, I don’t see us running something on it.”

    Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact, followed with a comparison.

  • Fact-Checking


    From breweries to GOP meetings, PolitiFact is on a quest to win over conservative America

    TULSA, Oklahoma — It all started with a tailgate. Well, kind of.

    “The genesis of the idea came from a brainstorming meeting in Washington, D.C., in early February,” said Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact. “It was really kind of an idea that we should just go to a tailgate — go to a college football game and say we’re there — and draw a crowd and talk to people.”

    Their goal: travel beyond big metropolitan areas and interact with skeptical media consumers in Trump country.

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